Migrant transfers include cash remittances, social remittances and transfers in kind. Although rural-urban migrants send smaller amounts of money and carry back lower-end knowledge and skills, there is clear evidence that such transfers are changing rural economies for the better across the globe. However there is little recognition at the policy level. A lack of data and political commitment have led to continuing ignorance about the potentially positive impacts of migrant transfers. Lessons can be learned from urban development programmes in China and migrant support programmes in India and these are briefly reviewed in the paper to stimulate discussion on policy reform.