Migration is defined as a permanent or semi-permanent change of residence and involves the crossing of national or international borders. Migration refers to the movement and Immigration refers to the end product once the destination has been reached. A great deal of migration is due to “Fast-Tracking” (trying to keep up with the process of economic and social development). In other cases migration is due to simply trying to stay alive! Overpopulation has a lot to do with this.
In a typical year 1.5 million people move from one country to another. In today’s world 150 million people are migrates according to the IOM (International Organization for Migration)
The IOM helps migrants with information, medical aid, language training and assistance with documentation like passports and visas. Canada is one of the world leaders in receiving migrants. About 16% of all Canadians are foreign born.
Causes of migration are divided into push factors and pull factors push factors are things like starvation, political and religious persecution, and war pull factors attract people to new destinations: economic opportunity, political and/or religious freedoms physical geography can also be a pull or push factor, at least people’s perceptions of physical geography – warmer, colder etc.
Four types of migration 1.Primitive migration associated with preindustrial societies and usually caused by some sort of environmental necessity, e.g., following game, loss of soil fertility, overcrowding due to population growth. 2.Forced migration is when people have no choice but to move, usually but not always as a result of political circumstances. Examples: slavery, contract labour, Jews forced from Germany in 1930s.
3.Free migration is when people decide to move based on the desirability of a place. Mainly from Europe, and largely in the 19th century due to demographic and technological changes. Brief period that have huge impacts as millions moved out of Europe. Basically in search of jobs!
4.Illegal Migration occurs when a country prohibits out-migration or when people enter a country without going through normal or proper procedures. Examples include Mexicans into the US and Chinese boatloads into Canada. It is a growing problem. Also called undocumented, irregular or illegal immigrants.
How does Migration take place: movements of people follow flows of trade, goods or the most convenient transport routes away from a situation some follow information from migrants who preceded them, often family members this creates what is called migration chains between the source and the final destination. A good example are the Italians in Toronto and their extended families. Most of this migration is Economic, from poor to rich.
For example 1 American goes to Mexico for every 6 Mexicans that go to the U.S. Sojourners are migrants who only stay long enough to save enough capital to return home to a better standard of living. This is a strong force since they do the same job in the U.S. and get 10X more than they would in lets say Mexico. Sometimes they are called Temporary (Migrate) workers. Germany depends a lot on migrate workers. The ILO (International Labour Organization) sets human and labour standards to protect these worker’s conditions.
Technology has made migration easier, transportation, email etc. in some cases, migrants have harmed the traditional way of life of the indigenous peoples – migrants bring in different culture, traditions, lifestyle etc. the UN estimates that there are some 300 million of these people in some 70 countries who “were subjugated by another people coming after them”
Not all migration is voluntary, eg., slavery or refugees The 1951 Geneva Convention states that a refugee is someone with “ a well- founded fear of being persecuted in his or her country of origin for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a group or political opinion”. external refugees seek refuge in another country; internal refugees in the same country Environmental refugees are forced to move due to environmental deterioration.
Many claim to be political refugees but it’s hard to separate them from the “economic refugees” seeking a higher material standard of living. Some countries have broadened this definition to include women from places where customs place them “in a vulnerable position to men”. Canada is one of these.
International and civil wars have boosted the number of refugees, especially in the 1990s. Wars tend to blur the picture of refugee flows because wars cause massive economic disruption, so that refugees tend to be poverty-stricken as well as in flight for political reasons.
The impact of international migration is great. Immigrants are often greeted with apprehension and immigration has become a politically hot issue in many countries receiving countries. There are some misconceptions that have been statistically proven false. –Take the jobs of existing citizens –Many of them are criminals –Go directly on welfare –They are a burden on social services.
There are three reasons for this, apart from outright racism. 1.Official statistics underrepresented the numbers, as illegal immigration is rising everywhere. 2.Migrants are in peak years of fertility and therefore are adding to total population growth. 3.Migrant settlements are concentrated and this adds to visibility and increases the perception of cultural differences.
Immigrants are tolerated in larger numbers during economic good times, when they are not seen as competitors for scarce jobs. No country in the world has completely free immigration and most severely restrict refugees. Canada has a point system and a quota system and is presently tightening its policy as well
The Future? It used to be that migrants moved from a developed country to a country that was actually developing. For example from Europe to North America. This type was actually economically sound. Today the movement is from a poor developing country to a developed country. The developed country is finding it difficult to absorb these immigrants. Today there is more migration within a country. People are more mobile.
The push and pull factors will get stronger, creating more migration. More rapid population growth in developing world coupled with excess labour supply, rising social and political turbulence, and widening gap between rich and the poor will create increased migration. Also, global media spreading images of the “good life” in the West/North/developed world serves as a magnet.
Urbanization is increasing creating mega- cities. There is now actually a two-step migration process: 1. Rural to Urban and then 2. Move to another country. People from Latin America, South America and East Asia are moving to North America. People from Africa and the Middle East are moving to Europe.
Some countries will be glad to get rid of excess labour, especially if it is disruptive and/or if it sends back remittance wages. This is money sent back from family members working abroad. Eg., Mexicans working in the US send $4B annually back to the country, the 4th largest source of income for that country.
Finally, there is the issue of the “brain drain”, wherein skilled and well- educated people leave a country for better life. Many head to the US, but also Canada, Europe, Australia. Undermines the ability of a country to develop. A country educates and trains people, just to have them leave. Advanced countries (like the US and Canada) are reluctant to expel bad immigrants since they would just go to another country anyway.