Comment: There are an estimated 214 million immigrants, according to the World Migration Report 2010 (WMR 2010). Now that is a lot of people on the move. One source estimated that in 1993 there were between 80 and 125 million immigrants.* Some 370,000 Finns emigrated between 1860 and 1930 to North America while 535,000 to Sweden in 1945-1999. In 2008 there were 768,000 asylum-seekers globally with about half being in Europe.
What are your thoughts on this?
The World Migration Report 2010 (WMR 2010) will be the fifth in IOM’s series of biennial reports on international migration. Like the World Migration Reports that have preceded it, it is intended to contribute to the mission of the International Organization of Migration (IOM) to promote ‘humane and orderly policies in the movement of persons across borders’. Specifically, its aim is to promote a focus on building capacities to enable states and other stakeholders to respond to and plan for migration effectively and in a sustainable way.
There are far more international migrants in the world today than ever previously recorded, and their number has increased rapidly in the last few decades. There were an estimated 214 million international migrants in the world in 2010, representing an increase of almost 40 million in the first decade of the 21st century, and over double the number of international migrants in 1980. While the global reach of international migration had already began to extend after 1945, it has expanded sharply only since the 1980s to include all regions of the world today.
This globalization of international migration involves a wider diversity of ethnic and cultural groups than ever before; there is a growing proportion of women as primary migrants; more or less permanent or settlement migration has increasingly been replaced by temporary and circular migration; and, although the economic crisis may have temporarily slowed the growth of migration outflows, the underlying causes of this globalization of migration, such as demographic, labour market and environmental factors, remain.
As international migration continues to grow in scale and diversity, it will present new opportunities, but also exacerbate existing challenges and add new ones.
Looking ahead, therefore, it is essential to pose the question: do states have the capacities – the knowledge, abilities, skills, resources, structures, and processes – that they need to achieve their goals effectively and sustainably, and to adapt to change? How can they in partnership with civil society develop these capacities to meet the challenges and benefit from the opportunities which lie ahead?
* Peter Kivisto: Multiculturalism in a Global Society. Blackwell Publishing. Oxford 2002. p. 2.