17 Dec 2010

Micronesian leaders urged to consider migration levels

11:26 am on 17 December 2010

Micronesian leaders are being urged to consider policies that make the best of intensifying levels of migration.

The Pacific Institute of Public Policy's release this week of a discussion paper on Micronesian migration was timed to coincide with the bi-annual summit of the region's leaders in Palau, which ends today.

A policy analyst from the Marshall Islands and a member of the institute's advisory council, Ben Graham, says although people have been emigrating to the United States for the past few decades, the increasing numbers are beginning to raise eyebrows.

"Some of the impacts are well-known, you know, the brain drain phenomenon and other things like that. But we're beginning to see some really dramatic impacts like some of the islands beginning to stabilise their population growth levels or in some cases some of the populations on some of the islands in Micronesia actually shrinking in the last decade or so."

Ben Graham says one of the areas governments could focus on is ensuring people are skilled enough before they emigrate to be able to secure good employment in the US and therefore send more remittance money home.