A Global Approach To Migration

MIGRATION has emerged as one of the defining issues of the 21st century. With hundreds of millions of people now living outside their countries of birth, the hot topic of people mobility has grown in visibility and significance. The development of modern transportation and telecommunications has led to a steady growth of people motivated to move ? and with the ability to do so. Not surprisingly, this growing surge of people across national boundaries has often raised fears and controversy in both sending and receiving countries.

This sensitive issue is fertile ground for those willing to pander to political populism and xenophobia. Public perceptions of migration ? whether based on evidence or emotions ? play a critical role in determining policy choices available to governments in managing what is an unstoppable trend. The world is changing at a rate that some of us might find discomforting, even bewildering.

International migration is playing a decisive role in speeding up that process of change. It is reshaping the economic, social and cultural profile of the familiar world we grew up in. Helping to bring some much-needed balance to the often heated debate ? and exploding a number of myths along the way ? has been a growing body of research looking into the costs and benefits of migration. Most of these studies come to a surprising conclusion ? or at least one that is out of step with much popular sentiment ? the boom in migration has for the most part been good for sending and receiving countries.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans yesterday said an increase in migration to Australia had been driven substantially by demand for skilled workers and the needs of the Australian economy. Public perception is often that migration grows out of and causes further poverty in both sending and receiving countries ? not to mention possible social friction and workplace disruption. But what emerges from empirical research is not merely that migration is inevitable given the understandable desire for people to move to improve their life chances. This iron law has governed the movement of people for as long as we have graced the planet. A growing body of evidence also points to migration being an essential and potentially beneficial component of the economic and social life of every country and region.

For developed countries wanting to maintain healthy growth rates, immigration offers an alternative source of people and labor at a time of declining population and shortages of skilled workers. For developing countries it can help relieve unemployment and population pressures, as well as ready supply of money from remittances sent to those who remain at home. So the question no longer becomes one of whether to have migration but how to manage it effectively in order to ramp up its positive effects and reduce any negative impacts. Given this evidence, it is essential that a comprehensive and co-operative approach be adopted to international migration management. The economic and social interests of Australia and the international community are better served by managing immigration rather than erecting substantial blockades to the movement of people across the globe. Source - The Advertiser.

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