Migrations and sending communities – benefits or losses?
According to professor Jan Zamojski, migrations, “due to their spatial scope and mass character exercise impacts in all the spheres of both – sending and receiving societies”. Professor Krystyna Slany stresses that “voluntary migrations have always corresponded to hopes of individuals and groups pretending to improve their situation – usually in the economic sense, but often in the social or religious way as well. But independently from the reasons of mobility movements, they induce the emergence of similar problems – the legal, the economic, the humanitarian, the social, the political, the cultural and the psychological ones” . Therefore it is worth asking whether and how migrations shape changes in the sending communities? How can we assess the balance of benefits and problems resulting from migration?
Remittances sent by migrants back home are usually treated as the main positive effect of labor migrations. Sometimes they are the main (or even the only) source of the family revenue. Remittances can be invested as well – in community’s infrastructure, education of migrants’ children, economic activities of the migrant or of his relatives. But remittances can also make people dependent on them – many families do not invest them – the Money is just being consumed on everyday needs. Decrease of labor activities of migrant families have been observed. Another negative effects consists in growing polarization of revenues within the migrants sending communities: differences between families living on their local activities and the ones receiving remittances are striking. That can lead to negative social transformations. In Andean villages of southern Ecuador the tradition of mingas, voluntary weekly communal work is disappearing. More successful migrant families prefer to hire workers for the purpose.
Through remittances sent to families and to the communities migrants can hale direct impact on their development, on the ways and form of investments. Foreign experiences of returning migrants can be helpful in the context of further local development.
Thanks to modern communication technologies migrants can maintain close contacts with their families and relatives. However, their ‘physical’ absence has a negative impact on households and especially on the children. Families disintegrate and pathologies are common among teenagers left under the supervision of relatives.
That brief account of potential migration effects on the sending communities does not answer the question whether it brings more benefits or problems – results differ among regions, communities and families.
1. Zamojski J. E., Introduction , [in :] Migration and Society. Studies 2, Jan E. Zamojski (ed.), Institute of History, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw 1997 [in Polish]
2. Slany K., Kubiak H., Migrations [in:] Encyclopedia of sociology, Bokszański Z., Kojder A., (eds.) Oficyna Naukowa, Warsa 1998-2002 [in Polish]