Migration Junctions in India and Indonesia: Reimagining Places, Reorienting Policy

18 July 2018

JustJobs Network, in collaboration with the Centre for Policy Research, identifies geographies in India and Indonesia that are simultaneously experiencing high levels of in- and out- migration. Beyond mapping these “migration junctions,” the authors suggest what particular policy frameworks may be needed to promote migrant well-being in these contexts.

While internal migration is frequently imagined as a movement from an impoverished rural village to a large prosperous metropolis, the ground reality of human mobility in emerging economies is far more complex. A growing stock of research in India and Indonesia points to multiple mobilities – urban-to-urban, rural-to-rural, circular, seasonal, temporary and commuter – as well as the blurring of boundaries between the urban and rural. These phenomena call for reexamination of migration data in new ways.

In this report, JJN and the Centre for Policy Research provide an alternative lens to see and interpret patterns of internal migration. The authors map the places in India and Indonesia that are most profoundly transformed by migration through looking at geographies that serve simultaneously as origins and destinations. In both countries, these migration junctions include many small and secondary cities, administrative centers serving peripheral regions, and centers of natural resource extraction.

Policymakers must give attention to migration junctions, the report argues, as they require careful planning and policy formulation to enable the well-being and productive potential of in-migrants while simultaneously preparing out-migrating populations to leverage opportunities in future destinations. In these “migration junctions” emerge particular policy challenges – for example, around administrative jurisdictions, workforce development and housing.