An Ethical View on Remittances and Labor Migration


  • Francis Cheneval
  • Johan Rochel



The present contribution defends that remittances should be taken into account and integrated into an ethical framework on migration. This main thesis is two-fold. First, we argue that if a normative approach to migration is to claim practical relevance, it should integrate remittances as a relevant empirical parameter into an ethical framework. The empirical assessment of the scientific evidence available on remittances therefore proves to be extremely important. Secondly, assuming that remittances have to be taken seriously, we consider their positive and negative impacts against two backgrounds. First, we emphasize the increased autonomy of persons who pull themselves and their dependents out of economic hardship. Second, affluent states who enable this process through their labor legislation contribute to the fulfillment of their duty of assistance. In this respect, our thesis is to claim that remittances should be considered as an amplifying factor for normative arguments in favor of a liberalization of labor migration. Remittances stand for a liberal way of fulfilling a responsibility to help, namely through the elimination of obstacles which in turn allow people to support themselves and lead an autonomous life.