Why do people migrate?

Migration is the movement of people from one place to another. Migration is not a new thing in the history of human existence. There have been several hugh movements which were caused by specific events during those times. During the industrial revolution period for example over 5 million people left Europe in the direction of the USA, Canada, Argentinia, South Africa and Australia in order to escape the poverty and periodic crop failure in Europe. A recent example is the migration of people from Asia and Africa to Europe to escape war, hunger and famine.

„There are 232 million people living outside their country of birth, including myself.“ – Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

There are different factors responsible for migration, for example social, political, economical and religious ones. There are Pull- and Push-Factors.

Pull factors are those factors that attract migrants to leave their country to migrate to the destination contries. Such factors could be – among other things:

– better livingconditions,
– availability of jobs,
– better education,
– peace and stability

Push factors on the other hand are those factors that compel people or groups of people to leave their home for other countries. These factors can fall under two categories; forced or voluntary.

When a group of people or inividuals migrate because of war, famine, to escape persecution, generalized violence or human rights violations, then they are forced to migrate. Voluntary migration differs from forced migration. In this case people migrate to new places on their own choice.

Migration as we know has effects on both destination countries as well as home countries. Migrants often do unskilled jobs for less wages unless being highly skilled and talented. They contribute to the generel development of that country without being valued for that in many cases.

Cultural diversity also might help to reduce rasism and discrimination. It might help people (the locals and the migrants) to better understand other people cultures and to better appreciate humanity and human rights.

In reality there still tends to be a high level of discrimination towards immigrants who cannot speak the local language very well and behave differently from the locals.
They often find themselves not accepted by the communities in which they find themselves in. Social amenities such as education, health and housing suffer from exessive use and this sometimes causes the prices of such amenities to go up causing hardship.

Which effects does migration have on home countries? If they return migrants often bring back home certain knowledge and skills which they have learnt or acquired during their travel. These skills and knowledge promote development.
On the other hand the home countries suffer the loss of skilled persons like nurses, engineers, doctors to other countries and this affects the economy of these countries.
Children suffer the most when parents travel as they loose out on the important psychological development that they need.

Abdelhamid El Jamri, Chairperson of the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) explained: “We need to examine issues faced by migrants in order to help in countries of countries.“
(www.un.org > global importance of migration for developement)

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