The discussion opened with an overview of important facts on migration which are often overlooked despite having large consequences on policy. For example, South – South migration exceeds South – North migration and actually 90% of refugees are hosted in Southern countries. Moreover 1 in every 7 people in the world is a migrant. The drivers of migration include income gaps, demographic changes, environmental changes and fragility and conflict among others.
Because migrants have very different rights than citizens, they face additional challenges in their search for better lives, and are especially at risk of being trafficked, having abusive employers, having their skills underutilised, being discriminated and facing xenophobic attacks and being separated from family such as children or elderly parents.
Policy makers should look at the bigger picture and recognize the development outcomes of migration, such as increased income and school enrollment as well as reduced child mortality. Moreover, remittances now make up more than 3 times the size of ODA. Remittances sent by migrants are used to meet the basic needs of family left behind and policies should reduce the extremely high costs of sending these valuable funds which contribute to development outcomes.