Assessing the Economic Contribution of Labour Migration in Developing Countries as Countries of Destination

Interest in the contribution of migrants to development has increased considerably among policy maker, development planners and practitioners. Some governments have adopted policies in this regard to maximize the benefits from migration while minimizing the costs. Considerable research and knowledge has also been produced on the subject, with a large body of literature on the migration-development nexus. However, the focus has been on migrants’ remittances to countries of origin. The contribution of migrants at countries of destination has not received much attention among policy makers and academia.

There is a need to examine the contribution of immigrants to labour market needs and associated economic growth in countries of destination. Evidence from this area of research can support, for example, the design of evidence-based labour and migration policies, management of labour migration to improve contribution of migration to economic growth, protection of human and labour rights of immigrants in destination countries.

Accordingly, the European Commission is funding research project on assessment of the economic contribution of labour migration in developing countries as countries as destinations of international migrants in ten countries, including Ghana. The International Labour Office (ILO) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Development Centre are implementing. The overall objective of the Economic Contribution of Labour Migration (ECLM) project is to arrive at a reliable and evidence-based understanding of the economic impact of immigration in ten low and middle-income countries as destinations of international migrants. Specifically, the research study seeks to:

  1. Look closely at the contribution of immigration to GDP and growth;
  2. Study its impact on the labour market and the productive sectors;
  3. Review the implications of immigration for public finances and public services.

In Ghana, the study is examining the economic impact of immigrants in the trade and mining sectors which have significant presence of migrant workers. Specifically, the research study seeks:

  1. To find out the extent to which the presence of immigrants in the sectors is driven by existing immigrant networks; access to foreign inputs including capital; ease of entry, among other factors
  2. To assess the extent to which immigrants bring new or complementary skills, or reduce labour/skill shortages in the two sectors;
  3. To examine the current and future role of migrant workers in the sector sectors with respect to their contribution towards improving the quality of the human resource and if they create any problems for the workforce;
  4. To ascertain if the use of immigrant workers is likely to decrease in the next ten years.

The Centre for Migration Studies is implementing the qualitative research component in the trade and mining sectors that began on February 1, 2016. A workshop was held from May 3-7, 2016 to train the field workers and test the instruments. The qualitative interviews which followed target 50 enterprises, 30 stakeholders and 20 Focus Group Discussions (FGDs).
The economic contribution of the immigrants is being studied among key stakeholders, including policy makers and practitioners, the workers in the trade and mining sectors, local communities and immigrants and their communities in Ghana. It will provide research evidence for policy makers and development planners and practitioners to manage migration and development in the country as an alternative to overdependence on remittances for development.

The research team is made up Delali Badasu (Principal Investigator), Joseph Teye, John Anarfi Stephen Kwankye, Leander Kandilige and Mary Setrana.


Back to Ongoing Research