Highlights of the UN’s World Migration Report – Part 2.

Migration Report 2020

The UN’s International Organization recently released its World Migration Report 2020. At a high-level, it shows that migration is largely related to the broader global economic, social, political and technological transformations that are affecting a wide range of high-priority policy issues.

The past few years have seen major migration and displacement events and the scale of international migration increase in line with recent trends.

Complex and emerging migration issues

  • Migrants have made significant sociocultural, civic-political and economic contributions in origin and destination countries and communities, including by being important agents of change in a range of sectors.
  • Immigrants tend to have higher entrepreneurial activity compared to natives. In countries such as the United States, migrants have disproportionately contributed to innovation.
  • Migrants’ inclusion in the receiving society relates to diverse societal/policy areas that are closely interdependent. Inclusion outcomes in one policy area – such as language, education, labour market inclusion, family reunification, political participation and naturalization – will likely impact others.
  • There is a dynamic and complex relationship between migration and health that extends well beyond crisis events. Migration can lead to greater exposure to health risks but it can also be linked to improved health, especially for those seeking safety from harm.
  • While the majority of children who migrate do so through safe migration processes as part of family units, many other child migrants lack effective protection from harm and face human rights violations at all stages of their journeys.
  • The most recent global estimate for the total number of child migrants is approximately 31 million. There are approximately 13 million child refugees, 936,000 asylum-seeking children, and 17 million children who have been forcibly displaced inside their own countries.
  • There is increasing evidence that the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events  are rising, and this is expected to increasingly affect migration and other forms of movement. While human mobility resulting from environmental and climate change is often framed along protection and security lines, understanding mobility as adaptation allows for migrants’ agency to be part of the response equation.
  • Migration status can significantly impact on migrants’ ability to deal with crisis. Flexible immigration and visa policies help make it possible for migrants to keep themselves safe as well as recover from the impact of a crisis. Return is one, but not necessarily the primary, response option.
  • The last two years have seen substantial change in the global governance of migration, principally in the formation of the United Nations Network on Migration and the two global compacts on refugees and migration. Although they are not legally binding, the two global compacts represent a near-universal consensus on the issues requiring sustained international cooperation and commitment.