Compelling news from the refugee and migrant sector
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Growing migration the new paradigm – UN report

20 December 20170 comments

The UN’s top migration official has made an urgent call for “safe migration for a world on the move” as his organisation launched the 2018 World Migration report.

Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director General of IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, said it was important to provide a balanced, analytically rigorous and evidence-based account of the current migration realities in a time of information overload and widespread misconstrued ideas on migration.

He said increasing the understanding of human mobility is paramount given the volume of international migrants, which reached approximately 244 million in 2015 – or about 3.3 per cent of the world’s population.

The report presents an overarching view of current migration dynamics and analyses the complex and emerging issues that have been shaping, and posing challenges to, human mobility.

It looks at themes such as transnational connectivity, media reporting on migrants and migration, and violent extremism and social exclusion.

The report concluded there was need to understand better and take more into consideration the geographic, demographic and geo-political variations that shape migration realities across the world.

The largest chapter delves into regional dimensions and developments and explores key features, such as intra-regional migration, internal and international displacement, labour migration and remittances, migrant smuggling and human trafficking, integration and irregular migration.

The report also calls for greater recognition of the many interconnections in the analysis and policymaking on migration.

“While the complex dynamics of migration can never be fully measured, understood and regulated, there is a continuously growing and improving body of data and evidence that can help make better sense of the basic features of migration in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world,” said Marie McAuliffe, Head of IOM’s Migration Policy Research Division and co-editor of the report.

The report found migration across the globe is growing both in raw numbers and as a proportion of the world’s population

The report found the current global estimate is that there were around 244 million international migrants in the world in 2015, which equates to 3.3 per cent of the global population.

“The great majority of people in the world do not migrate across borders; much larger numbers migrate within countries (an estimated 740 million internal migrants in 2009),” the report said.

“That said, the increase in international migrants has been evident over time – both numerically and proportionally – and at a greater rate than had been anticipated by some,” it said.

“For example, a 2003 projection was that by 2050 international migrants would account for 2.6 per cent of the global population or 230 million (a figure that has already been surpassed),” the report said.

“In contrast, in 2010, a revised projection for 2050 was 405 million international migrants globally.

“In recent years we have also seen a significant increase in displacement, both internal and across borders, which has largely stemmed from civil and transnational conflict, including acts of violent extremism outside actual war zones,” it said.

The report says that in 2016 there were 40.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) worldwide and 22.5 million refugees – the highest on record.

It says that migration can generate very large benefits for migrants, their families, their countries of origin and, in many cases, the host countries.

“The wages that migrants earn abroad can be many multiples of what they could earn doing similar jobs at home. For example, a study conducted in 2009 found that the ratio of wages earned by workers in the United States to wages earned by identical workers (with the same country of birth, years of schooling, age and sex, and rural/urban residence) abroad ranges from 15.45 (for workers born in Yemen) to 1.99 (workers born in the Dominican Republic), with a median ratio of 4.11.

“In contrast to popular perceptions, a recent OECD study found that the net fiscal effects of immigration, i.e. the taxes migrants pay minus the benefits and government services they receive, tend to be quite small and – for most OECD countries analysed in the study – positive,” the report said.

“The report is designed to increase the understanding of migration by compiling a wealth of data, information and analysis that draws on the organization’s 65 years of field experience and migration experts’ critical perspectives,” Ms McAuliffe said.

The full report can be downloaded here in English


Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist