The migration of people around the globe for work comes down to this: Wealthy nations with aging populations need workers and people in poor countries need jobs.
Worldwide millions of people are on the move – doing jobs ranging from harvesting apples to computer programming. The combined number people who have migrated for work would equal the population of world’s fifth most populous nation.
According to United Nations estimates that there are 214 million migrants worldwide, an increase of about 37% in past 20 years. The number of migrants has grown 41% in Europe and 80% in North America in the past two decades.
The number of migrants crossing national borders searching for employment and security is expected to increase rapidly in the coming decades due to the failure of globalization to provide jobs.
“There’s more mobility at this moment than at any time in world history,” Gary P. Freeman, a University of Texas political scientist, told The New York Times.
Isse Yusuf migrated within Somalia to find work.
A recent Gallup poll found that roughly 630 million of the world’s adults, about 14% of the global population would move to another nation if given the chance. About 48 million said they were planning to leave their home countries in the next 12 months. The same poll found that a still significant number of people, 19 million, are actually taking necessary steps such as applying for visas or residency and purchasing tickets.
Even the worst global economy in 70 years has only slowed, not stopped, the growth in human migration. And there’s little likelihood employment-related migration will slow in the future.
Recent events in the Arab world and in Africa are likely to boost the number of people on the move for both work and security.
According to Gallup’s research, which was conducted prior to the ouster of dictatorial leaders in Libya and Egypt, people in the Middle East and North Africa were the most likely worldwide to say they planned to leave their countries permanently in the next 12 months.
More than one in five adults, 21%, in the Middle East and North Africa overall said they would migrate permanently to another country if they had the chance, and one in six told Gallup pollsters said they were planning to move in the near future.
The workers that countries would most like to retain or attract — those with high levels of education, professional workers — are the most likely to be making preparations to migrate, according to Gallup.
But a great many migrating workers are the young, unskilled or desperate and modern communication and transportation makes it more likely they will indeed move abroad to find work.
Most people migrating for work never cross national borders.
Workers who do migrate across borders usually move to nearby nations, like from Mexico to the United States or Turkey to Germany. The largest flow of migrants, 74 million, is from one developing country to another, as from the Philippines to Saudi Arabia or from Nicaragua to Costa Rica.
About 60% of the world’s migrants live in developed nations, making migrants 10% of developed country residents.
The countries with the most migrants are the United States, with 43 million in 2010; Russia with 12 million and Germany with 11 million. Saudi Arabia, Canada, and France have about 7 million migrant workers each. These six countries included 87 million migrants, or 40% of the total.
Countries with the per capita highest share of migrants were mostly Arab Gulf state oil exporters such as Qatar, where over 85% of residents were migrants, and the UAE and Kuwait, with 70% migrants.
Arab Gulf oil nations their revenues during the past four decades to develop new cities and provide shave services to nationals, but have few local workers, especially local women, in their labor forces. Many of these nations have recently embarked on campaigns to hire locals, especially in technical and professional jobs to prevent them from migrating to find meaningful employment.
The global economic impact of migrant workers is crucial to the well-being of millions around the world.
Remittances from migrant workers sent to developing nations totaled $325 billion in 2010, more than official development aid
India received $55 billion in remittances in 2010; China, $51 billion; Mexico, $23 billion and the Philippines, $21 billion. In a diverse group of countries remittances from workers abroad comprise the largest share of the economy, including ex-USSR countries whose Soviet industries collapsed, such as Tajikistan and Moldova as well as island nations such as Tonga and Samoa. Several Central American countries with large number sof expatriates in the United States, such as Honduras and El Salvador.