migration: international 3021

region are in reality no longer international
In 2000, the United Nations estimated that
there were 175 million persons worldwide
currently living outside their country of birth,
14 percent more than did so in 1990. While this
is a crude estimate of the total number of inter
national migrants in the world, other evidence
indicates that international migration is on the
increase. The Cambridge Survey of World Migra
tion (1995) documents the growth in interna
tional migrations that has occurred since 1945
in North America, Western Europe, Asia and
Oceania, the Middle East, Latin America, and
Africa. In contrast to previous historical eras
when international migrations consisted of rela
tively small flows of settlers moving from Eur
ope to overseas colonies or to former European
colonies following their independence, todays
flows are much larger and involve persons of all
nations and creeds migrating along pathways
that crisscross the globe. At the beginning of
the twenty first century, virtually every country
in the world was a sender or receiver of interna
tional migrants. While the United Nations esti
mated that only 3 percent of the worlds people
were international migrants in 2000, the trend
was upward and believed likely to continue
increasing in the decades ahead. In 1970, for
instance, only 2 percent of the worlds people
were international migrants.


While some of todays migrants are moving for
the same reasons that propelled migration in
earlier epochs, new types of migrants have
emerged in recent decades or what may be
called the globalization era. Today most inter
national migrants can be classified as refugees,
labor migrants, institutional migrants, family
reunification migrants, and lifestyle migrants.
Refugee migrations have existed for centuries
and are propelled when persons are forced to
flee their homeland in fear of their lives. Given
their forced and involuntary character, these
population movements are generally measured
and managed differently than other interna
tional migrations. Most of the worlds refugees
are located in Asia and Africa but some are
admitted for resettlement in North America
and Europe. In addition, growing numbers of
foreigners from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe,
and Latin America come to Western European
countries annually seeking asylum.
Labor migrations are driven by economic
inequalities between countries as workers seek
to improve their incomes and economic secur
ity by moving to countries where economic
conditions are better than in their homelands.
Workers participating in labor migrations are
generally of low skill and typically moving from
a poorer country to a richer neighboring coun
try. While some labor migrations historically
and today were started by labor recruitment
and demand for labor in receiving countries,
increasingly today those flows are driven by an
oversupply of workers in sending countries and
migrant networks that link sending and receiv
ing countries. Large numbers of labor migrants
do not have residence and work authorization
from receiving countries, which raises concerns
regarding whether the rights of these migrants
are being adequately protected.
Institutional migrations include highly
skilled migrants who are hired or transferred
by corporations, governments, and other entities
to another country for work purposes. In con
trast to labor migrations, which are propelled
mainly by migrants themselves and their house
holds but often facilitated by labor recruiters,
smugglers, and other intermediaries, institu
tional migrations are sponsored and organized
by formal institutions that operate transnation
ally in the globalization era. Institutional migra
tions include a number of migrant flows that
have increased during the globalization era.
While these flows occur mainly from southern
to northern countries, a significant volume of
institutional migrations occurs from northern to
southern countries as well as among countries
in the North or South that have comparable
economic levels. Included in this category would
be: employees transferred by multinational cor
porations from one country to another; govern
ment officials; employees of international and
regional institutions; foreigners who move to
another country for graduate study; aid workers
moving from northern to southern countries to
work with bilateral and multilateral assistance
agencies or non governmental organizations;
religious workers proselytizing for their faith;