18 Feb 2010

Australia says Pacific migration essential to development

7:20 pm on 18 February 2010

Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance says migration from Pacific countries is an essential part of the region's development.

A recent International Labour Organisation meeting in Vanuatu identified work on foreign fishing vessels and seasonal labour schemes as critical to keeping young people employed.

During the meeting Bob McMullan quashed a suggestion that overseas employment poses the risk of "brain drain", saying the term has lacked validity since the 1950s.

He says the 21st century will be one in which many people from developing countries in the Pacific move to developed countries.

"Some of them temporarily and some of them permanently and that wil lead to a flow of income and a flow of skills that will be mutually beneficial. I think we should look at migration as a serious part of the development equation in the 21st century and the brain drain misunderstands entirely what happens in that relationship."

Bob McMullan, Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance.