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People move. People move within countries and from one country to another for many reasons. Some move to escape poverty, war, natural disasters, or persecution. Others move to find work, improve their situations, or give their children better opportunities. Some move to jobs that are waiting for them, while others move first, then look to find work. Migrants—temporary or permanent—do all kinds of work, from menial labour to highly skilled work. It is estimated that nearly 190 million people, about three percent of the world's population, lived outside their country of birth in 2005.
The forces of international migration and globalization are closely interlinked. Around the world, countries have both reacted to or contributed to these both forces by seeking to attract, monitor, or keep out migrants (or certain types of migrants). Economic or workforce needs often influence the policies and actions of different countries. Some countries actively seek migrants to meet their labour shortages; however, not all countries allow for migrants to stay on permanently. Countries face a range of different challenges in dealing with international migration, including addressing issues of social, cultural and economic integration.
Here are some indicative facts on international migration, and of how Canada compares internationally:
The top 3 countries with the largest number of international migrants in 2005 are the United States of America, the Russian Federation and Germany. Canada ranks sixth in the world, after Saudi Arabia in fifth place and before India in sixth place. (see Migration Policy Institute Data Hub link).
The top 3 countries with the highest share (countries with 1 million or more residents) with the highest share of migrants in the total population in 2005 are the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Singapore. Canada ranks 10th, after Australia in 9th place (see Migration Policy Institute Data Hub link).
Approximaely one in five (19.8%) of the Canadian population is foreign-born in Canada, according to the Canada 2006 Census. Among the Western countries that were also major immigrant-receiving countries, only Australia has a higher proportion of the foreign-born in its population (22.2%). The proportion in the U.S.A.is 12.5% (see Statistics Canada link).
In both Australia and Canada, the proportion of the foreign born in the country’s labour force was slightly under 5 % in 2003. Both countries are very similar in relative proportions and actual numbers of the foreign born in the labour force, with Canada slightly ahead of Australia for both. However, the U.S.A. has over six times the actual numbers of foreign-born in its labour force compared to both Canada and Australia. Over 25% of the labour force in the U.S. is foreign-born (see Migration Policy Institute Data Hub link).
The following links provide more information on international migration and labour.
Snapshot: Global MigrationThis site provides an interactive graphic look at the migration of people around the globe, including net flow, share of local populations, and money sent home by migrants.
Border Crossings This series of articles examines global migration and its consequences.
Metropolis Metropolis is an international network for comparative research and public policy development on migration, diversity, and immigrant integration in cities in Canada and around the world. One of its policy priorities is economic and labour market integration.
Global Commission on International Migration (GCIM)The GCIM was launched by the United Nations Secretary-General and a number of governments in 2003, is comprised of 19 Commissioners, is independent and was given the mandate to provide the framework for the formulation of a coherent, comprehensive and global response to the issue of international migration.
The Migration Information Source This site offers tools, data, and facts on the movement of people worldwide. Country resource pages catalogue and contextualize the migration experiences of many countries around the world.
International Labour Organization (ILO)This UN agency brings together governments, employers and workers of member states to promote decent work throughout the world. One of the ILO’s themes of work is Labour Migration. The ILO’s International Migration Branch (MIGRANT) assists countries in policy formulation and in establishing or strengthening legislation, administrative measures, structures and practices for effective management of labour migration. Activities focus on protecting the rights of migrant workers and promoting their integration in countries of destination and countries of origin; forging an international consensus on how to manage migration; and improving the knowledge base on international migration. The ILO has also developed a system of international labour standards aimed at promoting opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity.
Migration & Labour This site provides information on labour migration as a trans-national process in which neither sending nor receiving countries are in a position to resolve all the issues alone; and inter-State cooperation in managing labour migration is essential, involving three levels: bilateral, regional, and multilateral.
OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs This OECD department analyzes recent development in migration movements and policies, focusing on the economic and social aspects of migration (see International Migration Outlook), on the management of labour migration to support economic growth, and on the labour market integration of immigrants, in OECD countries. Other areas of work include analysis of specific topical issues (health workforce and migration project, and in exploring the links between migration, trade and the economic development of origin countries. Click here for a review of the labour market integration of immigrants and their children in four OECD countries: Australia, Denmark, Germany and Sweden, the first in a series of reports which will eventually cover some ten OECD countries.
World wide webs: Diasporas and the international systemThis site provides a link to a paper on diasporas (communities which live outside but retain their connections with their homelands) and their implications for global economics, identity, politics and security. The paper compares diasporas to “world wide webs” emanating from states, with dense, interlocking, often electronic strands spanning the globe and binding different individuals, institutions and countries together.
Labor markets and offshoring This link to research conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute http://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/perspective/ that focuses on the supply of and demand for offshore talent at an occupational, sectoral, and global level. The research also looks at the implications for wages, employment, and company decisions for selecting locations and the impact of this emerging global labor market on specific countries.
Labour Market Trends and Globalization's Impact on Them This web site provides information on employment, forms of work, compensation costs and earnings, and migration.
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