JIS News

KINGSTON — The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) will be embarking on a series of discussion sessions and workshops across the island, as part of the process to develop the National Policy and Plan of Action on International Migration and Development.

Director of the PIOJ’s Social Policy, Planning and Research Division, Easton Williams, told a JIS Think Tank on Tuesday, that the national consultations should get underway mid-November, and will inform the formulation of the policy, which is in its initial stages.

“We expect to have it ready for Cabinet within the next 18 to 24 months, which will then submit it to Parliament,” he informed.

The PIOJ is receiving assistance from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) in crafting the policy, which is designed to improve the Government’s capacity to monitor and manage international migration in line with development priorities as outlined in the Vision 2030 Jamaica – National Development Plan. 

Already, three projects, which are being undertaken as part of the process, were launched on May 5. These are: theDevelopment of a National Policy and Plan of Action on International Migration and Development for Jamaica,through funding from the IOM; Strengthening Dialogue and Co-operation between the European Union-Latin America and the Caribbean, through European Union (EU) funding; and Mainstreaming Migration into National Development Strategies, with funding from the Swiss Development Corporation (SDC) through the Global Migration Group.      

According to Mr. Williams, the policy and plan of action is a strategic move to harness the potential of migration to serve the country’s development needs, and when completed, will propel Jamaica among the highly developed nations in the world.

He said that the development of the policy will provide an integrated approach to addressing matters such as labour market and human resources, remittance flow, development and poverty, policy coherence for development, the role of the Diaspora, and short-term labour migration.   

“The policy is not just about international migration; it is about international migration and development. It will seek to establish the principles, outcomes, goals, objectives, actions and institutional modalities for the integration of international migration dimensions into all development policies, plans, programmes and actions at the national, regional and community levels,” he stated.

“We are embarking on this path to ensure that international migration supports Jamaica’s quest for growth and to contribute to Jamaica being a developed country by 2030,” he added.            

The IMO estimates that the number of international migrants was 214 million in 2010 and could reach 405 million by 2050, as people seek better opportunities in other countries.  A total of 20,000 Jamaicans migrated legally per year from 1954 to 2009. A study conducted by the PIOJ in 2006 estimated that about 60 per cent of Jamaicans,

25 years and older, with tertiary level education and who received their certification locally, were living in developed countries.

Mr. Williams has contended that the rapid expansion of the working age population in developing countries such as Jamaica was pushing young people to migrate, while developed countries are encouraging international migration as a means of replenishing their declining child, youth and working age populations.