International Migration and the Global Economy

Since 2008 the number of people emigrating abroad has overall gone down. With the World economy showing signs of recovery this is likely to change very soon. This is covered in a recent report by Washington based Migration Policy Institute for the BBC World Service.

Changes since 2008 have included the following:

  • There has been a significant decline in remittances sent to an immigrant's home Country. In Turkey remittances sent home have dropped 43 percent since 2008. Moldova has been particularly badly affected as the reduction of 37 percent there represents a third of the Country's national income. In contrast Bangladesh has seen an increase in remittances of 16 percent.

  • Almost half of the 1.4 million Eastern European workers who came to the United Kingdom between May 2004 and March 2009 from European Union accession countries had returned by the end of 2008. Some former Eastern-Bloc Countries have managed to cope quite well with the economic downturn. Others not so well. The good news is that more and more people are optimistic about the UK economy. There has been a significant increase in UK share prices recently.

  • There has been a sharp decline in the number of Mexicans moving to the United States; Down fourty percent since 2006.

  • The number of Romanians and Bulgarians moving to Spain has fallen by 60%. Spain was particularly badly affected by the economic downturn.

  • Overall Immigrants are more likely to stay in the Country that they have emigrated to or not leave their home Country at all.

  • Some Countries such as Malaysia, Australia and Russia have reduced the number of work visas they issue. However, Australia overall still encourages immigration.

Some Countries such as Australia and Canada have seen immigration levels stay at similar levels or even go up. Overall levels of immigration are still going up. The total foreign born population Worldwide in 2050 is projected to be 230 million. In 1965 it was 75 million. Long term we will continue to see significant growth in the numbers of people moving abroad.

The report also looked at migration trends within China. 140 million left rural areas of China to search for work in industrial cities near the coast. Millions return home for the Chinese New Year. This year record numbers went back to the Countryside. However, fewer people then returned back to the cities.

The situation since 2008 is not typical of overall migration trends. It is likely that future reports will see a significant increase in migration and an overall increase in remittances being sent back to an immigrant's home Country.