Hire women to unlock services trade and prevent overstaying: World Bank

Dilshan Wirasekara, Chief Executive Officer of First Capital Treasuries PLC

WASHINGTON, Dec 3, 2007 (AFP) – Rich nations should hire women from developing economies in a bid to break a WTO deadlock on cross-border movement of professional service providers, a World Bank study says. Industrialized nations are reluctant to accept migrants from developing economies such as nurses and IT workers as part of proposals under the General Agreement on Trade in Services, or GATS, saying they fear the workers might overstay.

But a 218-page report by three World Bank economists said that as women were less likely to overstay than men, the rich nations could hire them for a start.

“It’s quite an innovative proposal but requires more rigorous research,” Mirja Sjoblom, one of the authors of the study with the bank’s development research group, told AFP.

The report released last week also described fears of host countries that migrants from developing economies might overstay as “highly exaggerated.”

Host-country governments could impose strict regulations that would “dramatically” reduce the likelihood of overstaying, including forbidding foreign firms whose employees fail to leave when their contract expires or levying large fines on the errant firms, the study said.