The debate about the effects of migration in human beings has tuned up amid influx of refugees throughout the world in recent years. Immigration and emigration as such and historically is said to either benefit or trouble host- and/or origin countries. However, as migration in human beings is a natural event of both now and then, focus should shift to how to benefit from it and what countermeasures to take to prevent any negative consequenses.
Migration for Development
International migration is often mistakenly believed to be an over-all negative event. The effects are commonly misunderstood to strike negative on both countries of origin and destination (host) countries.
Emigration of skilled persons from low-income countries is said to constrain the prosperity of development through brain drain, thus by depriving the homelands their professionals critically needed for national development.
In destination countries, immigrants are believed to constitute a social- and economic burden. Based on these quite typical judgements, migration is strongly connected with constraints and stagnation, rather than with development and growth.
If these judgements are true or false depends on the context build upon the linkages between the migrants and the countries involved (states' relations/tensions and interplay, background and scope of movement). Brain drain doesn't solely strike the sender countries negative, as the persons emigrating can continue to contribute to the development in their countries of origin from abroad.
On the contrary, if applied rightfully, migration can end up in favour of all. Relevant skills, experiences and resources obtained through the life journeys of the migrants can be used constructive, both by countries of origin and host countries.
"Migrants create linkages in which ties places together"
Migration is also considered as an important factor in the international sphere as it affects economic and political relations between high-income (developed) countries and low-income (developing) countries. Hence, migrants create linkages in which ties places together.
Migration raises questions and provokes answers. For "best practice" how to utilize the effects from migration for the good, politicians and civil society, have to follow up these questions. That includes also any refugee situation. Hence, there is a serious need to focus on the primary causes why people flee – and countermeasures – without concentrating the discussion how to ridge borders to reject refugees.
Growingly, people leave their home lands for greener pastures, thus the number of reasons for emigrating and to seek luck, comfort and protection somewhere else has increased radically. As a result, the world has become a much smaller place as the level of interaction between people is more intensive. In this sense the world can be considered as a "global village", where everyday life is affected by everyone's pasts and steps ahead. Diasporas stands put here as landmarks as they remind us of the globalized world we live in and of our joint destiny we share in front of us.
Diasporas are not migrants per definition (as the concept of migrants points to the very action of emigrating or immigrating). The term "diaspora" originates from the ancient Greek, meaning "a scattering or sowing of seeds". Today, as growing communities of people, with ancestry from abroad, are dispersed across the world, they are refered to as diasporas - as communities of people living separated from their ancestral homelands, which they've remained ties to. Diasporas is yet strongly connected with population movement or more specifically international migration with their roots spread across the globe.
Migration & Gender
Women in diaspora, and female migrants in general, are more vulnerable to discrimination and abuse than their male counterparts. Yet, they take greater resposibility than men in providing basic needs and support for their family members, including their children – thus the future generation – which in a further perspective spurs the development of whole societies. Find out how gender and migration interacts with development here.
Migration & Technology
Technology can widen the possibilities for migrants to benefit notably their societies of origin, including their families left behind. For the event of migration in human beings technology can be used as an enabler and a comfort as it can provoke trends of tendency to migrate, constitute a tool for migrants to plan and perform their steps, and as to communicate their steps and needs. Find out how technology and migration interacts here.
What about statistics?
If focusing on international migration trends one can only slightly estimate the proportion of people living in diaspora (e.g. facts and data by UN Population Division or OECD).
As described in the section for diasporic identity, the very concept of people in diaspora is perceived different by different groups. Also, bear in mind that data of people in diaspora could be much higher than presented by some organizations given e.g. those people that consider themselves connected to diaspora communities, but are born in host countries and might have only one parent who is born in the country/region of origin, and so on.
Those people are just as important in the discussion due to their (potential) engagement in their origin, which could be used to benefit both host- and origin countries as well as to improve the situation for many, sadly still, alienated and depressed groups of ethnic and cultural minorities.
In order to utilize the capacity of migrants, and people in diaspora in general, both host countries and countries of origin must optimize the conditions - for them to achieve the win-win-win effect where both migrants, host countries and countries of origin can gain mutually. If ignored or just taken as a to-big-risk, the cost for society will raise in unproportional levels as the potential benefits from it will be lost and the economic and social expenses will remain high just to master the consequenses.
For political leaders, this challenge consists of reaching better understanding how to benefit from migration. We need to focus at the longterm effects from migration instead of the immediate, and governments need to realize that the benefits doesn't come without global collaboration (among states as between states and civil society) and joint resposibility-taking.
Vigorous effort must be taken for combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination of minority groups, and women, rising awareness on their qualifications and capacity of these groups as for levelling up their conditions on the labour market.
- Improve knowledge on how to gain from migration – Immigration & Emigration
- Improve collaboration & joint responsibitity-taking
- Combate racism, xenophobia & discrimination
- Rise awareness about the capacity of migrants and diasporas