2018 Extended Migration Profile Launched

Photo: Adrian Walker Director General at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wayne Henry.

Story Highlights

  • The Government has launched the 2018 Extended Migration Profile of Jamaica, which can be used to inform policy development and planning.
  • It was launched by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), during a ceremony held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel yesterday (January 18).
  • “The migration profiles are important planning tools for governments, civil society, private sector and other migration stakeholders to recommend strategic ways to govern the migration phenomenon, and improve the human development outcomes and mitigate risks for migrants, their families and countries of origin and destination,”

The Government has launched the 2018 Extended Migration Profile of Jamaica, which can be used to inform policy development and planning.

This is Jamaica’s second publication of a migration profile, which is essentially a pertinent body of research that will allow for the monitoring and evaluation of migration and development policy, and the socio-economic impact on Jamaica.

It was launched by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), during a ceremony held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel yesterday (January 18).

Director General at the PIOJ, Dr. Wayne Henry, said this milestone is worthy to be applauded, as it aids stakeholders to better track and manage migration-related issues.

He noted that Jamaica holds the distinction of being the first country in the English-speaking Caribbean to have published a migration profile in 2012 and subsequently developed a National Policy on International Migration and Development and a complementary five-year Implementation Plan.

“The migration profiles are important planning tools for governments, civil society, private sector and other migration stakeholders to recommend strategic ways to govern the migration phenomenon, and improve the human development outcomes and mitigate risks for migrants, their families and countries of origin and destination,”Dr. Henry said.

The Director General informed that the 2018 migration profile provides both primary and secondary data on matters such as migration flows in and outside of Jamaica, migrant stocks overseas, migrants’ characteristics, and diaspora engagements.

It also provides data on remittance and investment inflows, social protection mechanisms in place for migrants, established Governance frameworks, existing and updated legislation governing immigration, and gaps that prevent the effective streamlining of migration into national development strategies.

Head of Office at the IOM, Keisha Livermore, noted that the updating of the migration profile is not only relevant to the country itself but is highly relevant at a sub-regional and regional level as well.

“In the last decade, in particular, migration issues have moved higher and higher on the agendas of governments worldwide, which has led to discussions on Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration; and for the very first time, migration has been included in the sustainable development goals,” Ms. Livermore said.

She added that the IOM and its partners are ready to help Jamaica as it continues to make efforts to operationalise the link between migration and development, which can, if well managed, effectively help to advance the goals of Vision 2030 and thus be a model to the world.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ambassador Marcia Gilbert-Roberts, said the migration profile represents a rigorous examination of the impact, scope and implications of migration on Jamaica’s development, and will undoubtedly serve to enhance the capacity for policy planning and implementation.

She noted that the Government has long recognised the importance of members of Jamaica’s diaspora, who have chosen to live beyond “our shores, sharing their knowledge and skills with us who remain”.

“We have also recognised that without empirical evidence of the expertise that resides in our diaspora, there can be no meaningful engagement with those members of our family,” Ambassador Gilbert-Roberts said.

“We, therefore, value this update of the migration profile as an essential tool with which to attain our goal of involving all Jamaicans in the country’s development. We have taken special note of the fact that members of our diaspora have been loyal and supportive of Jamaica’s socio-economic advancement, regardless of the period of residence aboard,” she added

Ambassador Gilbert-Roberts represented Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith.

The Extended Migration Profile of Jamaica shows that emigration continues to be greatly in excess of immigration.

Though most still go to the United States, numbers fell from 24,538 in 2006 to 17,362 in 2015. Emigration of the tertiary-educated professionals and students has continued, leaving significant gaps in some sectors.

Remittance receipts from Jamaican emigrants have trended upwards over the years 2011 to 2016. The Bank of Jamaica estimated remittances at just under US$2.3 billion in 2016, which contributed 16.1 per cent to Jamaica’s gross domestic product.

In terms of future trends, Lead Consultant, 2018 Extended Migration Profile, Jamaica, Professor Elizabeth Thomas-Hope, noted that high selective migration with a continuing high rate of emigration of tertiary-educated professionals and students will continue.

She added that the need for immigrants to fill labour force gaps in professional and also technical capacities in specific sectors can be expected to continue, and that remittances will continue in the short and medium term, “but we need to be cautious about depending on it”.

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