The 2015 KNOMAD-ILO Migration Costs Surveys compiled dataset consists of 7 surveys covering 10 bilateral migration corridors with a total of 3,149 migrants, and provides new systematic evidence of costs incurred by migrant workers to obtain jobs abroad.
The Migration Cost Surveys (MCS) project is a joint initiative of the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) and the International Labor Organization (ILO). The project was initiated to support methodological work on developing a new Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicator (10.7.1) on worker-paid recruitment costs. The surveys of migrant workers conducted in multiple bilateral corridors between 2015 and 2017 provide new systematic evidence of financial and some non-financial costs incurred by workers to obtain jobs abroad. The compiled dataset is divided into two waves (2015 and 2016) based on the questionnaire version used in the surveys.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
KNOMAD-ILO Migration Costs Surveys (KNOMAD-ILO MCS) have the following unit of analysis: individuals
The 2015 KNOMAD-ILO Migration Costs Surveys covers the following topics:
- Respondent Information: socio-demographic characteristic of the individual including migration history
- Information on costs for current job: presence and extent of various costs associated with migration
- Borrowing money for the foreign job: source and size of the loan; loan repayment details
- Job search efforts and opportunity costs: characteristics of job in a country of origin including industry, occupation and earnings; questions about search for job in the destination country; information on job skills and their utilization
- Work in foreign country: characteristics of job in a country of origin including industry, occupation, contract, promised earnings, actual earning, amount remitted
- Job environment: work conditions including employer contribution to incurred migration costs, deductions from earnings, information on deprived rights, hours worked, rest days, injuries and migration status
- El Salvador
Surveys of migrants from the following corridors are included:
• Ethiopia to Saudi Arabia
• India to Qatar
• Nepal to Qatar
• Pakistan to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates
• Philippines to Qatar
• Vietnam to Malaysia
• Guatemala, Honduras and El-Salvador to Mexico
Producers and sponsors
Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD) & International Labour Organization (ILO)
World Bank, KNOMAD
Consultant, World Bank
Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development
International Labor Organization
All surveys conducted for this project used either convenience or snowball sampling. Sample enrollment was restricted to migrants primarily employed in low-skilled positions, who departed to the destination country, typically no more than 5 years prior to the interview year. All but two surveys using the 2015 questionnaire were conducted in the country of origin by interviewing returning migrants.The exceptions were the surveys of Vietnamese migrants in Malaysia and migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El-Salvador in Mexico, which were administered in the destination countries (Malaysia and Mexico, respectively). Their customized questionnaires are worded in present tense when it comes to various aspect of stay in the destination country. The content of the variables remains analogous to the surveys of returnees. Please refer to Annex Table 1 of the 2015 KNOMAD-ILO MCS User Guide for a summary description of the included samples in the 2015 KNOMAD-ILO MCS dataset.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Computer Assisted Personal Interview [capi]
The 2015 KNOMAD-ILO Migration Costs Surveys consists of 6 survey modules:
A. Respondent Information
B. Information on costs for current job
C. Borrowing money for the foreign job
D. Job search efforts and opportunity costs
E. Work in foreign country
F. Job environment
Estimates of Sampling Error
KNOMAD Data Team
The KNOMAD-ILO Migration Cost Surveys are publicly available and free to all users upon registration in The World Bank Microdata Library.
To help us track and catalog usage of the dataset, please include the following citation in your documents:
World Bank. “KNOMAD-ILO Migration Costs Surveys,” Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), 2017. Ref. WLD_2015_KNOMAD-ILO-MCS_v01_M. Downloaded from [url] on [date].
Disclaimer and copyrights
The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses.
DDI Document ID
Development Economics Data Group
The World Bank
Documentation of the DDI
Date of Metadata Production
DDI Document version
DDI Document - Version 02 - (05/24/21)
This version is identical to DDI_WLD_2015_KNOMAD-ILO-MCS_v01_M_WB but country field has been updated to capture all the countries covered by survey.
Version 01 (November 2017)