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International Migration

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International migration is no easy matter, and people don’t make the choice casually to uproot their lives and leave home and family behind. Migration occurs for many reasons. Many people leave their home countries in order to look for better economic opportunities abroad. Others migrate to be with family members or because of political conditions in their countries. Education is another reason for international migration, as students pursue their studies abroad. These migrants can be divided into two large groups, permanent and temporary. Permanent migrants aim to establish their permanent residence in a new country and perhaps obtain that country’s citizenship. Temporary migrants aim to stay for a limited periods of time; perhaps until the end of a particular program of study or for the duration of their work contract. Both types of migrants have a significant effect on the economies and societies on both countries. Almost all migrants use the same reasons for migrating to a different country.

First, it could be due to employment opportunities and the wage gap among geographical locations. We all know how the wage rate of $15-20/day in the United States had been encouraging the Mexicans to leave their country. It is also for this wage difference that many people from third world Asian countries are gambling their lives to go to the Middle East, Europe or to some other countries. Second, labor demand has increased in some countries with high economic growth. Economic theory suggests that, shortage of labor pushes up the price of the labor or the wage rate, and in consequence, the price of the service where the labor gives efforts also goes up. For this reason, the country is likely to face loss, making it difficult to survive in the world market. On the other hand, the price of labor is likely to remain low in a labor abundant economy. Therefore, it is quite natural for labors to move from abundant to shortage areas until the wage gap is reduced. There are two factors to economic migration.

One, push factors that force people to leave communities in economic crisis; and two, pull factors that attract people to leave home looking for opportunities created by economic growth. In fact, push factors tend to succeed under brutal circumstances. In this condition, people desperately hunt for ways to go to other places for physical and economic safety. Factors pull people from other countries include a booming economy, where the rate of economic growth is very high with sufficient employment opportunities and relatively better wage rate. Migration theory suggests that circumstances such as poverty or unemployment at the place of origin push people out of those places to other places. On the other hand, economic growth that generates employment opportunities at a fast space pulls labor out of the regions with sluggish economic growth.

But apart from economic factors, there are political factors that cause people to migrate internationally. There are many political factors, one of them being, state persecution, which involves the harassment, discrimination and torture of people who don’t collaborate with their government, and have minority religious beliefs or ethnic backgrounds. These people are forced to migrate, due to unsafe conditions in their countries. Second, lack of political liberties and rights and corruption act as push factors for migrants looking for more freedom. If the political environment is unfriendly, then the economic situation is likely to be poor. Most migrants leave for more democratic countries where they can pursue better careers, education and freedom. Third, every year millions of people worldwide are being forced to migrate due to war. War and armed conflict have various causes but all these factors are influenced by political issues. Most war migrants end up becoming refugees or asylum seekers. Though economic and political reasons are most commonly cited as causes of migration, cultural factors play a major role as well. There are many cultural factors, one of them being, conceptions of wealth.

Many cultures place a high value on material wealth and judge the social status of an individual based on his economic success. When wealth is considered in financial terms, individuals and families often choose to migrate to locations where there are better economic opportunities. Migrations based on cultural conceptions of wealth are often temporary. Family structure comes second in cultural factors. In many cultures, institutional education is also considered a form of wealth and prestige, and so migration to a particular university is common. Regional and international family networks are one of the most prominent cultural causes of migration. Third, Ideology is a main reason for migration in current societies, as well as in the recent past.

Religion is perhaps the best example of an ideological cause of migration. Many individuals choose to make pilgrimages to holy sites or to relocate for missionary work, while some are forced to migrate because of religious intolerance. Finally, the last reason which causes migration is social networks. Social network connect migrants to host-state jobs and communities of co-nationals, typically from the same area. Family and social networks facilitate migration by providing funds and information to potential migrants, and by assisting with their assimilation into host-state economies. These networks also help immigrants understand and negotiate the new environment. Therefore, in conclusion, after analyzing all the main causes of international migration, I think that the economic factor would be the primary cause of international migration, followed by the political factor. Although, the rest of the causes do have an immense impact on migration, they often get outweighed

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