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International Migration Trends Essay

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Updated: Jul 20th, 2022


Human migration refers to the “physical movement of people from one place in the world to another for the purpose of taking permanent or semi-permanent residence, usually across a political boundary” (Banik & Bhaumik, 2006, pp. 781-788). Migration to other countries is common among professionals, students, manual laborers and their immediate family members. Most immigrants from developing countries migrate to developed countries such as the U.S, U.K, Japan, and France among others. People often migrate due to push, as well as, pull factors. The push factors make people leave a place, and they include challenges such as unemployment, war and famine (Nguyen & Mont, 2012, pp. 431-450). The pull factors, on the other hand, attract people to a given area, and they include freedom, job opportunities, and adequate food supply among others. This paper argues for the premise that migration hurts developing countries by analyzing the positive and negative effects of migration in Philippines, Nigeria and Mexico.

International migration Trend

International migration is expected to increase in the twenty first century due to the rise in globalization. International migrants include seasonal workers, skilled workers, as well as, short contract workers. Other migrants include students, refugees, individuals seeking asylum, illegal migrants, as well as, victims of human trafficking. The search for higher wages and better business opportunities is the main cause of migration. Other causes of migration include famine, natural calamities, as well as, violent conflicts (International Labor Organization, 2012). Migrants from developing countries often migrate to developed countries in order to find better job opportunities. Migrants from developed countries often migrate to other developed countries. They also migrate to developing countries in order to find better opportunities, especially, in business. In the contemporary world, migration tends to be temporary rather than permanent. In 2010, there were, approximately, 214 million migrants spread across the world (International Labor Organization, 2012). Nearly, fifty percent of international migrants are women. Migrant workers account for 90% of the total number of people who migrate (International Labor Organization, 2012).

Migration in Philippines

Philippine is one of the major sending countries in Asia. As of 2006, approximately, 8.23 million Philippines had migrated to other countries in the world (Orbeta & Ralph, 2011, pp. 78-82). Poor economic growth in Philippine has led to high levels of unemployment and underemployment. Consequently, Filipinos have been relocating to other countries to seek well paying jobs.

Benefits of Migration in Philippines

First, Philippine has greatly benefitted from the remittances from overseas. Remittances refers to the funds that immigrants send to their countries to support their dependants. In the last decade, Filipino migrants contributed $ 87 billion to their economy through remittances (Majableh, Athamneh, & Almahroaq, 2010, pp. 53-67). These remittances have been used to reduce poverty in Philippine. The remittances have significantly improved the living conditions of the households that receive them.

Second, the communitarian culture of the Filipinos that live abroad has benefited Philippine. Filipino migrants have formed more than 4,000 associations in various countries across the globe (Marjit, Kar, & Hazari, 2011, pp. 412-418). These associations include professional groups, alumni associations and investment groups. Most of these associations support development initiatives such as construction of schools, churches, and health facilities in Philippine. These associations are seen as diaspora philanthropy organizations in which Filipino migrants organize themselves and help their countrymen (Marjit, Kar, & Hazari, 2011, pp. 412-418). In 1989, the Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO) formed the Link for Philippine Development Program (LPDP). LPDP plays an integral role in strengthening the partnership between Filipinos who reside abroad and those that stays in Philippine. LDPD is responsible for channeling donations made by Filipino migrants to development and social projects.

Finally, Philippine has benefited from technology, as well as, capital transfer through its citizens who return to the country from overseas (Enderwick, Tung, & Chung, 2011, pp. 6-22). Filipino migrants working overseas gain important skills, knowledge and experience which they use to develop their country when they return home. There are migrants who have used their savings to establish small and medium sized enterprises in Philippine. This has helped to reduce the problem of unemployment. It has also helped in increasing the gross domestic product of the country.

The Negative Effects of Migration in Philippines

Workplace abuse in receiving countries is one of the major problems facing Filipino migrants and their government. These abuses include contract substitution, exploitation, as well as, unacceptable working conditions. In the last three decades, the government of Philippine has been working with local recruitment agencies, as well as, the foreign principals to provide legal assistances to Filipino migrants who are abused in foreign countries (Barbare & Dabalen, 2010, pp. 59-76). However, these efforts have born little results due to poor coordination and differences in the legal systems in Philippine and other foreign countries. Workplace abuse affects the productivity of the Filipino migrants. Consequently, their earnings are negatively affected, and this leads to low quality of life. In some cases, workplace abuse leads to health and psychological conditions such as stress, depression among others.

Majority of female Filipino migrants are often employed as domestic workers in foreign countries. Additionally, some female Filipino migrants work as entertainers in countries such as Japan and the United States of America. Jobs of this nature expose female Filipino migrants to the threat of being abused. The increase in cases of abuse, especially, in Arab countries has forced the government of Philippine to prohibit deployment of domestic workers to countries such as Jordan (Barbare & Dabalen, 2010).

The increase in women migration has negatively affected the family life, as well as, the children left behind. Migration has resulted into escalation of marital problems such as infidelity and separations. Migration has also led to single parenthood, and this has promoted juvenile delinquency, as well as, formation of incomplete identity among children. Emerging studies reveal that the increase in remittances to Philippine is promoting the culture of dependency. Most households that receive remittances hardly engage in productive economic activities (Scheja, 2005, pp. 67-80). Dependency promotes laziness and low productivity in the country. Additionally, it discourages sustainable development. This is because the remittances, in most cases, are a temporary source of income. Thus, the households or individuals who fail to invest them often remain poor.

Migration in Mexico

Mexico is the leading sending country among the OECD member countries. It is estimated that 10 million Mexicans live in other OECD countries. Majority of Mexican migrants live in the United States of America (Hanson, 2006, pp. 869-924). Most migrants from Mexico have low education and often live illegally in foreign countries. Search for well paying job opportunities is the main cause of migration from Mexico.

The Benefits of Migration in Mexico

In the last fifteen years, immigrants in the U.S and other countries have become a vital source of fund transfers to Mexico. The level of remittances to Mexico has increased from $ 2.4 billion in 1990 to $ 15 billion in 2004 (Hanson, 2006, pp. 869-924). Approximately, 8 million people benefit directly from remittances in Mexico. In 2004, remittances accounted from nearly 25% of Mexico’s GDP (Scheja, 2005, pp. 67-80). Approximately 95% of the remittances are used by households for consumption. The remaining 5% is often used to fund private investments such as small businesses. The remittances have reduced the poverty levels in Mexico. A large percentage of Mexicans have been able to access education and health care services using the remittances. Mexico also benefits from technological transfers through its returning migrants. Migration has also improved Mexico’s international trade, particularly, with OECD countries (Javier & Baearreza, 2003, pp. 71-75).

Negative Effects of Migration in Mexico

Brain Drain

Brain drain refers to the “mass emigration of technically skilled people from one country to another country” (Agrawal & McHale, 2007, pp. 45-52). Brain drain is seen as a subsidy to the receiving countries. This is because the immigrants obtain their education and training with the aid of the resources from Mexico. In this context, brain drain can be seen as a way of channeling away scarce resources from Mexico. Skilled labor is a key requirement for foreign direct investments (FDI), as well as, research and development (R&D) initiatives. Most multinational corporations are less likely to invest in a country with a short supply of skilled labor. This is because the investors will be forced to incur high costs of training their employees. Similarly, R&D agencies will only set up their research centers in countries with a high supply of skilled labor (Agrawal & McHale, 2007). Consequently, brain drain denies Mexico the opportunity to benefit from foreign direct investments and R&D.

Lost Productivity

Immigrants who return to their countries are expected to boost the economic growth of their countries through high productivity and innovation. However, this expectation has hardly been realized in Mexico. This is because only a small percentage of Mexican immigrants return to their countries (Heuer, 2011, pp. 711-716). In the U.S, most Mexican immigrants have become permanent residents. Others overstay in U.S and become illegal immigrants. Immigrants who obtain permanent citizenship in the receiving countries represent a permanent loss in productivity and human capital in Mexico.

Migration in Nigeria

Nigeria is one of the leading emigration countries in Africa. Like most of the developing countries in Africa, Nigeria is characterized with high unemployment rate, high poverty levels and poor living conditions. These factors contribute to the high migration rate from Nigeria. Most Nigerians migrate to the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and other European countries.

Benefits of Migration in Nigeria

Reduction in Unemployment Rate

Nigeria has responded to the problem of rising levels of unemployment by allowing its citizens to seek employment opportunities in developed countries. As more citizens migrate to other countries, the supply of labor in the country tends to reduce. The reduction in the supply of labor results into an increase in the skill price, especially, if the migrating citizens are highly skilled (Ugomma, 2009, pp. 28-38). The rise in skill prices means that workers who are left in the country will earn high wages which translates into better standards of living. Additionally, the migration of skilled citizens to other countries results into a high return on augmenting skills. This stimulates a rise in skill levels in the country. Thus, the government and the private sector have had to invest more on upgrading the skills of the citizens. Hence, the level of education and quality of life has significantly improved in Nigeria in the last decade.

Returning Immigrants

Nigeria has been experiencing slow economic growth due to lack of skilled labor. The inadequacy of skilled labor in Nigeria is attributed to low investments in education, ineffective learning programs and mismatch of training programs and the labor market needs. It is apparent that meaningful innovation and technological advancement can not be achieved without a skilled workforce. Having acknowledged this fact, Nigeria has embarked on sending its young citizens to developed countries to acquire high quality education. Provision of scholarships by the government and private agencies for higher education is now a common practice in Nigeria. Additionally, most universities in the country have exchange programs which enable their students to learn in developed countries for a limited period of time. Exposure to the learning systems in developed countries enables immigrants to acquire skills and knowledge that improves their productivity (Dorantes & Mazzolari, 2009, pp. 51-61). Similarly, citizens who get jobs in developed countries normally acquire better skills and experience. Thus, when they return to their country, they promote economic growth through high productivity. They also enhance technological transfer by using their skills to promote innovation.


Remittances from immigrants are different from foreign aid since they are sent directly to households instead of government agencies. Consequently, they are not associated with the deadweight loss that is attributed to corruption. Remittances from immigrants stimulate economic growth in Nigeria in the following ways. First, they increase consumption and aggregate demand in the country. Producers respond to the high demand by increasing their productive capacities (Scheja, 2005, pp. 67-80). This translates into high gross domestic product and employment levels. Secondly, the remittances are used by households for investment purposes. In Nigeria, financial repressions limit the amount of funds that are available for private investments. Thus, remittances from immigrants provide an alternative source of financing private investments.

Negative Effects of Migration in Nigeria

Brain Drain

Brain drain is associated with the following negative effects. First, skilled migrants make significant contributions to gross domestic product since their productivity is very high. Thus, their departure represents a loss in productivity in the country (Bang & Mitra, 2003, pp. 89-92). Second, skilled labor often augments unskilled labor in the production process. Nigeria is characterized with abundant unskilled labor and a shortage of skilled labor. Thus, a mass exodus of skilled labor from the country has a devastating effect on the productivity of unskilled labor. As the productivity of the unskilled labor reduces, their wages also reduce, and this may worsen the problem of inequality. Third, in Nigeria, economic growth is mainly driven by human capital due to the abundance of cheap labor. Thus, brain drain slows current economic performance, and future growth prospects.


The remittances made by immigrants often lead to inequality and might not necessarily lead to meaningful development in the country. Research reveals that the remittances do not reach the poorest of the poor. A large percentage of the remittances favor the elite or the high income households rather than the low income households. This is because, majority of immigrants come from median income and upper income households. The members of the low income households usually lack the education that is needed to get a job in a developed country (Ugomma, 2009, pp. 28-38). Additionally, most of them can not afford the visa fees and the air ticket to a foreign country. Thus, a large percentage of the remittances are received by the high income earners. This worsens the problem of inequality in income distribution. The remittances can only spur growth if there are untapped profitable opportunities, as well as, an environment in which returns to private investments are protected. These conditions lack in Nigeria due to inefficient markets, political instability, ineffective legal systems and corruption. Thus, the remittances have contributed little to economic growth and development.

Analysis/ discussion

This paper has illustrated that migration from a country has both positive and negative effects. The findings from Nigeria, Mexico and Philippine indicate that the effects of migration varies from country to country. Remittances from the receiving countries are the main benefit of migration (Nguyen & Mont, 2012, pp. 431-450). In all the three countries, remittances from the migrants have substantially increased in the last three decades. These transfers are sent directly to the households in the sending countries for the purposes of consumption and private investments. In this context, remittances help in economic development and reduction of poverty in the sending countries.

In Nigeria and Philippine, migration has helped to reduce the unemployment rate by enabling the citizens to find well paying jobs in other countries. The main negative effect of migration is brain drain. Unlike Mexico and Nigeria, Philippine has not been adversely affected by brain drain due to its large supply of skilled labor. Brain drain has negatively affected economic growth and development in Nigeria and Mexico by reducing the supply of skilled labor. In Philippine, migration has affected the family life of the citizens. In particular, it has increased marital problems such as infidelity and separations. The increase in remittances has also promoted the culture dependency in the country.


Human migration occurs when a person moves from one country or residential area and becomes a permanent or temporary resident of another country. Migration benefits developing countries through remittances from immigrants, acquisition of skills and knowledge by immigrants and reducing the level of unemployment in the sending country (Scheja, 2005, pp. 67-80). These benefits promote economic growth and development in developing countries. However, migration also contributes to brain drain and inequality in the developing countries. Additionally, only a few immigrants return to their countries to promote economic growth and skill development. Even though the impact of migration varies from country to country, there is clear evidence that its negative effects outweigh the positive ones in most developing countries. This leads to the conclusion that migration hurts developing countries rather than alleviating their problems.


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