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International Relations


  • 19 Mar 2019
  • 8 min read

In the latest terror attack at two mosques in New Zealand, 49 people have lost their lives and scores of people got injured. A majority of the deceased have been identified as migrants and refugees. An Australian national has claimed the responsibility by posting a manifesto stating his racist and anti-immigrant ideologies.

Drishti Input:

Human Migration: It is the movement by people from one place to another with the intention of settling, permanently or temporarily in a new location (within or outside the home country). Such people are called migrants.

Immigration is coming to a foreign country with the intention of permanently living there whereas Emigration is leaving a resident country with the intent to settle elsewhere.

Refugees: These are the people who have been forced to flee their resident country because of war, violence or persecution. Such people are protected by international law, specifically the 1951 Refugee Convention.

1951 Refugee Convention deals with the rights of the displaced as well as the legal obligations of states to protect them. India, despite having a large population of refugees, is not a signatory to this convention.

An asylum seeker is someone who claims to be a refugee but whose claim hasn’t been evaluated yet. This person has applied for the asylum on the grounds that returning to his or her country would lead to persecution on account of race, religion, nationality or political beliefs.

World Migration Report: It is International Organisation for Migration’s (IOM) flagship publication that features the latest trends in international migration, discusses emerging policy issues and provides regional recent developments in Africa, America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania.

International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is a leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. It was established in 1951 and has its head office at Le Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland.

International Migration Day-18th December

World Migration Report 2018 Key Findings

  • There are 244 million international migrants globally, accounting 3.3% of the world’s total population.
  • In the year 2015, Europe and Asia hosted around 75 million migrants each, 62% of the total global international migrants.
  • Europe and Asia was followed by North America with 54 million international migrants in 2015, 22% of the global migrant stock.
  • Africa and Oceania had 9% and 3% of the total migrant population respectively in 2015.
  • Latin America and Caribbean had 4% of total migrants in 2015.
  • U.S.A has been the main country of destination for international migrants since 1970. The number has quadrupled since 1970, from less than 12 million migrants in 1970 to 46.6 million in 2015.
  • Germany is the second most preferred country with over 12 million international migrants residing in the country in 2015.
  • Nearly half of all international migrants worldwide in the year 2015 were born in Asia, primarily originating from India, China and other South Asian Countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  • Mexico was the second largest country of origin followed by number of European countries.

Findings Related to Displacement

  • There are over 68 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, out of which 40.3 million are internally displaced and 25.4 million are refugees.
  • Over 3 million people are seeking asylum around the world.
  • 24 people per minute per day worldwide were forced to flee their home in the year 2015.
  • About 1 out of every 113 people worldwide were either asylum seekers, refugees or internally displaced in 2015.
  • About half of the world’s refugee population was under 18 in the year 2015.
  • The reason for the displacement is mainly civil and transnational conflict which also includes acts of violence, extremism etc.

Recent Cases of Migration

  • Syria is focal point of 'global refugee crises'. Lot of people migrate from the country.
  • People crossing Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy.
  • Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar fleeing to Bangladesh and India.
  • Thousands of Dominicans and Stateless in Caribbean.

Benefits of Immigration

  • Immigrants generally take up that job which people in the host country (the country to which people have fled) will not or cannot do.
  • Migrant workers often work longer hours and for lower salaries which benefits host nations.
  • Immigrants contribute to the diversity of the host country and thus also increase tolerance and understanding in the society.
  • For the host country’s economy, Immigrants offer increased talent pool provided they have been well educated in their original country.


  • It is often seen that immigrants are exploited for their cheap labour.
  • Developing countries may suffer 'Brain Drain' as the limited resources they spend in educating their students would amount to very little if that talent gets enticed to another country.
  • Immigration also attracts criminal elements from drug and people traffickers to other forms of crime and corruption.
  • Immigration sometimes also becomes social or political issue; racism is used to exploit feelings or as an excuse for current woes of the local population.
  • When there is a perception that immigrants and refugees get more benefits than local poor population, tensions and hostilities rise.
  • Concerns about illegal migration spill over to ill feelings towards the majority of immigrants who may be law-abiding and contributing to the economy.

Recent Steps taken by Countries to regulate Irregular Migration

  • Strategies adopted by European Union (EU):
    • Divergent national approaches to accepting Asylum Seekers.
    • Using EU budgets to support refugee integration.
    • Strengthening external borders.
    • Collaborating with third countries to cut off transit routes.
    • Tying Foreign Assistance to stemming migration
  • Hungary has restricted illegal immigration by suspending the acceptance of asylum seekers sent back to it by other EU states.
  • U.S. has also made some changes in its Immigration policy.
  • Italy has called for detention and deportation of migrants, who it blames for the instability and threats in the country.
  • Dutch has adopted a zero tolerance approach towards those immigrants who are unwilling to sign up to the country’s way of life.

Migration will likely remain a long term challenge for the countries’ politics, institutions, governments and values. Even with the drop in numbers and the development of institutional capabilities to manage it, its pros and cons will always remain attached to it.

For further reading click on the link below.

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