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The content on this page is extremely old. Much has changed in the world since this article was written. While many of the concepts will still be relevant, figures and case studies are likely to be outdated at this point.
The United Nations describes migration as the movement of a person or persons from one place to another, involving a permanent (one year or more) change of address. Migration can be within a country or to another.
Why Do People Migrate?
- For economical, environmental, sociocultural or political reasons.
- Migration can be voluntary or forced, temporary or permanent, national or international.
- Population movements are driven and sustained by potential push and pull forces due to an imbalance in economic activities and opportunities.
- Push factors are features of the home area which creates pressure and so causes people to move away. e.g. persecution, unemployment & poverty.
- Pull factors operate at places outside of the migrant’s home area to attract individuals to a new location. e.g. political asylum, a promotion, high living standards in another area.
Consequences Of Migration On The Country Of Origin
- The area benefits from remittences sent home.
- Upon return, migrants bring new skills to the country such as the ability to speak foreign languages.These new skills can help to improve the economy in the country of origin.
- There is less pressure on resources such as food and social services such as health care.
- Loss of young workforce; those with skills and those with entrepreneurial talents move, slowing economic development.
- Loss of labour may reduce inward investment by private companies, increasing dependencies on government initiatives.
- Population density is reduced and birth rate falls as it’s the younger population who migrates. This can help ease overpopulation.
- Remittances sent home by economic migrants can be used to finance improved education & health service.
- Returning migrants increase social expectations for communities, for example, increasing demand for better leisure facilities.
- Marriage rates fall and family structures break down as men migrate producing a generation of single mums.
- Lots of young people migrating out of the country can increase the dependency ratio.
- Returning retired migrants may increase social costs on the community as support mechanisms aren’t in place for them.
- Migration of men and young families can cause a loss of cultural leadership and traditions.
- Policies to encourage natural increase can be developed.
- Policies to encourage immigration to counteract outflow.
- Requests for international aid.
Consequences Of Migration On The Host Country
- Migrants take up less desirable, menial jobs which natives would not take but need filling.
- The host country can gain skilled labour for cheap.
- There is a labour surplus; those with skills and education fuel the economy.
- The “skill gap” in many host countries can be filled by migrants.
- Costs of retirement can be transferred to the country of origin.
- Migrant children must be educated, they won’t necessarily speak the native language of the host country.
- There is an over dependency in some industries on migrant labour, leading to a lack of jobs for people native to the host country.
- Much of the money earned by the migrants isn’t spent in the host country and is instead sent back to the country of origin.
- More people increase the pressure on resources and services such as health care systems.
- The creation of a multiethnic society increases understanding and tolerance of other cultures.
- There is an influx of new or revitalised services e.g. Kebab shops & Turkish baths.
- People from other countries can encourage the learning of new languages, helping people develop skills for working internationally.
- The dominance of males is reinforced (due to the large number of male migrants), especially in cultures where women already have a low status.
- Aspects of cultural identity are lost, especially in second generation children.
- Segregated ethnic areas are created e.g. China Town. Schools become dominated by migrant children.
- Discrimination agains ethnic groups & minorities which can lead to civil unrest and extremism.
- Calls for control on immigration.
- Entrenchment of attitudes which may encourage fundamentalism.
On The Mexico - USA Border
- 9,150 border control agents.
- Use of electronic equipment such as heat sensors, night vision goggles, air vehicles & Black Hawk helicopters.
- Multiple operations to keep mexican immigrants out; Operation Rio Grande in the El Paso; Operation Gatekeeper in San Diego; Operation Hold-The-Line in El Paso; and operation safeguard in Tucson.
In Other Areas
- Limiting the number of migrant workers at the source.
- Insisting on boundary arrangements.
- Preventing illegal crossings e.g. Sea patrols between Florida and Cuba.
- Returning ineligible asylum seekers.
- Use of holding bases for visa checks.