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International migration growing numerically and proportionally – report

9 December 20190 comments

A snapshot of global migration trends has emerged from the latest World Migration Report (WMR), produced by the United Nations’ migration agency the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The World Migration Report 2020 says the current global estimate is that there were around 272 million international migrants in the world in 2019, which equates to 3.5 per cent of the global population of 7.7 billion.

This amounts to a number of people roughly equal to the size of Indonesia.

This means that 96.5 per cent of global population remain in the country of their birth.

More than 40 per cent of all international migrants globally – or 112 million – come from Asia.

Around 18 million current migrants come from India followed by Mexico with 12 million, China (11 million), Russia (10 million) and Syria (8 million).

The top destination for migrants is the US (51 million),Germany (13 million), Saudi Arabia (13 million), Russia (12 million) and the United Kingdom (10 million).

The report says that the great majority of people do not migrate across borders; much larger numbers migrate within countries.

There were an estimated 740 million internal migrants in 2009.

However, the increase in international migrants has been evident over time – both numerically and proportionally – and at a slightly faster rate than previously anticipated, the report says.

“The overwhelming majority of people migrate internationally for reasons related to work, family and study – involving migration processes that largely occur without fundamentally challenging either migrants or the countries they enter,” it said.

“In contrast, other people leave their homes and countries for a range of compelling and sometimes tragic reasons, such as conflict, persecution and disaster.

“While those who have been displaced, such as refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), comprise a relatively small percentage of all migrants, they are often the most in need of assistance and support,” the report said.

The WMR report draws upon current statistical sources compiled by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Bank, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the International Organization for Migration.

It found that although most migrants travelled to the US, there are other important migration corridors from poorer countries to richer nations such as those to France, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

“This pattern is likely to remain the same for many years into the future, especially as populations in some developing subregions and countries are projected to increase in coming decades, placing migration pressure on future generations”, the report said.

In Africa, Asia and Europe, most international migrants stay within their regions of birth, but the majority of migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean and North America do not.

In Oceania, finally, migration levels remained about the same in 2019.

Focusing on the Middle East, data showed that Gulf countries have some of the largest numbers of temporary labour migrants in the world, including the United Arab Emirates, where they make up almost 90 per cent of the population.

The report said ongoing conflicts and violence in Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen have led to massive internal displacement in the last two years.

The IOM’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre said that a total of 41.3 million people were forced to flee their homes at the end of 2018 – a record since monitoring began in 1998.

Syria has the highest internally population of displaced people, at 6.1 million, followed by Colombia (5.8 million) and the DRC (3.1 million).

After nearly nine years of conflict, Syria is also the top refugee-originating country, at well over six million – dwarfing Afghanistan (at around 2.5 million) – out of a total of nearly 26 million.

The report also canvases the impact of climate and weather disasters, saying that Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines contributed to the fact that 3.8 million people were newly displaced there at the end of 2018, the largest number globally.