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Circular Migration

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, debates about circular migration had been in news.

About Circular Migration

  • Circular migration involves people moving back and forth between a destination country and their country of origin based on the availability of employment. It is common among low-income groups seeking seasonal jobs in different locations.

Criteria for Circular Migrant

  • Completing at least ‘two loops’ between two countries qualifies someone as a circular migrant.
  • A circular migrant periodically moves between two countries for purposes of economic advancement, such as employment or business.

Characteristics of Circular Migration

  • Temporary residence in the destination location.
  • Multiple entries into the destination country.
  • Freedom of movement between the country of origin and destination during the period of residence.
  • Legal right to stay in the destination country.
  • Protection of migrants’ rights.
  • Healthy demand for temporary labour in the destination country.


Policy Challenges and Debates

  • Migration, including circular migration, is a major policy issue globally.
  • Brain Drain and competition for jobs are concerns for both origin and destination countries.
  • Circular migration is seen as a balanced approach that benefits both sending and receiving nations.


Benefits of Circular Migration

  • For the country of origin, circular migration can bring remittances that boost the domestic economy.
  • Foreign capital inflow enhances infrastructure, job opportunities, and living standards.
  • Brain circulation allows individuals to use their talents in both countries while contributing to remittances.


Challenges of Circular Migration in India

  • Internal migration in India is often circular, with rural populations moving to urban areas for employment.
  • Migration can lead to infrastructural challenges in urban areas and agrarian stagnation in rural areas.
  • Circular migrants may face exploitation, language barriers, and job precarity in host states.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of circular migrants.


Policy Recommendations

  • States should actively formulate policies to understand the extent of circular migration.
  • Measures should be taken to protect the rights and welfare of circular migrants.
  • Efforts should be made to integrate migrants into destination states.

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