Suggest some of the reasons for international migration during the last 30 years
1. Suggest some of the reasons for international migration during the last 30 years.
Throughout history, immigrants have left their home countries to start a new life in a foreign land for many reasons, though the levels of international migration are rising dramatically. Obviously, there are a variety of reasons for this migration, though it is usually due to political or economic reasons.
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Political repression is often a strong cause for migration with the Kurds in Iraq providing a perfect example. The Kurds are people of Indo-European origin who live mainly in the mountains and uplands where Turkey, Iraq, and Iran meet, in an area known as “Kurdistan” for hundreds of years. They have their own language, related to Persian but divided into two main dialect areas. Although the Kurdish people are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, they embrace Jews, Christians and other sects. At the end of World War 1, the Ottoman Empire was carved up and the Kurds found themselves segmented between Turkey, Iran and Iraq.
In each of the new post-war countries, the Kurds found they were treated with suspicion, and pressured to conform to the ways of the majority. Their old independent way of life was rapidly reduced. They were expected to learn the main language of the new state in which they found themselves, Turkish, Persian or Arabic, to abandon their Kurdish identity and to accept Turkish, Iranian or Arab nationalism. As a tribal and traditionally minded society the Kurds wanted to be left in peace, but few then were nationalists. Some tribes tried to resist the encroachment of government while their rivals benefited from operating with the government. But an increasing number of Kurds felt the deliberate undermining of their cultural identity and felt they were being forced out.
War is another political reason and there are numerous examples to take.
In the spring of 1999, NATO launched an air war against Yugoslavia to stop Serbs from terrorizing Albanians. The ethnic cleansing of Kosovo expanded and intensified despite military intervention by the international community. The U.S. State Department reported on ten broad categories of human rights violations in Kosovo: forced expulsions, looting, burning, detentions, use of human shields, summary executions, exhumation of mass graves, systematic and organized rape, violations of medical neutrality, and a new type of ethnic cleansing, identity cleansing. With hostile combat in the Balkans, refugees fled the country to Albania, Macedonia and Yugoslav Republic of Montenegro.
Another example includes the war between Israel and Palestine. After the Second World War, Britain had promised the Jews a homeland and allowed the to locate in an area where they had originated. Palestinians had been living in the area of ‘Israel’ for over 2000 years and the conflict between the two religions meant they were forced out. Israel created ‘The Law of Return’ which stated that every Jew had the right to enter that country. In 1970, Israel took another historic step by granting automatic citizenship not only to Jews, but also to their non-Jewish children, grandchildren, and spouses, and to the non-Jewish spouses of their children and grandchildren. This addition not only ensured that families would not be broken apart, but also promised a safe haven in Israel for non-Jews subject to persecution because of their Jewish roots.
The situation regarding landmines in Mozambique also causes substantial migration. Many move west to the neighbouring country Zimbabwe where they can escape the terror of the landmines, which are estimated to kill and injure 25,000 people worldwide each year.
As previously mentioned, the second reason for international migration is due to economic factors. People move to neighbouring countries to find work, this may be a daily, seasonal or permanent event. However, illegal immigrants moving for this reason are far from uncommon. The Mexico/USA border is patrolled constantly and an iron fence separates the two countries in an attempt to stop illegal immigrants. It is estimates that approximately 2 million illegal immigrants live in LA alone and around 1 million people are caught trying to cross the border unlawfully each year. According to a recent study by the U.S. Naturalisation and Immigration service, as least 275,000 illegal immigrants will enter the United States this year.
After the Second World War Germanys economy was particularly unstable and required extra workers to ‘rebuild’ their country. As residents of Turkey required work it seemed appropriate to bring them in as guest workers. However, as the work was completed, the Turks refused to return and many are still living in Turkey today.
Many of Britain’s immigrants are from areas such as India or Pakistan. We initially allowed them in for labour reasons after the Second World War, as they were part of the British Empire. Our restrictions have now been tightened but as ‘Asians’ tend to locate together, certain UK cities are becoming recognised for their Asian population. A typical example includes Bradford where the vast population are Pakistanis.
In some cases however, people are forced out of their homes for other reasons, which are often ignored. In LEDC’s, the construction of damns in upland areas means people living here have to leave. If such a situation occurred in MEDC’s, residents would be built a ‘replacement’ home but the financial circumstances in LEDC’s does not allow them to do this.
Environmental disasters such as sever drought or flooding are said to be the greatest cause for forced migration which results in around 14 million refugees living in the world today. Such disasters lead to famine where 7.8 million Zimbabwe residents are in need of urgent food aid. When such disasters occur, it is easy to see why people want to escape and flee to a country where food supplies are ‘limitless’: MEDC’s.
In the early and late 1980’s, there has been a dramatic growth in the number of refugees due to a variety of reasons: The collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia meant there was a growth in independent countries; increased attraction of welfare in MEDC’s, Super-national organisations such as UNICEF (who deal with children) and UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees); Improved transport links and communications (channel tunnel); and due to the media who create an image of a better place somewhere else.
2. Discuss how the forms and levels of international migration are changing.
International migration, which includes both the voluntary migration for economic or other reasons as well as the involuntary movement of refugees, is on the rise. According to studies by the United Nations, at least 120 million people (excluding refugees) lived or worked outside their own country in 1990, an increase from approximately 75 million in 1965. The annual growth rate of immigration has been steepest in developing countries, and approximately half of all international migration takes place within the developing world.
Considering involuntary movements, the number of refugees worldwide doubled between 1984 and 1991, although it has since fallen from a high of around 18 million in 1993 to 14 million in 1996. Environmental crises such as severe drought or flooding have recently emerged as a major cause of forced migration. On the other hand, voluntary migrants often leave their country for economic reasons and when average wages for manufacturing jobs in the USA are 80 times greater than in China, it is easy to understand why people move.
Within the category of voluntary migrants, there are several ‘types’. Not every migrant is an individual or member of a family settling in a new country to make a better life, with the full permission of the government. Examples include undocumented or illegal immigrants, unskilled contract workers hired for short periods, skilled transients working for multinational companies, and business migrants who are given permission to start up their own business.
With increased migration ‘firms’, particularly in China, there is a growing number of illegal migrants moving, or attempting to move, to MEDC’s.
Since the 1980’s, there has been an increase in women migrating as individuals, not just part of a family. This is largely to the increase in freedom and equality for women and also an increased demand for women workers in MEDC’s in areas such as NHS, domestic service and hotel work.
With cheaper, improved communication and transport links, migrants no longer expect their move to be permanent. They can change their minds more easily. They can travel back and forth, even on a weekly basis. In other words, for a growing number of people, there is the option of living in two places at the same time. They are able to live ‘transnational’ lives.
After the Second World War, many countries including Germany, suffered from a serious economic downfall. Germany required workers to ‘rebuild’ their country and the residents of Turkey needed jobs. At this point many Turks became guest workers and were expected to leave Germany once the work had been done. Many Turks refused to leave and many still live there today.
In addition, Britain had its arms open to the residents of its empire after the Second World War. This increased migration from countries such as India and Pakistan England. With the welfare system, free health care and education, Britain was a great attraction and as more ‘Asians’ moved here, the attraction increased. Asians could move here and locate in inner city housing with ‘their kind’. The doors to this country have now been closed somewhat, and it is much more difficult for people to immigrate.
Together, these factors point to the globalisation of migration. There is more of it, in more places and it is happening faster than ever before.