Immigration has always been a bit of a hot-button political topic, and given the current position of world politics, this is true now more than ever. The fact is there are a huge number of reasons that people migrate. With more and more of the world entering the digital age, moving internationally is becoming increasingly easier. This is making the option more available to many who feel a life abroad would be more suitable for them and their families.

When people think about immigration, they often think about migrant workers coming from impoverished nations in search of a better life for themselves. This can often be the case, as moving and securing a high paying job internationally is a method that many migrants use to help provide for their families and themselves while working abroad. However, there are many other reasons that someone may decide to move abroad.

People have been known to migrate due to political conflict or persecution in their home country, in search of a wider range of job opportunities, because of environmental displacement after natural disaster, in search of better healthcare or medical opportunities, to reunite family, because of a recent marriage, or due to education opportunities. Additionally, with how easy it’s becoming to relocate internationally, many people migrate solely for the experience of living in another country to experience the culture and the world from a new perspective.

Future Trends in Immigration

As the world becomes an increasingly digitally-connected place, the number of the world population who chooses to immigrate, whatever their reasons may be, is expected to continue rising. Furthermore, in this newly globalized world, the search for talent in leading industries (tech, finance, etc.) will expand to encompass a worldwide view. Companies will increase their international talent searches and the expectation will be that hiring migrant employees will be made easy, or at least simpler than it has been in the past.

Additionally, more women than men will look to migrate soon. 2016 was the first year that women made up half of the total migrant population, and those numbers are expected to continue growing as women continue to look beyond their borders for job opportunities outside of the domestic realm.

However, as immigration numbers continue to skyrocket, government policies and the ability for countries who receive many the world’s immigrants (primarily Europe and the U.S.) to assist in integrating their populations will be messy. Many countries weren’t prepared for the mass immigration from Syria recently, and this lack of preparation is going to continue to show up in the policies that governments enact, as well as their ability to respond to the global immigration demand.

Political Impact on Immigration

President Donald Trump took office in January of 2017, and has made it clear that he is looking to tighten immigration restrictions for those looking to enter the United States. The President has also taken protectionist steps to increase import tariffs in an attempt to support domestic industries. Many world political leaders are speaking out against protectionism. China, in particular, has made a notable effort in hosting their One Belt, One Road forum and inviting world leaders to join them in an effort to halt protectionism.

Their reasoning is that protectionist acts, such as the increased tariffs and immigration halts that President Trump has been pushing forward, hurts the global economy. The effort to push back against global protectionism recently inspired political leaders of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) group to reaffirm their anti-protectionism stance and their commitment to keeping global trade markets open.

Immigration and the Global Economy

While political trade agreements do play a large part of the global economy as it relates to immigration, so does the remittance industry. The world remittance industry gets overlooked as a major piece of the global economy all too often, but this can no longer be the case. As immigration numbers grow and migrant workers continue to seek jobs abroad, more and more money is being sent home to support family members and loved ones.

The world remittance industry added up to approximately $413 billion in 2013, and has been rapidly increasing in the years since then. International money sending is the backbone of many national economies (and personal finance startups like Transferwise), and if the global economy continues to leave it out of immigration considerations, these economies risk collapsing.

Increased tariffs, or tightening of the regulations surrounding international money transfers won’t only have a dramatic negative impact on families receiving these funds from relatives working and living abroad, it will continue to stifle the growth of this thriving industry. This economic perspective is just another piece of the complicated immigration puzzle. Immigration cannot be simplified, and with the increasing number of migrants looking to relocate, it’s important that citizens of the world understand all the impacts immigration has on the world – political, economic, and otherwise.

 

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