International Economies versus National Citizens: The dilemma of contemporary globalized economies and migration

'The volume of irregular migration is a reaction of restricting regular migration'.

by Ayman Zohry

Migration in less developed countries is strongly influenced by poverty, economic difficulties, improper socio-economic policies, and political instability. Despite the fact that new technologies made it possible for people to communicate easily, strict visa requirements transformed the world to a virtual 'small village'. Borders are invaded by international companies; people are stuck in their countries; only skilled workers can find a pathway to be engaged in this globalized economy.

In a globalized world, political leaders play with the card of migration in their electoral campaigns. However, one can confidently say that migration policies are determined by economist rather than politicians. International economies stimulate most of contemporary migration streams; the legal migration as well as the undocumented migration streams. While International economies depend on undocumented migration to recruit cheap and unskilled labor needed for casual works, head hunting and the highly skilled migration programs are utilized to recruit highly skilled migrants. In a market-oriented international economy, head hunting and brain drain can be justifies, but if we think beyond the market mechanism, developing countries does not have the incentives or the basic organizational infrastructure to keep their brains. Remittances of migrants are the most viable development-related aspect of migration, but can they replace the drained brains? 

Migration includes hazards and potentials; undocumented migration is hazardous but at the same time it sustains the lives of millions of migrants and their left-behind families. Regular migration is not a sort of a hazard-free movement; it has its own consequences such as the problems of the left behind families in case of non-family movements. Also it implies the challenge of integration and the fear of assimilation in the countries of destination.

Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, which seeks greater equity in international trade. It is important to establish a fair international migration policy that takes in consideration the potentials and hazards of people movement and protect developing countries from sacrificing their brains to the West. The current global scene reveals a sort of miss matching between labor supply and demand which is responsible about contemporary migration. Economic imbalances in the international economy, globalization, and free trade agreements stimulate migration streams — regular and irregular (undocumented). Given the economic imbalance between the South and the North, migration streams will continue in the foreseeable future.

The volume of irregular migration is a reaction of restricting regular migration. Economic aid as a means for reducing the volume of regular and irregular migration is not sufficient. In addition, the current financial crisis will have a negative impact on migration since unemployment rates in destination countries will increase in the near future.


Photo: SID.