According to the World Bank and the UN, the number of international migrants was estimated to be almost 272 million globally in 2019. While most people leave their home countries for work, millions have been driven away due to geopolitical conflict or environmental factors such as natural disasters and climate change; nearly two-thirds of all migrants are labour migrants. The main motivation for migration is the lack of economic opportunities within their country. Average income levels in high-income countries are more than 70 times higher than in low-income countries.
According to Statistical data, approximately 31% of international migrants worldwide resided in Asia, 30% in Europe, 26% in the Americas, 10% in Africa and 3% in Oceania.
According to International Organization for Migration, Europe and Asia each hosted around 87 and 86 million international migrants respectively, comprising 61% of the global international migrants, followed by North America, with almost 59 million international migrants, Africa at 9 per cent, Latin America and the Caribbean at 5 per cent, and Oceania at 3 per cent. In some countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, over 88% of the population are international migrants.
There are two types of immigrants, those who reside in their origin nations and those who migrate to new host nations. Those immigrants who stay in their host nations significantly contribute to the GDP. Despite making up only around 3.4% of the world's population in 2019, an estimated 266 million migrants were responsible for more than 9% of global GDP (Source: Project Syndicate)
Emigration also brings significant economic benefits to the home country. Though immigrants spend a large amount of their wages in host countries, which increases their demand in host countries, they also remit back significant sums of money to their families in their home country. This brings in much-needed foreign exchange to these nations, becoming an important development tool for the upliftment of their populations.
In 2017, immigrants sent an estimated $466 billion to families in developing countries (Source: World Bank). Money remitted from abroad has proven to be more stable than private debt and portfolio capital flows and many times larger than international development assistance.
An estimated 800 million people worldwide are directly supported by remittances from relatives and loved ones abroad (Source: United Nations). Remittances lift families out of poverty, improve health and nutrition, increase educational opportunities for children, improve housing and sanitation, encourage entrepreneurship and reduce inequality.