Globalization of international migration: Social challenges and policy implication

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In the second half of the XX century, the humankind witnessed the insurmountable and irreversible power of globalization processes, which influence all spheres of social life and establish a global system of interdependency between countries and nations. Globalization within impetuous changes in global political, social and economic systems has determined dramatic shifts in the international migration processes that lead to the new stage of migration history. In nowadays globalized world, international migration has become a reality for almost all corners of the globe. The author considers features of the recent trends of international migration: the unprecedented growth of the international migration flows; the widening geography of international migration that involves nearly all countries of the world; qualitative changes in the structure of international migration flows; the key role of economic migration; the permanent growth and structural intricateness of irregular migration; the increasing scale and geographical widening of forced migration; the growing importance of international migration for the demographic development of the world, countries of both origin and destination. All these trends combined prove that the international migration patterns have become more complex. The author analyzes the legal framework of the international migration processes, and gives recommendations on the ways to improve the control and regulation of migration processes. Specific issues related to the social challenges of international migration are also discussed in the article.

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The increasing scale of international migration International migration has accelerated over the last fifty years. Globalization processes have set in motion vast and often uncontrolled international migration flows and, thus, turned the international migration into the most important global phenomena, which influences the world economy and international security. Today, more people live outside their countries of origin than ever before, and international migration has become much more diverse in terms of origins and destinations of migrants. The scale of the international migration flows allows considering it a phenomenon of global influence. According to the United Nations Population Division 2015 estimates, more than 244 million people live outside their countries of birth. Currently, international migrants make up nearly 1 of every 32 people in the world, almost 1 of every 8 people in the developed regions and nearly 1 of every 65 people in the developing ones [12]. All together international migrants could now constitute the world’s fifth most populous nation if they all lived in the same place - after China, India, the United States and Indonesia [15]. The Table 1 shows that in the last fifty years there have been significant changes in the regional distribution of the international migration flows. If the majority of international migrants (57.2%) in 1960 settled in the developing regions, now more than half (57.6%) of international migrants has settled in the developed regions. The most perceptible changes are typical for Europe and North America where the number of international migrants has increased over the period of 1960-2015 by 5.3 and 4.3 times respectively. Currently, Europe is the region with the highest number of international migrants (more than 76.15 million people in 2015), followed by Asia (75.08) and North America (54.49) [12]. Table 1 International migrant stock at mid-year by major area/region (in millions) Major Area, Region 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2005 2010 2015 World 75.46 81.34 99.28 152.56 172.70 191.27 221.71 243.70 Developed regions 32.31 38.36 47.46 82.38 103.38 117.18 132.56 140.48 Developing regions 43.15 42.97 51.82 70.18 69.32 74.09 89.15 103.22 Europe 14.24 18.79 21.89 49.22 56.27 64.09 72.37 76.15 Africa 9.13 9.94 14.10 15.69 14.80 15.19 16.84 20.65 Asia 28.48 27.82 32.11 48.14 49.34 53.37 65.91 75.08 Latin America and the Caribbean 6.01 5.68 6.08 7.17 6.59 7.23 8.24 9.23 North America 12.51 12.99 18.09 27.61 40.35 45.36 51.22 54.49 Oceania 2.13 3.03 3.75 4.73 5.36 6.02 7.13 8.10 Source: author’s estimates based on [12; 13] The important indicator, which reflects the ratio of international migration, is the growing share of international migrants in the total population of the receiving states. In 1960, there were 27 countries in the world with the percentage of international migrants up to 10%, while in 2015 the number of such countries reached 92, and in 16 countries the share of international migrants exceeded 50% [12]. The share of migrants in the total population in 1960-2015 increased most significantly in the oil-producing countries of the Persian Gulf: in Bahrain from 17.1% to 51.1%, in Kuwait - from 32.6% to 73.6%, in Qatar - from 32% to 75.5%, in the UAE - from 2.4% to 88.4%, in Saudi Arabia - from 1.6% to 32.3% (Table 2). Thus, in the contemporary world, the international migration flows became the global phenomena, which influence all spheres of life of the global community, and international migration became one of the key factors of social and economic development of the states. Table 2 Countries with the largest share of international migrants Country 1960 Country 2015 Israel 56.1% UAE 88.4% Jordan 43.1% Qatar 75.5% Kuwait 32.6% Kuwait 73.6% Qatar 32.0% Bahrein 51.1% Singapore 31.7% Singapore 45.4% Brunei Darussalam 25.2% Oman 41.1% Côte d'Ivoire 18.0% Jordan 41.0% Bahrein 17.1% Lebanon 34.1% Australia 16.6% Saudi Arabia 32.3% Canada 15.0% Switzerland 29.4% Source: author’s estimates based on [12; 13]; only countries with the population exceeding 500 thousand The widening geography of international migration The widening geographical scope of international migration was determined by new social links and migration networks established between countries as a result of the globalization processes. Migration social networks facilitate potential migrants’ movements by providing necessary information and assistance. Such networks can also help to overcome the restrictions in admission policies. Nowadays all countries of the world participate in the international migration to a greater or lesser extent. Even such “closed” states as Northern Korea or Cuba are getting more and more active in the migration processes though the emigration here is much more strictly controlled than immigration unlike many other countries. Despite the fact that the majority of international migrants come from developing countries, the contemporary migration flows do not have only “South - North” or “East - West” vectors. Nearly half of all reported migrants move from one developing country to another and approximately the same amount move from developing countries to the developed ones. In other words, the number of migrants who move from “South to South” is balances by the number of migrants who move from “South to North”. In the XXI century, all countries and regions of the world are in one way or another destination for some migrants. The era of fast transportation affects every country, and international migrants can be found everywhere. According to the UN estimates, in 2015 the only sovereign state in the world with the number of international migrants less than 1 thousand people, was the Republic Tuvalu (the number of its inhabitants is below 10.5 thousand) [12]. In 1960, there were 41 countries with the number of migrants exceeding 300 thousand people, in 2000 - already 66 countries, in 2015 - 81 and in 37 the number of international migrants exceeded 1 million, while in 10 countries - 5 million. The USA are at the top of the list (46.6 million), Germany (12) and Russia (11.6) (Table 3). Thus, the shifts in the global migration over the last 60 years were primarily determined by the considerable changes of geography of international migrant flows and by the increasing number of countries involved in the migration processes. Table 3 Ten countries with the largest number of international migrants (in millions) 1960 2000 2015 USA 10.83 USA 34.81 USA 46.63 India 9.41 Russia 11.90 Germany 12.01 Pakistan 6.35 Germany 8.99 Russia 11.64 France 3.51 India 6.41 Saudi Arabia 10.19 Canada 2.77 France 6.28 United Kingdom 8.54 Argentina 2.60 Ukraine 5.23 UAE 8.10 Poland 2.42 Canada 5.51 Canada 7.84 Indonesia 1.86 Saudi Arabia 5.26 France 7.78 Australia 1.70 United Kingdom 4.73 Australia 6.76 United Kingdom 1.66 Australia 4.39 Spain 5.85 Source: author’s estimates based on [12; 13] Qualitative changes in the structure of international migration The profound global changes in the second half of the XX century were determined by the development of the post-industrial sector of economy and the corresponding transformation of the global labor market demands, as well as by liberal reforms and democratic shifts in the post-communist and developing countries. They encouraged a qualitatively new stage in the development of international migration with the following key changes: a shift from permanent to temporary migration, from unqualified to qualified migration, and to the feminization of migration. The current researches do not provide reliable information on the temporary migration for temporary movements are not recorded and there is no detailed or regular information about temporary migrants. However, the surveys conducted in some countries of destination and statistics on migration prove that in the recent five decades the number of permanent (or long-term) migrants was rising gradually, while the number and frequency of short-term movements were growing much faster. Within the international migration, the labor migration was growing most rapidly. This has to do with the greater availability of transport facilities that make migration easier and “reduce” the distance between countries and continents. Under these conditions, the temporary work abroad is more preferable than emigration, because it involves fewer material and non-material costs. On the other hand, globalization of the labor market requires more flexible migration behavior that can be partially guaranteed by the labor migration. Attraction of foreign workers on a temporary basis also corresponds to the immigration policy goals in the developed countries that form the “globalization elite” and in many respects define conditions for other countries participation in the globalization processes. The labor markets of developed countries are in a constant demand for foreign labor of two “polar” types’: unqualified workers and workers highly qualified in technologies. At the same time, the demand for foreign labor in countries of destination evolves towards more qualified labor, and receiving countries encourage the qualified immigration for the needs of the national economy branches that face labor deficit. The current shifts in the qualitative structure of migration flows mean mainly the growth of the number of professionals among international migrants. This trend is closely related to probably the most painful phenomenon within the international migration, the so-called “brain drain”, i.e. the non-return migration of highly qualified specialists - scientists, engineers, physicians, etc. (including potential intellectuals such as students, post-graduate students, trainees). The policy aimed to attract skilled personnel from other countries is widely used by the developed countries, primarily by the USA. On the other hand, low- and non-skilled migrants face new barriers to access the countries of final destination, while the push factors in less developed states still exist together with the pull factors in receiving countries. Thus, the receiving states are to develop guest workers programs for temporary attraction of low-skilled migrants [6. P. 127-151]. Traditionally it is believed that the majority of international migrants are males, while females migrants are usually family members of male migrants. However, at the beginning of the 1990-s the researchers noticed that today more women migrate not to join their partner, but in search of better-paid employment. In 2015, women’s share of international migrants in the developed countries exceeded 51% (in the world - 48%). The share of female migrants is biggest in Nepal (69%), Moldova (65%), and Latvia (60%) [12]. In many respects, the latter fact is related to the structural modifications of the world economy that accompany globalization processes. The development of the services economy leads to the changes in the labor market structure in the developed countries (textile industry, leisure industry, social services, sex services, etc.) and to the constantly growing demand for female migrants including those occupied in unqualified jobs. Thus, the feminization of migration flows is one of the important trends in the contemporary international migration, which is accompanied by the increase of human trafficking, smuggling of migrants and other exploitative practices. The latter is due to the fact that women tend to work in the gender-segregated sectors of economy, such as domestic services and a leisure sphere, and they are much more likely to suffer gender discrimination than male migrants [10. P. 20]. These trends generate the challenge for defending human rights of labor migrants (mainly women) as a priority task of national and international institutes focused on migration issues. Types of the contemporary global migration The international migration flows develop under the influence of different factors, among which economic factors are preliminary. The growing role and scale of economic migration (mainly labor migration) is the most stable and long-lasting trend of international migration. It gained crucial impulse under the expansion of capitalist economy and commercialization of labor. Under the globalization of the world economy the most important challenge is the formation of the world labor market with export and import labor resources of the unprecedented scale. Despite the fact that it is difficult to estimate the international labor migration flows for not all countries monitor such and a considerable part of labor migration is illegal, the international labor migration has gained a considerable scale and is still growing. According to the recent ILO estimates, there were 150.3 million migrant workers in the world in 2013 compared to 86 million in 2000 and 3.2 million in 1960. Almost half (48.5%) of migrant workers are concentrated in two broad sub-regions - North America and Northern, Southern and Western Europe (Table 4). These sub-regions together make up 52.9% of female migration and 45.1% of male migration [7]. Table 4 Distribution of migrant workers by sub-regions in 2013 Broad sub-region Millions % World 150.3 100 Northern, Southern and Western Europe 35.8 23.8 Eastern Europe 13.8 7 North America 37.1 24.7 Latin America and the Caribbean 4.3 2.9 Sub-Saharan Africa 7.9 5.3 North Africa 0.8 0.5 Central and Western Asia 7 4.7 Arab States 17.6 11.7 Eastern Asia 5.4 3.6 South-Eastern Asia and the Pacific 11.7 7.8 Southern Asia 8.7 5.8 Source: author’s estimates based on [7] Three key factors determine expansion of international labor migration and increase of its role [6. P. 18]: the “pull” of changing demographic situation (mainly of population ageing) and labor market needs in the developed countries; the “push” of demographic factors in developing countries, of growing differences in income and possibilities between developing and developed regions, and of increasing gap between the most dynamic countries and the rest of the developing world; established inter-country networks based on family, culture and history. Remittances are the immediate and tangible benefit of international labor migration. While receiving countries financially benefit from labor migration mainly via receiving tax payments, for sending countries the financial inflows from migrant workers are more diverse. Thus, labor migration, i.e. global flows of human capital, has become an important factor of global economy development and at the same time a result and source of the increasing interdependence of countries and regions. The international mobility of people in search of jobs in the globalizing world will definitely increase, so it is necessary for countries of origin and destination of migrant workers to develop effective and fair means for managing labor migration. Labor migration is closely related to another trend of the contemporary international migration - a permanent growth of irregular immigration. There are no reliable data on irregular migrants: according to different estimates, 10% to 15% of international migrants stay in the countries of destination breaking the law. In other words, irregular migrants form about a half of legal labor migration, and their number is not reducing despite restricting immigration rules and laws against irregular immigration. Moreover, countries widely using the labor of irregular migrants replenish their labor force from the developing countries. For example, Mexico, the biggest supplier of irregular immigrants in the world, is at the same time a receiving society for about 1 million irregular immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean. It should be noted that the development of irregular immigration leads to the new categories and groups of migrants who violate the law (migration laws, labor codes, etc.), both in destination and transit countries. Whatever routes and methods migrants use to enter a destination country and whatever methods are used to stop them, it is impossible to effectively oppose the irregular immigration under the existing capitalistic norms when employers are interested in cheap labor of irregular migrants deprived of civil rights, so irregular migrants become “pure taxpayers” beneficial for employers and for the receiving state. Combined with demographic pressure and economic push factors in sending countries, these circumstances make irregular migration in the contemporary world structurally insurmountable. The latter does not mean, however, that the scale of irregular immigration is not to be restrained. In particular, it can be done by more effective management of legal migration flows. The most important issue for receiving countries is to realize that the irregular immigration is not a form of terrorism or criminality, which needs to be fought by all state means. Nor they are to run to another extreme and open the doors wide for immigrants, so that their own citizens will have to defend their rights against undesirable invasion. Forced migration is a variety of spatial movements and permanent or temporary changes in place of residence caused by extreme reasons not depending on people’s will (political and ethnical conflicts, natural disasters, technological and ecological catastrophes, armed conflicts, etc.). Forced migrants include refugees, internally displaced people, asylum-seekers, ecological refugees, stateless people, etc. For most of them, emergency and life-threat push factors are decisive. Increase in the scale and geography of forced migration is due to the current stage of international relations characterized by political tensions, wars, ethnic conflicts, and ecological disasters (after Second World War, there were more than 150 global and regional conflicts in the world). According to the UNHCR data, by the end of 2015 the global figure of forced migrants was 55 million, of which 13.7 million were refugees, 32.3 - internally displaced, 1.8 - asylum-seekers, and 3.5 - stateless [11] (Table 5). Table 5 Estimated forced migration stock at mid-year by major area/region (in millions) Major area or region 1985 1990 1995 2000 2006 2015 World 10.7 14.9 27.25 21.8 32.86 54.96 Europe 0.7 0.1 6.5 5.58 3.43 3.9 Africa 3 4.6 11.8 6.06 9.75 17.76 Asia 5.1 6.8 7.9 8.45 14.91 25.94 Latin America and the Caribbean 0.4 1.2 0.1 0.58 3.54 6.67 North America 1.4 1.4 0.9 1.05 1.14 0.62 Oceania 0.1 0.1 0.05 0.08 0.09 0.07 Source: author’s estimates based on [11] The increasing role of international migration in the demographic development For most of the history, the changes in the population size were primarily determined by natural increase of population. Mortality and fertility rates, the growing gap in demographic potentials between less developed and more developed nations, as well as globalization of the world economy have resulted in the growing role of international migration in the demographic development. Nowadays, international migration is one of the key factors of stabilization of the world population. For the developed states, it is principal (and sometimes the only) determinant of the population growth, while in the developing states it contributes to the decrease in population growth rate and alleviates “population pressure”. Thus, net migration from less developed regions to more developed regions exceeded 100 million in 1950-2010 [15]. The global tendency of decreasing population growth in developing regions is at the initial stage, while in developed countries the rate of natural population growth is often negative. Thus, the migration potential in developing countries remains high while the developed countries depend on immigrants inflow to withstand local population ageing. In 1950-1955 the migration increase determined only 1.7% of population growth in more developed regions, and in 2010-2015 - more than 65% (Table 6). Table 6 Indicators of demographic development of more developed regions, 1950-2015 Years Average annual rate of population change Average annual rate of natural increase Average annual rate of migration increase 1950-1955 11.9 11.8 0.1 1955-1960 11.7 11.7 0.0 1960-1965 10.8 10.3 0.5 1965-1970 8.5 7.8 0.7 1970-1975 7.7 6.5 1.2 1975-1980 6.5 5.2 1.3 1980-1985 5.8 4.7 1.1 1985-1990 5.5 4.2 1.3 1990-1995 4.4 2.3 2.1 1995-2000 3.2 1.0 2.2 2000-2005 3.4 0.7 2.7 2005-2010 4.0 1.3 2.7 2010-2015 2.9 1.0 1.9 Source: author’s estimates based on [15] It is important to highlight that international migration is not only a way to increase the whole population size but it also has a positive impact on its age and gender structure. In the 1990s, the latter argument was used in the “replacement migration” concept which emphasized the potential of international migration from “demographically younger regions” to compensate for negative demographic trends in the “older” receiving states. Whether or not “replacement migration” is able to solve population ageing problem in the developed countries is still a scientific question that requires further discussion. Taking into account the constant negative trends in the demographic structure (mainly the population ageing) of developed countries, the number of immigrants required to replace them seems too large. Russia, to keep up a stable number of labor-age population, is to admit annually about 700- 800 thousand migrants (net migration) and gradually increase this number up to 1.5-1.7 million by 2025 [1]. In the XXI century, depopulation trends and population ageing make international migration a non-alternative factor of the population growth in the majority of the developed countries. Thus, not only the impact of immigration on the population size in receiving countries is to be considered, but also the fundamental shifts in reproductive behavior, gender, age and ethnic structure of the receiving countries under the inflow of immigrants from distant regions. The international migration management The transformations of migration processes at the global scale drew scientists’, officials’, politicians’, international public organizations’ and public attention to the international migration. Also there is an obvious need for improving its management at the national and regional levels, for developing migration policies at the global level in the form of a system of international treaties, agreements and other bilateral and multilateral legal acts that would regulate interstate territorial movements of population, and pursues social, economic, demographic or geopolitical purposes. At the current stage of globalization the dual character of migration policies is clearly manifested at three levels [2]: the global (world) level - as a result of contradictions between various factors of international relations system (developed and developing countries, international organizations and individual states); the regional level - as a result of counteracting trends for liberalization of migration regime inside integration associations and simultaneous toughening of migration policies for the third world countries; the national level - as a result of contradictions between social-demographic and economic interests, on the one hand, and national security, on the other hand. Moreover, in recent years, a policy of migrants integration in the developed countries can be implemented both at regional and national levels. The core of international normative framework for international migration is constituted by agreements, recommendations and others legislative acts adopted at different meetings and conferences under the auspices of international organizations, mainly the United Nations and its agencies (UNFPA, UNCTAD, UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and International Labour Organization (ILO). The Compendium of Recommendations on International Migration and Development published by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the Secretariat in 2006, defines to what extent the adopted documents should provide guidance for governments to promote co-development initiatives in international migration management [10]. The documents of conferences and summits contain various recommendations for improving migration policies, however, there is an obvious duality of approaches at the global level. It is determined mainly by various actors’ contradictory interests within the international relations system. For example, there are contradictions between the main key countries of emigration and states of immigration. As a result, many documents and agreements signed at international conferences and ratified by an insignificant number of countries remain non-consummated or are applied in a limited number of countries. A typical example is the ratification of international conventions on migrant labor force that affect the economic interests of receiving states. For instance, the 1949 Convention No. 97 “On Migrant Workers” of the International Labor Organization has been ratified by only 26% of countries, and the 1975 Convention No. 143 “Concerning Migrations in Abusive Conditions and the Promotion of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers” of the ILO - by 12%. The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families was adopted in 1990, came into force only in 2003, and has been ratified so far by only 24% of countries (Table 7). Table 7 Ratification of international legal documents on international migration Agreement Year of coming into force Participants of agreements (01.01.2017) Number of countries Share of countries The 1949 Convention No. 97 of the ILO on Migrant Workers 1952 49 26 The 1975 Convention No. 143 of the ILO on Migrations in Abusive Conditions and the Promotion of Equality of Opportunity and Treatment of Migrant Workers 1978 23 12 The 1990 International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families 2003 48 25 The 2000 Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking, especially Women and Children 2003 170 88 The 2000 Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air 2004 142 73 The 1951 Convention on the Status of Refugees 1954 145 75 Source: author’s estimates based on [8; 14] At different times in history, different elements of state migration policy (emigration or immigration) dominate and define migration policies of the period. In the UN publications on demographic policies (World Population Polices Database), there is a specific chapter on different national governments’ approaches to the international migration. Currently, only 13% of states (most of which are in Africa) do not regulate immigration, while 45% (mainly countries of Africa, Europe and North America) - do not control emigration. At the same time, all developed countries implement measures of immigration control, while only 20% of them regulate emigration [9]. Thus, under the contemporary conditions in the majority of countries the immigration policy prevails for the governments show great interest in what immigrants are and impose on them various requirements concerning educational level, professional training, qualification, financial position, age, marital status, etc. Special attention is paid to the last characteristics due to the situation at the national labor market, goals of demographic policy, and aims of national security. To conclude one feature of the international migration should be emphasized: it has always been considered a function of the changing political, economic and social conditions. The states strive to solve such problems by developing a well-managed migration policy, and by taking rational decisions to use the potential of international migration in the interests of countries of origin, transit and destination. To overcome the dual character of migration policy and to take advantage of migration as a source of development is possible only with the help of a reasonable and strategic approach to the international migration management.

About the authors

I A Aleshkovski

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Leninskie Gory, 1, Moscow, 119991, Russia


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