Migration is considered one of the defining global issues of the early twenty-first century, as more and more people are on the move today than at any other point in human history. There are now about 258 million people living outside their place of birth, which is more than three per cent of the world's population.
This means that roughly one of every thirty-five persons in the world is a migrant. Between 1965 and 1990, the number of international migrants increased by 45 million-an annual growth rate of about 2.1 per cent. The current annual growth rate is about 2.9 per cent.
Discourse on migration involves many perspectives. There is growing recognition that migration is an essential and inevitable component of the economic and social life of every State, and that orderly and properly managed migration can be beneficial for both individuals and societies. The multiple and complex dimensions of migration include:
- labour migration,
- family reunification,
- migration and security,
- combating irregular migration,
- migration and trade,
- migrant rights,
- health and migration,
- migration and development.
Policy makers and practitioners need to develop a comprehensive understanding of the multi-dimensional phenomenon of migration in order to manage it effectively. A comprehensive and cooperative approach to international migration management is required to deal with the migration pressures of this century. Such an approach will include policies and programmes for migration and development, facilitating migration, regulating migration, and forced migration. To be successful, international migration management cannot be undertaken by governments unilaterally.
There are many global trends behind today's mobile world that will impact migration and migration management, including:
- demographic trends,
- economic disparities between developing and developed countries,
- trade liberalization necessitating a more mobile labour force,
- communication networks linking all parts of the world,
- transnational migration.
In the twenty-first century, the movement of people will become even more significant as a result of these trends.