Introduction Introduction Chapter 5 Chapter 5
Chapter 1 Chapter 1 Notes for Indicators Notes
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Noties for quotations Notes for quotations
Chapter 1 Chapter 3 Notes for boxes Notes for boxes
Chapter 1 Chapter 4 Indicators Indicators
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Chapter 1 The Good, The Bad, The Promising:
Migration in the 21st Century

A World on the Move

Unequal Opportunities in a Globalizing World

Between a Rock and a Hard Place:Irregular Migration

Forced Migration: Refugees and Asylum-seekers

Harnessing Hope: International Migration, Remittances and Developent

Burden or Boon? Impact on Receiving Countries

Migrant Health

Beyond Difference: Living with Diversity

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Irregular Migration

Increasing labour demand and widening disparities between countries encourage would-be migrants to move to wealthier countries in order to improve their prospects. And even though aspiring migrants are often unable to carry out their proposed move legally, they will do so regardless. Many countries are increasingly reluctant to receive large numbers of permanent migrants(48) but widening economic and social disparities could lead to greater numbers of undocumented migrants willing to flout regulations in exchange for the promise of a better life. Experts and development institutions also increasingly point to the "asymmetry" of the globalization process: the fact that goods, capital, services, information and ideas are allowed to flow increasingly freely across international borders, while people are still confronted with a wide range of official controls.(49)

Migrants with irregular or undocumented status(50) are people who do not have the proper visa to enter, stay or work. Because of their uncertain status, they tend to take low-paying, "off-the-books" cash-only jobs. As a result, undocumented migrants are more likely to be exploited, work long hours, suffer poor health and live in substandard and often illegal housing. If female, they are more likely to be sexually and physically abused. Irregular migration can also undermine the host country's labour protections, pension schemes and legal system by providing would-be employers with a cheap and exploitable pool of workers with no recourse to collective bargaining and other means of redress.(51) Because undocumented migrants are not officially registered, their actual number is unknown in most countries. Global estimates vary widely at between 30 and 40 million.(52)

Undocumented migrants confront huge risks while attempting to reach their destination. Every year, newspapers are filled with tales of those who did not make it—migrants who drowned or died of exposure or were murdered by unscrupulous smugglers. Every year, thousands of migrants from Africa try to scale the fence barrier that separates the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta from the rest of Morocco.(53) As authorities crack down, desperate migrants are increasingly embarking on even more hazardous crossings. The peril is not confined to Africa and Europe. Thousands of people from all over Latin America and the Caribbean lose their lives attempting to reach the United States or Canada.(54)



International migration both facilitates and constrains the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).(1) In his 2005 report, In Larger Freedom, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan cited migration as “one of the major substantive issues of the day(2), while still others rightly argue that "every MDG has some linkage, direct or indirect, with migration."(3) Many people are increasingly looking to migration as a way to provide for their families. Thus, remittances (migrant earnings that are then sent home) can play directly into MDG Goal 1–eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; Goal 2–universal primary education; and Goals 4, 5 and 6 on health. Remittances, especially when women determine how they will be spent, are often invested in meeting daily needs and improving family nutrition, education and health. Contributions, however, are not limited to financial capital only. Diaspora communities can also encourage development through investments, the establishment of trade links and the transfer of skills, knowledge and technology. Female migrants in particular are more likely to impart what they have learned about the value of education and good health-care practices to their families and communities back home. Cross-border migration is directly relevant to MDG health Goals 4, 5 and 6: improved maternal and child health and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. In several countries of origin, the migration of skilled health-care workers has contributed to devastating shortages in already strapped health systems—including those coping with high HIV, maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rates. Schools are also suffering from the depletion of teachers in some countries. But many migrants also benefit from improved access to education, health information, knowledge and services in their new countries—including in the area of sexual and reproductive health. Family planning empowers women to manage their fertility–something that their counterparts in origin countries are often unable to do. Migration can contribute to Goal 3–promote gender equality and empower women–though it can also place migrant women at risk(see Chapter 2). According to the IOM, gender is "possibly the single most important factor shaping the migration experience", with differing sets of obstacles and/or opportunities for male and female migrants.(4) So far as young people are concerned, most migrate because of a lack of opportunities in their home countries. Thus, migration relates to one of the targets under Goal 8: a strengthened global partnership to increase decent work for youth.