International migration involves the movement of people from one country to another. This form of migration has increased so fast that today about one in every 35 people is a migrant (United Nations, 2002). Research results obtained in 2000 have also shown that 185 million people of the world’s population live outside their birth countries (Crossette, 2002). Migration flows have also become so diverse and complicated today that all the 191 sovereign states are now either points of transit, destination or origin and often all the three at the same time.
Additionally, migration flows also change rapidly depending on the social, economic and political factors (IOM, 2003). There are several reasons why people migrate internationally. Some of these are: search for better economic conditions, to seek security, to escape bad political climate, search for better education etc. migration can either be voluntary or forced (Castle & Miller, 2003). The rise in globalization has also resulted to mass movements of people across international boundaries.
However with the increased levels of conflicts in many developing countries most people have been forced to migrate (both legally and illegally) in search for safety in the developed world. Due to this uncontrolled movement of people, political, social and economic tensions have been created in the host developed nations. Since there is no central international instrument governing the international movement of people (Aleinikoff and Chetail, 2003), with the realization of the importance of migration and its implications, counties have now entered into both multilateral and bilateral deals in order to be in a position to control it.
This agreements and legal norms made vary depending on the state-to-state relations, practices and negotiations. Its however, it’s saddening that many countries have shown little interest in the adoption of new international migration instruments. There has been the introduction of Regional Consultative Processes on migration (RCPs) that whish aims at bringing together different countries for with the aim of addressing emigrational issues. The RCPs aimed at reaching this goal by establishing an informal and non-binding dialogue together with information exchange between among the countries.
Other issues in which the RCPs try to tackle are: labor migration, integration of migrants, protection of migrants’ rights, migration rights, human trafficking and smuggling, trade and migration, health and migration, gender equality in the context of migration and vocational training. The RCPs have government participation by offering the governments’ full memberships as this helps the organization in terms of policy execution and conflict resolution. Few NGOs have their membership in RCPs. 1. What are the differences, what are the similarities of these stages?
We are able to see the differences in certain groups of immigrants. For instance, when comparing ethnic minorities and ethnic communities we get to find that the ethnic minorities are marginalized and remain vulnerable to poverty, social isolation, racism and other socioeconomic problems. On the other hand, ethnic communities like the Italian immigrants in the U. S. get to retain their cultural identity while at the same time enjoy full participation in their host country including citizenship, political representation and social mobility.
Therefore, ethnic communities are considered as ‘guests’ while the ethnic minorities are considered ‘aliens’. There has also been a great difference in migration in the years before 1945 and those after 1945. Most of the migration before the world war was forced; most people were being moved to Europe either as laborers or soldiers. However with the end of the war people are now voluntarily moving to Europe in search of greener pastures.
While some countries try to discourage migration with the fear of brain drain and capital flight, other countries like Australia have been employing mechanisms like are trying to promote it by: offering temporary residence concessions for regional Australia, including a greater role for regional certifying bodies in supporting sponsorships in these areas, offering provisional visa and then a granting of permanent residence once a business is fully established, provisional of incentives for international students like vocational jobs so that they opt to settle in the end after completing their studies. (Geddes, 2003) 2.
What legalization programs have been in place for migrants? Various legal programs have been put in place to cater for immigrants. However these programs vary with the host country in which the immigrant stays. For instance, in the United States a multi-lingual access to social services was made a priority by President Bill Clinton in year 2000 after he signed the executive order 13166 which favors people with limited English proficiency (Vali, 2002). Trade unions (in Europe and the US) have also started registering non-documented immigrant workers and fighting for them to obtain fair treatment from their employers.
However not all policies set up by the host nations favor the immigrants some of them are usually put to oppress them. For example the introduction of market segmentation has made it difficult for the upward mobility of immigrants workers who in previous times could advance into positions of greater responsibility and better pay (Castles & Miller, 2003). This is because immigrants on joining their host countries are made to work in areas like fast food joints and agricultural farms where skill improvement is very low thus leaving them stuck. 3.
How have migrants integrated into their new countries? In the previous times, immigrants were being marginalized in their host countries; this has now begun to change with many countries opting to assist them. In UK for instance, the legal immigrants have been served with about every thing ranging from papers, national insurance numbers, pension schemes, health insurance, housing and are even introduced into social networks of like-minded colleagues. Employers of these immigrants have also engaged in promoting their integration by taking the role of sponsors (Jordan & Frank, 2002).
In recent years, the trade unions in countries like the US, the UK and Germany now accept undocumented immigrant workers whereby the unions force employers to offer the same privileges that they offer the legal workers. This has led to the immigrant workers being successively integrated into the formal labor market (Haus, 2002). 4. How have the migration industry and human smuggling and trafficking developed? The migration and human trafficking industry has been on the rise drastically and results show that smugglers make about 31 billion dollars annually out of this illegal business.
Other than the good income that smugglers make from this business there are other factors that contribute to its growth. To begin with, the opening up of porous borders, Asian market, end of the Soviet union which contributed to globalization also enhanced illegal voluntary migration of people in search for jobs while others(especially children and women) were forced and smuggled to offer child labor and provide sexual services (Pasuk, 1997). Other factors that have fueled trafficking include:
- Lack of employment opportunities
- Organized crime
- Regional imbalances
- Economic disparities
- Social discrimination
- Corruption in government
- Political instability
- Armed conflict
- Insufficient penalties against traffickers
- Minimal law enforcement on global sex tourism industry
- Poor legal systems that prosecute victims for prosecution instead of the traffickers
- Poor international border defense
Migration cannot be effectively managed with the unilateral and bilateral actions; this has been proved through the introduction of RCPs by the countries, rather, efficient running of management requires cooperative multilateral approaches.
However, even the RCPs have also many limitations that make them not perform to their required levels. Mainly, because they have been around for a very short period of time making it difficult to assess their improvement areas and weaknesses. Secondly, future assessment of these RCPs has been made difficult since they are informal, non-binding and flexible in nature. Lack of funding has also crippled the performance of the RCPs as they are unable to conduct adequate research to provide concrete solutions to migration problems.
RCPs can also easily disappear if the members decide to withdraw since member participation is voluntary. The world is facing increased international migration, and with this more implications are expected. Therefore it is very important that the governments of all the world countries come together and try to come up with more policies and solutions which will encourage migration and also ensure that both the interests of the migrants and those of the host countries are preserved.
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