The 2016 KNOMAD-ILO Migration Costs Surveys compiled dataset consists of 5 surveys covering 9 bilateral migration corridors with a total of 2, 454 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. This document describes surveys conducted using the 2016 version of the MCS questionnaire.
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 2016 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 and
- Current status and contact information: migration status information
- Kyrgyz Republic
- Countries in Western Africa
Surveys of migrants from the following corridors are included:
• India-Saudi Arabia
• Philippines to Saudi Arabia
• Nepal to Malaysia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia
• Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan to Russia
• West African countries to Italy
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. There is variation in terms of when migrants were interviewed in their migration life-cycle. Two surveys of recruited workers - that is workers who are recruited in their home countries for jobs abroad - namely Filipinos and Indians to Saudi Arabia, were conducted with migrants returning to their origin countries (for visits or permanently). The surveys of non-recruited migrants - Central Asian migrants to Russia and West African migrants to Italy - were administered in the destination countries, which permitted multiple bilateral migration channels to be documented (at cost of smaller sample sizes in some corridors, particularly with Italy as destination). The survey instruments for non-recruited migrants were worded in present tense for various aspect of stay in the destination country. The content of the variables remains analogous to the surveys of returnees. Finally, the survey of Nepalese migrants was conducted with migrants who were departing to their destination countries within a two-week period. Please refer to Annex Table 1 of the 2016 KNOMAD_ILO MCS Guide for a summary description of the samples included in the 2016 KNOMAD-ILO MCS dataset.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Computer Assisted Personal Interview [capi]
The 2016 KNOMAD-ILO Migration Costs Surveys consists of 7 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
G. Current status and contact information
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 2016,” Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), 2017.Ref: WLD_2016_KNOMAD-ILO-MCS_v01_M. Downloaded from [url] on [date].
Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD)
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_2016_KNOMAD-ILO-MCS_v01_M_WB but country field has been updated to capture all the countries covered by survey.