52 FINANCE & DEVELOPMENT | December 2018
MODERN TRANSPORTATION and digita l technologies
make it easier for people to move across borders.
Around the world, 258 million people, or 3.4 percent
of the global population, live outside their countr y of
birth. e international migr ant population is now
triple its 1970 level. International migration takes
dierent forms: economic migrants volunta rily leave
in search of work, while refugees are forced to ee
due to conict and violence. Migration ca n be an
economic boon, but it can also be a critical polic y
and political cha llenge.
Work is the main motivator. Migrant workers
comprise two-thirds of a ll international migrants,
and most move to high-income countries. For
these individual s and their families, migr ation can
bring considerable gains in income, educat ion, and
health. For their home countries, emigrat ion can
reduce unemployment and foster knowledge trans-
fer. e remittances migrants send home—$613
billion in 2017—provide nancial ows and a
stable source of income. For destination countries,
immigration can increase labor supply, enhance
productivity, and ease pressures on pension system s.
Not all migration occurs in positive circum-
stances. Conict and persecution uprooted 68.5
million people by 2017—including 25.4 million
refugees, 3.1 million asylum seekers, and 40 mil-
lion people displaced within their countries—
a level not seen in decades. More than ha lf the
refugees were children, many unaccompanied or
separated from their parents. A third of all refu-
gees ed to the least developed economies, where
the capacity to accommodate and integrate them
often falls short.
Migration matters to economic prosperity,
human development, and security, and ensur-
ing safer and better-regulated migration has
become a global priority. e United Nations,
for example, is set to adopt two global compac ts
to improve the governance of migration. One
thing is clear : no country can manage mig ration
issues on its own. Cross-border challeng es require
Prepared by JIA FENG, communications oﬃcer, IMF
Migration, with its upsides and downsides, is increasing globally.
ON THE MOVE
International migration on the rise
Dramatic changes, particularly in the Gulf
(proportion of international migrants, 2000–17, percent)
Source: United Nations.
United Arab Emirates
A steady increase worldwide
(number of international migrants, millions)
Source: World Migration Report Update 2018.
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PHOTO: IS TOCK / MATRI YOSHK A