International Migrants in the Global Economic Crisis

International Migrants in the Global Economic Crisis

Over the last three decades, international migration has become an important part of the world economy, providing vital labor for industrial countries. Migration has also become a major resource for origin countries, helping to lift millions of people out of poverty and contributing to national income and development finance. The global economic crisis (GEC), which led to massive declines in investment and production all over the world, was widely expected to also lead to a fall in migration. Analysts also expected that many migrants would return to their homelands, and that worker remittances would decline. Although the current fragmentary data means that any assessment must be seen as provisional, some general trends have emerged three years into the crisis. These suggest that in some areas, the effects of the GEC on migration were not as severe as expected, while in others they defied expectations.

Globalization and Migration

According to the latest U.N. statistics, some 214 million people, or 3.1 percent of world population, were living outside their countries of origin in 2008. These immigrants are concentrated in the most developed countries, making up between 5 and 23 percent of the population in the EU, North America and Australia. Emerging industrial countries in East and South East Asia, the Middle East and parts of Latin America and Africa also experience substantial immigration.

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