Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

International development experts share their ideas on how wealthy countries can promote prosperity in developing countries. Follow at

Jun 26, 2012

After the 2010 Haitian earthquake flattened Port-au-Prince, the United States responded with an outpouring of money, food, and medicine for Haiti. But a more effective form of assistance -- the powerful tool of migration and labor mobility -- was at first overlooked in relief and recovery efforts.

GD senior fellow Michael Clemens led a two-year research and policy engagement effort that reached a milestone in January when the U.S. government added Haiti to the list of more than 50 countries eligible for temporary worker visas, the H-2 visa program. Michael calculated at the time that if just 2,000 Haitians worked as H-2 workers in the United States each year (just 2% of total H-2s) over the course of 10 years they would earn $400 million in additional, new income for Haitian families—an amount equal to the entire U.S. post-earthquake budget for reconstruction in Haiti.