Circular Migration and Human Development

2009 Occasional Paper
By Newland, Kathleen

This paper explores the human development implications of circular migration — both where it occurs naturally and where governments work to create it. The paper discusses various conceptions and definitions of circular migration, and concludes that circular migration is not intrinsically positive or negative in relation to human development; its impact depends upon the circumstances in which it occurs, the constraints that surround it and—above all—the degree of choice that individuals can exercise over their own mobility. The human-development lens distinguishes between de facto circular migration and circular migration that occurs within the parameters of government programs.

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