The Geneva based International Organization for Migration (IOM) has released its 4th World Migration Report.
Entitled 'Managing Labour Mobility in the Evolving Global Economy,' the report indicated that labour migration will remain strong, human mobility having become a life choice influenced by disparities in demography, income and employment opportunities across regions.
According to Gervais Appave, co-editor of the report, for developed countries, clearly aware that labour market dynamics are increasingly operating across international borders, the challenge will be in adopting planned, flexible, front-door labour migration policies that meet their own individual labor and skills needs.
Appave went on to say that 'The international community made some very important choices in the last century to facilitate the development of the global economy by allowing the free movement of capital, goods and services. The inevitable consequence of that choice is human mobility on an unprecedented global scale. But for all countries, matching the subsequent supply and demand in an international labor market remains a critical challenge.'
'These types of policies are especially important during downturns in the global economy, such as the one we are witnessing today.'
'The Asian financial crisis of the 1990s showed that even in times of economic hardship, there is still a structural need for migrants,' Appave argued in appealing to countries to keep open their doors to immigrant workers despite the global economic crisis.
He stressed that 'the world is on the move; there is no turning away from that. If we harness that mobility through policies addressing both human and economic needs, many of the migration anomalies of the past can be overcome, and we would see real progress when we talk about global development.'
The report said that by 2050 demographic trends show that without immigration, the working-age population in developed countries is expected to decline by 23 percent and those countries will be competing not only for highly skilled migrants but also for low and semi-skilled workers. Particular reference was made to health care, domestic care and service industries.
But the report stated that 'the developing world can easily be the source of as many people of working age as are needed in developed countries with decreasing populations of working age.'
By 2050, Africa's total work force will almost triple from some 400 million in 2005 to 1.1 billion whilst China and India are likely to account for 40 percent of the total global work force.
There are more than 200 million international economic migrants in the world today, almost half of which are reportedly women.
According to the most recently available data, Europe collectively hosted the largest number of immigrants with some 70 million people in 2005. North America, with some 45 million and Asia, with approximately 25 million immigrants were in second and third position.
China with 40 million and India with 20 million are the largest sources of migrant workers with the Philippines in third place; the 8 million people from that country representing approximately 10 percent of its population, the highest population-percentage of any country.
The IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.