UN: Migrant worker cuts won't solve global crisis
Any move by countries to cut their migrant worker numbers in response
to the global financial crisis will not work, a senior U.N. official
There is no evidence yet that the global financial crisis has
threatened the jobs of the millions of migrant workers, but that is a
very real prospect, said Peter Sutherland, the U.N. secretary-general's
special representative on migration.
"It is inevitable that if GDP growth globally declines as it clearly
is doing ... then this will have an effect on migrants, either in terms
of wanting to go home or in terms of being unemployed in the places to
which they've come," he told reporters in Manila.
But any labour restrictions that developed countries might impose in
a bid to reduce the impact of the economic slowdown won't work because
migrants always find a way to go abroad, he said.
"We've seen how ineffective simple prohibition policies in regard to
migration actually are," Sutherland said. "They don't really work."
Sharan Burrow, president of the International Trade Union Confederation,
said Monday that any new restrictions may lead to a rise in illegal
migrants. She estimated there were up to 40 million illegal migrant
workers across the world, a quarter of them in the United States.
The International Labour Organization said earlier that the global
financial crisis may result in 20 million people losing their jobs
between now and the end of next year, raising the total number of people
unemployed globally to 210 million.
Sutherland and Burrow were attending the Global Forum on Migration
and Development, a U.N.-funded conference scheduled to be addressed by
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Manila on Wednesday.
The forum aims to come up with coherent policies for the protection
of migrant workers, Sutherland said.
The UN and European Union also announced Tuesday a 15 million euro
($18.7 million) joint initiative to aid migration and protect migrant
The program, to be funded by the EU and implemented by UN agencies,
will provide grants for projects in 16 labour-providing countries,
including the Philippines, said Gerhard Sabathil, a European Commission
With more than eight million Filipinos working overseas, the
Philippines is among the world's top exporters of labour together with
Mexico, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said last week that most of the
Filipinos working overseas had not been affected yet by the financial
crisis, but a contingency plan has been put together to cope with