Humanity has been on the move ever since the beginning of time for different reasons. Some people relocate to join family, pursue educational chances, or find employment or economic opportunities, others move for improved standard of living and personal reasons, such as to pursue their dreams or to experience new cultures.
Many more relocate in order to flee hostilities, persecution, terrorism, or human rights abuses. Other migrate due to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or drought, climate change which can make their home region inhospitable or uninhabitable
More people than ever before are living outside of their nation of birth nowadays. The International Organization of Migration (IOM) World Migration Report 2020 estimates that there were about 272 million migrants worldwide as of June 2019, an increase of 51 million from 2010 and still counting. People who migrated for labour related reasons made up over two thirds. 3.5% of the world’s population was made up of immigrants in 2019. This is in contrast to 2.8% in 2000 and 2.3% in 1980.
While many people travel voluntarily, many more do so because they must. At the end of 2019, 79.5 million people were forcibly displaced globally, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 26 million of them (including 20.4 million under the UNHCR’s mandate and 5.6 million under UNRWA’s for Palestine) were refugees. There were 45.7 million internal migrants, 4.2 million asylum seekers, and 3.6 million Venezuelans who had to flee their country.
Who is a Migrant?
A migrant is a person who moves from one location to another other, particularly to another country, for employment or habitation. For a variety of reasons, including employment opportunities, family reunification, education, or to flee conflict or persecution, migrants may relocate permanently or temporarily. According to IOM, a United Nations Migratory agency, a migrant is any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a State away from his/her habitual place of residence, regardless of (1) the person’s legal status; (2) whether the movement is voluntary or involuntary; (3) what the causes for the movement are; or (4) what the length of the stay is.
What is Migration?
Migration is the movement of either people or animals from one place to another, especially to a different country, in order to live or work, but in the context of this article, we shall dwell more on the movement of the people. Migration can be voluntary, this happens when people choose to move for various reasons, or it can be involuntary, meaning that people are compelled to move due to circumstances such as conflict, persecution, or natural disasters. Migration can also be temporary or permanent. In contrast to permanent migration, which entails living in a new location and making a new home there, temporary migration may involve people relocating for a brief period of time before returning to their home country.
People sometimes confuse migration to asylum. They are quite two distinct entity, though they are related because movement is involved in both of them, but they are clearly different from each other.
What is Asylum?
Asylum is a form of protection that is granted by a state to a foreign citizens/people who are fleeing persecution, violence, or other serious harm in their home countries and are unable to return safely. Asylum is usually granted either through a formal application process or by presenting themselves at a border or other entry point and requesting protection. If an individual’s claim for asylum is approved, they may be granted permission to live and work in the host country while their case is being processed. If an individual’s claim is denied, they may be deported back to their home country or may be able to appeal the decision.
International law recognizes asylum as a legal concept that is governed by a variety of treaties and protocols. It is intended to safeguard those who must flee their own nations for safety because they cannot find adequate protection there.
International Migrants Day
In December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 18th December International Migrants Day. On that day in 1990, the Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
Causes of Migration
The following are identifiable causes of migration:
Economic causes: People may migrate to find work or improve their economic situation. This could include seeking higher-paying jobs, access to education and training, or a more stable economy. Poor economic conditions can make people migrate to countries with good economic fortunes to search for better economic opportunities. For instance, a country with high level of unemployment and low wages will experience mass exodus of people to a better country. Furthermore, people may also migrate in search of lower living costs. For example, a country with high cost of living coupled with poor economy, will see people move to a place where the cost of living is lower.
Insecurity: People may decide to leave their home communities/country at large in search of safer neighborhoods if they feel threatened or unsafe there.
Conflict or violence, such as civil war or discrimination based on race or religion, can sometimes be the cause of insecurity. In other instances, it could be influenced by different things, such a lack of access to essential goods or services or a lack of state protection.
Political reasons: Political crises can create instability and insecurity, which can make it unsafe for people to stay in a particular place. This may warrant people to countries where their safety is guaranteed. A government in a political crisis may enact laws that are viewed as repressive or unfair, discriminate against particular groups of people, or both. In these situations, people may migrate to avoid discrimination or persecution.
Environmental causes: Damage to homes and infrastructure natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods. These make lives difficult for people in the affected area. Both natural and environmental disasters can put an impediments to peoples’ livelihoods. This can come in form of destruction of crops, livestock, and other sources of income. This can make it difficult for people to support themselves and their families, leading them to seek out new opportunities elsewhere. Disasters can also contaminate the environment thereby putting peoples’ health at risk.
Family and social reasons: People may migrate to be with family members or to join a spouse or partner who has already migrated. People also migrate for reasons best known to them, which may include to pursue/further their education career, to experience new environment such as tourist visit etc.
Advantages of migration
(for the migrant)
- Economic benefits: Migration can create many opportunities for people to secure better paying jobs and have access to a higher standard of living.
- Family reunion: Reunification with family members is a thing of the joy, migration to a country where you have your good relations and friends is always a happy moment.
- Education and skill acquisition: Education and skill acquisition can be a reason for people to migrate. Migration provide access to education and training opportunities especially if the host country is developed and likely not available in the place of origin.
- Free from Political crisis: People may decide to go to a country with conducive political serene especially if their own country is experiencing one form of political crisis or the other. People also migrate to escape persecution or to seek political freedom.
- Cultural exchange and enlightment: Migration can lead to the exchange of ideas, beliefs, customs, and traditions between different cultures, leading to greater cultural understanding and enlightment in a diverse socio-cultural environment.
Disadvantages of migration
(for the migrant)
- Impediment to Socio-cultural growth and harmony: When people travel, they leave some aspects of their culture. There is also a possibility of cultural clash between the migrant and the host community. Migration, therefore, can lead to the displacement of people and the breakdown of social and cultural norms in both the place of origin and destination.
- Economic competition and struggles: Migration can lead to competition for jobs and other resources in the destination country especially if the host country job vacancies and resources are inadequate. This can lead to tension between migrants and the local population.
- Heavy burden on resources and economy: When large number of people migrate to country, it would likely give undue pressure to the economy and resources of the host country. The increased number of people will mount stress on the key sectors of the economy such as housing, healthcare, and education.
- Severance from family and community: Detachment from family and community usually follows after a migrant leaves his/her country of origin. This is obtainable when the family of the migrant is residing in his /her country of origin. This can be a serious challenge as some people find difficult to cope.
- Difficulty accessing legitimate documents: There may be difficulty in obtaining the necessary legal documents that will guarantee your stay in the host country. This may likely lead to undue psychological burden and emotional stress.
- Discrimination, injustice and hostility: Migrants may face unfairness, enemity and prejudice in the destination country due to their race, ethnicity, religion, or other factors.
Advantages of Migration
(for Host Country)
- Adequate human resources to fill Job vacancies: Host country can benefit from high skilled expatriates. Some job vacancies that require highly skilled individuals can be filled up by the migrants. This has the potential to increase the technical know-how within the workforce, improve business productivity, and boost national productivity.
- Improve economic growth: When highly skilled migrants relocate to a country, especially where the citizens of the country in question is not skilled enough, they would contribute immensely to the economic growth of the country.
- Increase income generated from tax for the host country: As one the advantages of migration to the host country, when professionally skilled workers get employed in the country, it will government revenue. The number of people that would be paying tax to the government would increase.
- Positive transformations and ideas: Due to advancement in science and technology, many job positions of today need specialized knowledge. Immigrants are seen as offering fresh perspectives and innovations. Many businesses and companies would rather hire highly skilled foreign-born workers their citizens since they may be hired more quickly and provide more value than their local counterparts.
- Stable economy and cultural harmony: From the aforementioned economic benefits of the host country, the economy of the country will be stabilized. Migrant usually adapt to the culture and norms of the host country. They also try to find a balance between their culture and that of the host country and also offer their ideas towards cultural growth where necessary.
Disadvantages of Migration
(for Host Country)
- Reduction of salary earnings: When the population of the host country grows due large influx of migrants, many people will be after lesser job vacancies. This will definitely force the employers of labor to reduce their pay offer. The few people that will be able to secure the job will earn low. Additionally, with more people migrating, there is an increased cost of goods and services, which may tends to lower the wages. This effect is even more obvious when immigrants have a higher education level and are willing to work for less pay.
- Exploitation of workers: This is usually the case when there are few job vacancies. The citizens of the country will have to compete with the migrants for the few available job vacancies. In this kind of scenario, the employers of labor usually take an advantage of many people chasing few jobs to offer the employees low pay, extend work duration, deny the workers some benefits attached to the job and impose all sorts of obnoxious practices on them. The citizens of the host country will also be affected because the employers of labor sometimes don’t treat them differently, though in some cases, they do especially in government establishments.
- Low standard of living and undue pressure on public services: Population growth can put pressure on public services and reduce standard of living. The more people settle in an area or city, the more the need for the city to expand its social amenities, build new residential houses, schools and hospitals to accommodate them. This creates a strain on the government and its budget.
- Loss of jobs: As one the disadvantages of migration to the host country, when the number of people immigrating into a country keep on increasing, it can have economic and social implications. This may give rise to unhealthy consequences like the displacement of jobs, unemployment and limited access to resources.
- Delay in adapting to a new environment: When a migrant finds itself in a foreign country, it would take a little time for him/her to integrate and find acceptance within the environment. Some of these challenges may include language barriers, cultural differences, threats of terrorism and violence, health concerns, discrimination and racism. This will impact negatively in his/her primary working place, thereby reducing his/her inputs to the country.
- Rise in crime rates: As the number of foreigners increase in a country, there would be likelihood of increased incident of crimes. The movement of people into the country with less difficulty make it easy for people with criminal mindset to infiltrate the country. This gives room for organized and sophisticated crimes to have its way in the country. These crimes could be in form of terrorism, trafficking of people, smuggling of illicit drugs and goods, and movement of weapons across borders.
Advantages of Migration
(for Country of Origin)
- Increase economic growth and stability: Migrants can impact positively on the economic growth of their country of origin in the following ways: (1) They do invest in their home country from the money realized from the host country (2) They send money back home to their families and friends to cater for their immediate needs and solve other financial expenses. (3) They do initiate trade between their host countries and their countries of origin.
- Reduction of unemployment: When a good number of people leave a country, the population of the country will be undoubtedly reduce. This will create more job opportunities for the people. More people will be employed, some may even get more pay than before and unemployment will be drastically reduced.
- Migrants bring back skills, contacts and other useful tools: Migration helps in social and economic benefits to host countries as well as countries of origin. Migrants usually return home with useful acquired skills which help to drive economic growth, boost competitiveness and increase innovation for their country of origin.
Disadvantages of Migration
(for Country of Origin)
- Poor economic growth: When countries are experiencing high levels of migration, the number of young persons which are majorly the age range involved in migration will be reduced. The children and the elderly who are left out of the country will not have the required strength to produce adequate goods and services needed to drive the economy. This can result in a significant loss of wealth and poor economic growth.
- Loss of professional skills and man-power: As one the disadvantages of migration to the country of origin, loss of professional skills and man-power immensely impact negatively to the migrant’s country. When professionally skilled individuals like engineers, doctors, pharmacists, scientists leave a country in their large numbers, the country in question will start experiencing shortage of qualified people in those specialty. This will obviously lead to loss of man-power and professional sills in those areas of specialization.
- Disharmony in the families and relations: This is true when the families are not travelling together and even when they are migrating together, there is likelihood of living one or two relations behind. That sense of togetherness and cordial relationship will be lost among the family members and relations.
- Enthronement of indolence in the country of origin: The act of sending of remittances to the country of origin can lead to a dependency on such transfers, rather than fostering domestic economic development among the people at home.
Management of migration
Management of migration comprises policies, processes, and strategies that governments, organizations, and individuals use to regulate and oversee the movement of people from one place to another. This encompasses management of immigration (the movement of people into a country), emigration (the movement of people out of a country), and management of movement of people within a country.
Adequate management of migration cut across an elaborate plans such as setting rules and policies for immigration and emigration, issuing visas and other documents, collecting data and statistics on migration patterns, and providing support and assistance to migrants. This is very important to effectively address and reduce trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants within and from the country. Furthermore, it can also involve measures to address issues related to migration, such as managing the integration of immigrants into the host society, addressing the needs of refugees and asylum seekers, and addressing the root causes of migration.
Effective management of migration can go a long way in ensuring that migration is done in accordance with the laid down procedures. When the required steps are followed, orderliness is guaranteed. And it will lay a good foundation for mutual benefits of both host country and country of origin which can be in forms of social, economic, and cultural development. Good management of migration ensure that the rights of migrants are protected and respected and that they are able to live and work in safety and dignity.