Migration Current Affairs
United Nations for first time has finalized Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration to better manage international migration, address its challenges, strengthen migrant rights and contribute to sustainable development. This is for first time UN Member countries came together to negotiate agreement covering all dimensions of international migration.
The compact is the first intergovernmental agreement to cover wide-ranging dimensions of international migration in holistic and comprehensive manner, agreed upon by all the UN member states minus the United States. It is not legally binding. It sets out 23 objectives to deal issues ranging from factors that compel people to move, legal channels for migration, combating trafficking and smuggling, harnessing the economic benefits of migration and return of the migrants.
Currently, over 250 million migrants worldwide account for 3% of the world’s entire population, but contribute 10% of the global gross domestic production (GDP). Migrants remittance is huge contributor to their home countries’ development. The process of developing compact was started in early 2017 as implementation of decision by UN member states as adopted New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants in September 2016. UN member states’ another decision pledged in the declaration is to develop a Global Compact on Refugees.
According to recently released Migration and Development Brief by World Bank, India has retained top position as recipient of remittances with about $69 billion in 2017. India was followed by China ($64 billion), Philippines ($33 billion), Mexico ($31 billion), Nigeria ($22 billion) and Egypt ($20 billion).
Key Highlights of Migration and Development Brief
Global remittances: It grew 7% to US $613 billion in 2017, from US $573 billion in 2016. Global remittances are expected to grow 4.6% to $642 billion in 2018. It include flows to high-income countries. The stronger-than-expected recovery in remittances was driven by growth in Europe, Russia and US.
The rebound in global remittances was due to higher oil prices and strengthening of Euro and Ruble. The upsurge is likely to continue into 2018 on back of stronger economic conditions in advanced economies (particularly US) and increase in oil prices that may have positive impact on GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries.
Low-and middle-income countries: Remittances received by these countries in 2017 has reached US $466 billion in 2017. This was an increase of 8.5% over US $429 billion in 2016. India received $69 billion remittances in 2017 as against $62.7 billion in 2016. It had picked up sharply by 9.9%, reversing previous year’s dip (8.9% in 2016), but was still short of $70.4 billion received in 2014.
Remittances to South Asia: It grew a moderate 5.8% to US $117 billion in 2017 and it will likely grow modestly by 2.5% to $120 billion in 2018. Flows to Pakistan (received US $20 billion) and Bangladesh (US $13 billion) were both largely flat in 2017, while Sri Lanka saw small decline (-0.9%).
Global average cost: The of sending $200 was 7.1% in Q1 of 2018, more than twice as high as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of 3%. Sub-Saharan Africa remained most expensive place to send money to, where the average cost is 9.4%.
Transit migration: The transit migrants-who only stay temporarily in transit country, are usually not able to send money home. Migration may help migrants to escape poverty or persecution, but many also become vulnerable to exploitation by human smugglers during transit. Host communities in transit countries may find their own poor population competing with new-comers for low-skill jobs.