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Calling abroad: Latin America reshapes its emigrant policies

Neue Nähe: die Politik der Staaten Lateinamerikas zu ihren Emigranten
[working paper]

Pedroza, Luicy; Palop, Pau; Hoffmann, Bert

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Corporate Editor GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies - Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien, Institut für Lateinamerika-Studien
Abstract Latin American and Caribbean states seek new relations with their emigrants. From external voting rights to co-funding schemes for remittances, states have introduced a range of cross-cutting policies in an attempt to reach out to their citizens abroad. Yet, these "emigrant policies" hold challenges for all parties involved: migrants, sending states, and receiving states. Latin American and Caribbean states have a long history of outmigration. About 18 million Latin American and Caribbean migrants reside in the United States alone. For some Latin American and Caribbean countries, over 15 per cent of their population live abroad. Migrant remittances are a key pillar of many economies, accounting for 20 per cent of GDP in El Salvador. Yet, these transfers are only the tip of the iceberg of broad transnational migrant networks. Emigrants engage with their home countries through many channels besides the economic. The region has become a pioneer of an emerging global trend: the development of state policies that explicitly target emigrants along social, economic, cultural, and other areas. Citizenship is the main area in which emigrant policies have developed, followed by social policies, which suggests a significant spillover beyond borders of basic state welfare functions. Policy Implications: Emigrant policies present new patterns of engagement of states of origin with emigrants. Receiving states should carefully consider the specificities of those patterns when developing integration strategies. Across Latin America and the Caribbean, some countries help their emigrants to remain abroad and to integrate, thus strengthening the continuation of emigration, while others seek their return and adopt policies that are more conducive to circular migration programmes. In both cases the emigrant policy approaches of states in the region lower the costs of integration for emigrants and receiving states, providing useful benchmarks for sending countries and venues for sending and receiving states to collaborate.
Keywords Latin America; Caribbean Region; migration; emigration (polit. or relig. reasons); international migration; migration policy; transnationality; diaspora; emigration; transfer of money; suffrage; foreign countries; integration; promotion; dual citizenship
Classification Migration, Sociology of Migration; Special areas of Departmental Policy
Free Keywords migrants remittances
Document language English
Publication Year 2016
City Hamburg
Page/Pages 13 p.
Series GIGA Focus Lateinamerika, 3
ISSN 1862-3573
Status Published Version; not reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works