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Tax Incentives Could Lure Migrants Back Home, Says OECD

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A View of the La Sabana, west side of San Jose

Q COSTA RICA – Migrants could be tempted to return home if exempted from paying taxes on their savings and given opportunities to build on their foreign experience, an intergovernmental think-tank said in a major report on Friday (February 17, 2017).

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) urges poor countries to invest in policies that can lure back citizens and convince them to stay.

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The OECD says that the number of international migrants has doubled in tha past quarter century, reaching 240 million.

“Return migration is a largely underexploited resource. With the right policies in place, return migrants can invest financial capital in business start-ups and self-employment and have the potential to transfer the skills and knowledge acquired abroad,” the report said.

The OECD researchers found that attracting back migrants who had gained experience or education abroad was a top economic priority for governments in the 10 countries they examined.

The study looked at Costa Rica, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Morocco, Georgia, Armenia, Cambodia and the Philippines.

It said measures which could persuade migrants to return included abolishing taxes on savings they bring home, providing opportunities to use skills acquired abroad, offering refresher courses to help them re-enter the job market, and boosting social and health services.

In Costa Rica, which had the highest relative spending on social and health services – some 16%of GDP, 95 percent of migrants who had returned home said they intended to stay, according to the study.

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By comparison, 64% of returnees wanted to stay in the Philippines, where authorities spend about 2% of the country’s GDP on public welfare services.

The study’s results were based on interviews with more than 20,500 households, the Paris-based OECD said in a statement.

Source: Reuters

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