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 Globalization for the Good
 
Work permits for Bangladesh
The Indian Express, India Friday, December 03, 2010

Bibek Debroy
India has concerns about migration from Bangladesh, spliced with security considerations. However, these categories of people are neither security hazards, nor potential migrants. Apart from political resistance, what would be wrong with institutionalizing a legal system of work permits? It encourages high-end migration from Bangladesh, a rare phenomenon today. High-end migration will correct the perception one has of Bangladeshi migrants. Work permits are legal too, writes Bibek debroy in The Indian Express.

Once in a while, one runs into academics from Bangladesh. They invariably complain about Indian visa regimes -- lack of multiple entry, short duration of stay (7 days), complicated procedures and general attitude of being unwarranted. Since these people invariably travel abroad, they contrast it with visa procedures in developed countries, such as USA, where security concerns are no less serious.

India has concerns about migration from Bangladesh, spliced with security considerations. However, these categories of people are neither security hazards, nor potential migrants.

...

In a limited way, there is unilateral liberalization in scholarships offered for Bangladeshi students. The simple point is this. While there are genuine concerns over security and migration, why must everyone be tarred with the same brush?

...


Apart from political resistance, what would be wrong with institutionalizing a legal system of work permits?

This has two advantages. First, it encourages high-end migration from Bangladesh, a rare phenomenon today. High-end migration will correct the perception one has of Bangladeshi migrants. Second, work permits are legal. Therefore, to the extent low-end migration is seasonal, migrants can also return to Bangladesh, a possibility precluded today.

If there is in-migration into India, we should feel happy, since it establishes India is doing well economically. With porous borders, there is no way migration can be checked and this will be accentuated with environmental refugees. At best, one can ensure illegal migration becomes legal, instead of wishing the problem away.

However, procedural costs associated with legalization must be low. Otherwise, there will be no incentives. And most governments must give up the hypocrisy and overcome vested interests that gain from migration remaining illegal.

 

This article was published in the The Indian Express on Friday, December 03, 2010. Please read the original article here.
Author : Mr Debroy is a noted economist, based in New Delhi.
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