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Migration and remittances soaring – report

14 May 20240 comments

There are now 281 million migrants globally generating a massive $US832 billion in remittances, according to the International Organisation for Migration’s latest World Migration Report.

The level of international remittances has surged 650 per cent from $US 128 billion in 2000, surpassing the amount of direct foreign investment in developing countries.

The report highlights that international migration remains a driver of human development and economic growth.

But there has been a narrowing of regular pathways for migration in recent years, with developed countries applying stricter entry policies for people from least developed countries, it says.

“The growth continued despite predictions from many analysts that remittances would decrease substantially because of COVID-19,” the report says.

“Of that 831 billion in remittances, 647 billion were sent by migrants to low -and middle-income countries. These remittances can constitute a significant portion of those countries’ GDPs, and globally, these remittances now surpass foreign direct investment in those countries,” it says.

The report says that while international migration continues to drive human development, challenges persist.

“With an estimated 281 million international migrants worldwide, the number of displaced individuals due to conflict, violence, disaster, and other reasons has surged to the highest levels in modern-day records, reaching 117 million, underscoring the urgency of addressing displacement crises,” it says. 

“Migration, an intrinsic part of human history, is often overshadowed by sensationalized narratives. However, the reality is far more nuanced than what captures headlines. Most migration is regular, safe, and regionally focused, directly linked to opportunities and livelihoods. Yet, misinformation and politicisation have clouded public discourse, necessitating a clear and accurate portrayal of migration dynamics,” the report says.

The estimate of 281 million international migrants globally represents 3.6 per cent of the world’s population.

“While the vast majority of people in the world continue to live in the country in which they were born, more people are migrating to other countries, especially those within their region,” the report says.

“Work is the major reason that people migrate internationally, and migrant workers constitute a large majority of the world’s international migrants, with most living in high-income countries.

“Global displacement is at a record high, with the number of internally displaced at around 71.2 million and the number of refugees and asylum seekers at 40.7 million,” the report says. 

The report’s data shows that between 1995 and 2020, migration from low- and medium-development countries increased, but only slightly, reconfirming existing macroeconomic analyses showing that international migration from low-income countries has historically been limited.

The report explores how gender influences migration experiences and concludes that gender may trigger diverse opportunities as well as vulnerabilities and risks for migrants.

“There is currently a larger number of male than female international migrants worldwide and the growing gender gap has increased over the past 20 years. In 2000, the male to female split was 50.6 to 49.4 per cent (or 88 million male migrants and 86 million female migrants). In 2020 the split was 51.9 to 48.1 per cent, with 146 million male migrants and 135 million female migrants,” it says.

“The share of female migrants has been decreasing since 2000, while the share of male migrants has increased by 1.3 percentage points.”

The report says climate change and food insecurity is playing an increasing role in global migration.

IOM Director General Amy Pope said the World Migration report was an important tool.

“In a world grappling with uncertainty, understanding migration dynamics is essential for informed decision-making and effective policy responses, and the World Migration Report advances this understanding by shedding light on longstanding trends and emerging challenges,” Ms Pope said.

Read the full report:  World Migration Report 2024 | IOM Publications Platform