Emigration, Immigration, and Skill Formation: The Case of a Midstream Country

By Kondoh, Kenji | International Journal of Population Research, January 1, 2014 | Go to article overview

Emigration, Immigration, and Skill Formation: The Case of a Midstream Country


Kondoh, Kenji, International Journal of Population Research


(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

Academic Editor:Alberto Davila

1, School of Economics, Chukyo University, 101-2 Yagotohonmachi, Showaku, Nagoya 4668666, Japan

Received 7 January 2014; Revised 26 May 2014; Accepted 9 June 2014; 30 June 2014

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

1. Introduction

The word "international migration" usually refers to labor inflows for higher developed countries (HDCs) such as Germany, Japan, and the United States. For lower developed countries (LDCs) such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, and most African countries, migration implies an outflow of labor. Most of the economic literature has focused on mutual relationships between the source and host countries and studied the effects of international migration on the economies of those countries. However, globalization in the more recent past has resulted in several new types of international migration. In observing the recent expansion of multilateral economic integration between countries at various phases of development, we recognize that several medium developed countries (MDCs) are playing a new role in the international labor market. These MDCs export labor to HDCs and, simultaneously, import labor from LDCs. In other words, these countries are coincidentally host as well as source countries and are at the midstream of international labor flows.

For example, the Romanian economy is placed almost precisely between those of HDCs such as Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands and LDCs such as Albania, Moldova, and Ukraine1 . Until 2007, Romania was excluded from a large economic bloc of developed countries, the European Union (EU), and thus, free mobility of goods and factors was not permitted. Hence before 2007, despite of relatively lower wage rates and limited job opportunities, high levels of migration from Romania to the EU did not occur. When the EU expanded in 2007, Romania was permitted to join the bloc and its local economy was successfully integrated into the EU. Romania started to enjoy rapid economic progress by attracting foreign investment and exporting workers to Germany, Italy, and Spain. Remittances enable those left behind to consume several types of modern manufactured goods produced only in the developed countries2 . The labor market of the country has undergone drastic changes owing to FDI inflows, which create job opportunities, as well as the outflow of domestic workers. A key problem of this new economic wave is that quick changes have caused serious labor shortages in Romanian urban areas. To maintain its economic performance, Romania started to introduce Chinese workers from the spring of 2008, although their employment is limited to permitted firms. As of 2013, more than 3,000 Chinese workers are still employed in Romania, although several workers returned to China because of the 2008 global recession sparked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Another example of an MDC in the international labor market is Thailand3 . In 2009, about 150,000 relatively skilled Thai workers went to Taiwan and countries in the Middle East for job opportunities, while the country had a large inflow of lower skilled workers, amounting to 1300 thousand from Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. As seen by this substantial labor inflow, the government of Thailand has been ineffective in controlling the number of foreign workers. The government took the only option available and decided to approve numerous illegal workers by permitting their employment. Since 2006, immigration policy of Thailand has changed. Now immigrants are required to submit documents issued in their home countries that establish their nationalities. This new immigration policy still includes several points but Thailand has nevertheless started to introduce an optimally controlled immigration policy, which is regarded as the most important and urgent issue in the country4 . …

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