The Ins and Outs of Migration
People have been migrating ever since they evolved, most probably according to modern theory, somewhere in southern Africa. Today, migration continues practically everywhere that people live for a number of different reasons. Migration can cause stress and even violence when it is unplanned. It can also satisfy a region or nation’s need for workers, whether they are skilled or not. We will explore some of the features of migration below, but it is a huge subject that could fill an encyclopaedia with all the different facets.
International and national migration
The difference between these two types of migration is mainly that international migration occurs across national borders, while national migration occurs within a single country. Whatever the reasons for migration, it should be obvious that international migration can and sometimes does cause more problems than national migration. This is because those who are migrating, especially those who are migrating because of the nasty conditions where they have been living, are less likely to speak the language of the country to which they move to. There may also be cultural differences between the migrants and the residents of the country to which the migrants move to.
An Australian example
To take an example of the differences between international and national migration, consider Australia. Australia has a policy of welcoming migrants. Most of these are people who already speak English, the only real language used across the country. They are also betted for character suitability and skills that are needed in the country. These migrants tend to fit in quite quickly and are valued as new Australians.
There is also a fairly controversial refugee policy that allows a limited number of people to migrate to Australia that applies because of the danger they may face in their own country. They may be heavily discriminated because of their ethnic or religious identity, or come from war-torn regions of the world. Those who arrive legally may or may not be able to speak English and may or may not have skills that are in demand in Australia. Generally, it is more difficult for these people to fit into Australian society, or at least it takes longer for them to feel at home in their new country. As in many other countries, immigrants who arrive as refugees may cause some amount of social unrest, although this is not as obvious Australia as it is in Europe or Asia, for instance.
Emigrants and immigrants
Migrants are both emigrants and immigrants. They emigrate from the place they were living and immigrate to somewhere else. These terms apply to both internal and international migrants.
Reasons for migration
People migrate for many different reasons, some of which have been referred to above. A list of possible reasons for migration is given below:
- Better work and income possibilities – these are referred to as economic migrants;
- Fleeing persecution and war – e.g. Syrian refugees in Turkey and Europe;
- Natural disaster causing a necessity to move somewhere else e.g. after a tsunami, flood or earthquake has destroyed homes;
- Expulsion from the place they were living before by a government – e.g. the Rohingya people who have been expelled or fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar /Burma.
- Improved weather conditions e.g. British retirees in the South of Spain.