Impact of emigration on the emigrant and on the host country


Impact of emigration on the emigrant and on the host country

Emigration is a complex global phenomenon and a fact of life in the 21st century. It is acquiring monstrous proportions with each passing day as people emigrate for various reasons ranging from economic scarcity, political strife, natural disasters, lack of educational and growth opportunities, and a slowing job market in their countries of origin and the basic human desire to bring about a qualitative transformation in conditions of life. The civil war in Syria and the general political turmoil in the Middle East are only exacerbating the situation.

Emigration is largely a one-way movement from the developing and under-developed countries to the developed economies. It has traditionally been a gateway to a better standard of living, especially in light of the huge disparity of incomes between the developed and developing world.

Countries such as the USA, Argentina and Brazil have a large chunk of immigrant populations for historical reasons. There has been a recent spike in the wave of emigrants heading westwards and northwards in wake of the Syrian crisis, with many European countries, including Britain, Switzerland, Denmark, Italy and Sweden having to bear the brunt.

Every 1st world country, whether it is the USA or its European counterparts, is intent on either deporting migrants, making the asylum laws more difficult, or shutting down the borders a la Mexican border proposed by the Trump regime in the United States. There have been horror stories of people dying in the desert or at sea and evoking absolutely no concern on the part of the international community. One shudders to recollect the sight of the lifeless body of a young boy washed up on the beach as the Syrian family was attempting to escape the horrors of war back home and reach Canadian shores.

Emigration is a double-edged sword as it impacts both the emigrant and the host country. Emigrants largely belong to the lower strata of society and this causes a strain on the economies of the receiving countries. Due to the inflow of immigrants, the host countries are facing myriad problems ranging from a surge in their population to pressure on their social security and employment systems. Unemployment could rise as the incomers would compete with the domestic population for jobs. There could be an increase in organized crime and people trafficking. Increasing radicalization of some members of the immigrant population is also posing a threat to national security of the host countries. The cultural differences also lead to an undeniable rift in the social fabric. No matter, the European street has been gripped in recent times by a climate of strong opposition bordering on open hostility towards the emigrants and this has in fact has become a central issue in their domestic elections.

The impact of emigration on the emigrants is far bleaker. The emigrants have to often leave their kith and kin, and broken families in their wake, in the hope of a better times in an uncertain future. In the country of their adoption, they are subjected to racial slurs on the social front and exploitation by opportunistic employers. The challenges of adjusting to an alien culture and lifestyle can even be daunting for the most courageous and well equipped. The fact that many of the emigrants do not have the privilege of education can only make the socio-cultural acclimatization and access to job opportunities so much the more difficult. Very often, they are unable to integrate themselves in their new societies and are thus relegated to the margins of society.

The international community is attempting to tackle the migration conundrum. The 2006 High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development and the subsequent creation of the Global Forum on Migration and Development have been steps in the right direction. The Second General Assembly High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in 2013, the preparations for the post-2015 United Nations Development Agenda as well as the 2014 special session of the General Assembly on the implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development beyond 2014 also constitute important milestones in addressing the migration challenges. The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, which came into force in July 2003 is aimed at protecting the migrant workers and their families from exploitation. The journey has only begun and a lot still needs to be done to counter the impact of emigration both on the emigrant and on the host country.

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Author Since: April 30, 2015

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