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Improved Migration Management Urged by World Bank.

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The World Bank has called on developed countries to seek enhanced management of migration as their economies are expected to become increasingly dependent on it due to rapid aging.

The bank’s latest World Development Report said some 184 million people worldwide now live in countries where they lack a nationality, 43% of them in low- and middle-income countries. About 37 million of the total refugee population are refugees, a number that has tripled over the past decade.

Some countries are facing a rapid decline in their working-age adult population, including Spain, which is expected to shrink by more than a third by 2100, with those over 65 increasing to nearly 40% of the population from 20%. Currently, the development lender said.

Countries such as Mexico, Thailand, Tunisia and Turkey may soon need more foreign workers because their populations are no longer growing, while cross-border migration movements are already becoming more complex, with countries of destination and origin spanning all income levels, according to the report.

“Migration can be a powerful force for prosperity and development,” World Bank Managing Director Axel van Trotsenberg said in a statement. “When managed properly, it provides benefits to all people – in the communities of origin and destination.”

The report makes recommendations for policymakers, mainly to better match migrants’ skills with needs in countries of destination, while protecting refugees and reducing the need for bogged down moves.

The gains are greatest for both countries of destination and for migrants when their skills match well with the demands in countries of destination. Where the skills match is weak, she said, the costs of hosting refugees should be shared multilaterally.

More difficult political challenges arise when matching skills are weak and migrants are not refugees, often resulting in deportation and pressure on countries of transit. The report said stronger international development efforts are needed in countries of origin to reduce the need for migration caused by economic hardship.

The World Bank said that countries of origin should make labor migration an explicit part of their development strategy and work to reduce the cost of remittances for families back home, facilitate the transfer of knowledge from the diaspora abroad, and build globally needed skills.

Destination countries should encourage migration from residents as their skills are in high demand, the bank said, adding that new financing tools are being developed at a multilateral level to help countries sponsor non-citizens in a predictable manner.

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