With about one billion international and internal migrants worldwide, the relationship between migration and the family left behind is an important policy question. Labor migration is conventionally viewed as economically benefiting the family left behind. Remittance transfers can ease budget constraints and thereby increase spending on health care and education, improving households’ long-term welfare in the source country. However, the migrant’s absence might also have negative consequences for non-migrants, be they children, the elderly, or a spouse.
Policymakers need to account for differences in the situations of migrants and their families who stay behind and bolster support systems in education and health care to help families cope with the detrimental effects of migration on the accumulation of human capital. If migration implies lower education or health status or more child labor, the potentially long-term costs of migration need to be mitigated through appropriate home country policies. Population aging is another issue to consider.
Understanding job search is crucial to forming a complete picture of this extraordinary economic event and could provide valuable insights for economic policy making in future pandemic-induced recessions.