Improving outcomes at origin

Of the estimated 214 million migrants in the world in 2010, over two-thirds came from developing countries.[1] These migrants sent an estimated 325.5 billion USD to their countries of origin in the same year.[2] Beyond the money they send, migrants transmit “social remittances”: transfers of knowledge, ideas and skills acquired in countries of destination, and contacts that facilitate trade and political linkages. Through such transfers, migrants can contribute to reducing poverty, strengthening health and education systems, stimulating entrepreneurship, or supporting recovery from natural disasters in their countries of origin. Migrating women can become breadwinners, improving their status in their households, and transmitting new ideas about gender roles.

However, this process is not automatic, and sometimes migration can have negative impacts on their countries of origin. Where a high proportion of highly-skilled people emigrate, there can be a “brain drain,” especially if emigration is concentrated in particular sectors of the economy. Financial institutions may not recognize the importance or potential of recipients of remittances; the reintegration of returning migrants can be a challenges, particularly in a context of global recession and high unemployment; and the families of migrants left behind might find themselves in a vulnerable situation.

United Nations agencies and international organizations around the world have recognized the need for action in all of these areas. The following sections aim to give United Nations Country Teams some practical tools and guidance that can be of use when assisting governments in their efforts to harness the positive and mitigate the negative effects of migration for human development. The fruits of the experience of agencies around the world, they are intended to stimulate ideas on what UN Country Teams can do in some of the most important areas.


[1] UN-DESA, 2011,

[2] World Bank, Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011


Thank you for your interest in the Global Migration Group.

Please be advised that following extensive system-wide consultations and the proposal by the UN Deputy Secretary-General and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for International Migration, the UN Secretary-General decided, at a meeting of the Executive Committee on 23 May 2018, to establish a UN Network on Migration, as a successor to the Global Migration Group, to ensure effective, coordinated system-wide support to the implementation of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.


The UN Network on Migration can be contacted via its Secretariat at [email protected]