International Development Planning Review

The new development finance or exploiting migrant labour?: Remittance sending among low-paid migrant workers in London

International Development Planning Review (2007), 29, (1), 43–67.

Abstract

This paper challenges the recent hailing of migrant remittances as a panacea for development finance in countries of the global South. It argues that such a viewpoint fails to recognise the costs to migrant workers of remitting. Many of these workers reside in the industrialised countries of the global North. Based on an empirical investigation of low-paid migrant workers in London, this paper highlights the nature of remittance sending, the often exploitative nature of the labour market conditions under which remittances are produced, and the economic and emotional sacrifices that migrants make in order to remit. Thus, we argue, a development policy based on the generation of remittances is inappropriate, unsustainable and unethical.

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