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Political and Social Dimensions of Global Migration

The impact, success, and failure of migration

Globalization, technology, and integration of culture have been key factors in promoting international migration. Individuals migrate within their locality or to distant lands. In the last two centuries, the levels of migration have increased. Migration has continually become complex and sophisticated that it bears a substantial impact on the political, cultural, and social set-ups of societies and countries. Further, migration faces many challenges and is subject to several successes and failures.

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Impact of migration

Migration has impacts on the receiving countries as well as the countries origin of the immigrants. These impacts are both negative and positive. Mainly, the impacts are in terms of politics, economy, culture, social sphere, and religion.

Migration has several positive impacts. For instance, immigrants introduce new cultures to their host nations; provide cheap labor, cheap skills, and pay taxes, among others. (Moses, 37). Emigrants positively benefit their countries by paying remittances, providing information to their countries, among others. This affects the economy, social, and political spheres of these countries.

Although the migrants benefit different economies, they also negatively affect the functioning of these countries negatively. For instance, immigrants add a burden to the host nations. They increase population, unemployment, and security issues to their host nations. This has a negative impact on the economy, politics, and social systems of the receiving country. Emigrants negatively affect their country of origin by transferring labor, skills, and reducing the population of their country of origin, among others.

Success of migration

Human migration is constantly on the rise. Countries have witnessed the success of migration in terms of positive economic growth, improved political relations, cultural diversity, and diversified workforce. Many factors have been behind the success of the migration. Such factors include regional differences, democracy, political stability and security, cultural curiosity, stable economies, among others.

Countries of origin of migrants can term migration a success as it has benefited them. This is in terms of spreading the countries cultures to other places, increasing government taxes from remittances, improved international relations, among others. Similarly, the host nations equally benefit from migration. They benefit in terms of getting increased workforce, cultural diversity, and new skills, among others (Betts 10).

These positive factors translate into improved economies, politics, international relations, and social interactions. Consequently, migration merges different cultures and promotes globalization.

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Failure of migration

Migration has been facing many challenges from the beginning of time. It has failed in the sense that it has undesirable consequences to the giving and the receiving nations. For instance, there have been cases of war, racial and ethnic tensions, poverty, insecurity, job losses, among others.

Migration introduces undesired situations such as increased insecurity, unemployment, ethnic clashes, and poverty, among others, to the host country. These factors affect the host country’s systems negatively as they compromise the quality of life of the residents of that country.

In addition, migration deprives the giving country of some of its labor force, reduces the country’s population, and exposes the immigrants to different environments that may not favor them. Therefore, it negatively influences the functioning of the systems of these countries. Looking at migration from this dimension, it has failed.

European mass emigration

For centuries, Europe has been leading in mass emigration. This migration started in the 17th century. This large-scale emigration resulted from the discovery of America and other colonial states. Europeans relocate from their continent to other parts of the world for many reasons. Some of them include adventure, trade, refuge, political conquest, and labor, among others (Hatton and Williamson 128).

Factors driving European mass emigration

Political factors

Between the 17th and 19th centuries, there was a massive migration from Europe to other continents. The discovery of colonies was the major factor behind the emigration. Most of these residents who left at their own free will, left in search of colonies and land. These emigrants mostly ended up in America, Asia, and Africa.

Today, political reasons for emigration are very different. Individuals who migrate from Europe to other countries for political reasons are mostly asylum seekers. Most of them are running away from the crimes they have committed. Most of these individuals usually migrate due to forcing circumstances. Therefore, they go to remote parts of the world such as Africa, Central America, and Asia, where they consider regulations lenient.

In addition, Europeans migrate due to political upheavals. For example, the political upheaval of Germany between 1840 and 1900 forced up to 18 million individuals out of Germany.

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Economic factors

In the past, some native Europeans moved out of Europe to look for a better life in other countries. This group of Europeans consisted mainly of the middle and third class people. They migrated to places like America to look for jobs and land. However, the first class and a section of the middle class in Europe migrated to other parts in order to exploit the economic resources in other countries.

Just like in the past, this group still migrates to remote parts of the world to exploit raw materials. Mainly, this group goes to places like Africa and Asia, where they acquire cheap raw materials, process them, and sell them at high prices. Further, the working class in Europe migrates to other places in search of job opportunities.


Some individuals leave Europe to go to other parts of the world in the bid to satisfy their need for adventure. They migrate to diverse places, depending on their preferences. Some of these individuals move from place to place and end up abandoning their expeditions when they get to places, which completely captivate them.

Religious reasons

Religion is a key factor for migration. Individuals migrate from Europe to different places in search of religious satisfaction. Some migrate to fulfill their pilgrimage dreams. However, religious conflicts can force some individuals to migrate. For instance, in the 1600s, the Church of England had differences with the Puritans and Pilgrims. These differences lead to persecution of the Puritans and Pilgrims by the Church of England. Consequently, it forced the Puritans and the Pilgrims to flee to other parts of the world.

Natural disasters

Natural disasters such as famine and earthquakes, among others, are factors for migration in Europe. Most individuals migrate from their homes in search of favorable environments. Others migrate to escape natural disasters. For instance, in the 1840s, a disaster struck Ireland. A famine hit the land and destroyed their potatoes, the main staple food for the Irish. This resulted in the death of one million people and the migration of the same number.

Military service

Military services may require individuals to perform duties in foreign countries. In the course of performing their duties, some individuals choose to settle in those places. For instance, some British soldiers have settled in parts of the Middle East after their peacekeeping missions.

Approaches to the study of international migration

With time, international migration has become more sophisticated. Consequently, this has posed challenges of handling immigration procedures in an effective and non-discriminatory manner to the responsible parties. The sophistication and complexities of these issues have triggered the need for better systems. Therefore, concerned parties formulated rules and regulations that help in the handling of migration issues. Some approaches proposed by the concerned parties include:

The economic approach

This approach focuses on the effects of migration in relation to economic factors. This approach considers the push and pull factors that compel individuals to migrate. Push factors refer to the factors in the countries of origin that build pressure in the market. For instance, poor employment, poor housing, poor benefits, and lack of opportunities push individuals to migrate to areas with better opportunities. On the other hand, Pull factors are those, which appear attractive to the potential migrants. Push factors in the receiving countries include, numerous opportunities, attractive salaries, retirement benefits, and housing among others (Messina and Lahav 587).

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In general, this perspective views migrants as mobile agents who relocate from areas of poor economic, occupational, and developmental resources to areas with better opportunities.

Labor approach

The labor approach focuses on issues affecting migration in relation to labor demands. It considers the effects of migrants’ labor to the total output and the economy. Further, this approach assesses what employers demand from the migrants, how they assess migrants’ qualities, and the patterns the employers use to hire the migrants among others.

This approach also focuses on the unilateral and bilateral employment patterns. In the unilateral pattern of employment, employers spell out the job requirements without consulting the government. In bilateral employment patterns, employers work in collaboration with the government (The Global Commission on International Migration 61).

Anthropological approach

This approach focuses on structure and agency. That is it focuses on the people and processes involved in migration. It views social issues, contextual issues, relationship strategies, and decision making among others. It proposes that culture revolves around cultural issues.

This approach revolves around issues of culture, gender, age, and customs. All this factors affect migration. According to this approach, migration in most countries favors men as compared to women. Therefore, migration of individual relies on the cultures, customs, and genders of the individuals.

Social historical approach

This approach suggests that migration follows the course that it followed many years ago. Analysts of this approach relate the historical structure of migration to the push and pull factors. For example, migration patterns in the United States, Africa, and Asia have remained the same. Individuals migrate to the U.S from Asia and Africa in search of jobs and opportunities. On the other hand, individuals migrate from the U.S to Africa and Asia in search of cheap labor and raw materials (DeFay 9).

European migration

The strong history of migration in Europe dates back to the 17th century. Many factors such as a stable economy, political stability, and numerous opportunities among others have favored migration in Europe. Increased migration rates have triggered many controversies. Major controversies surround the issues of emigrants and immigrants, migration and globalization of Europe, migration within Europe, migration policies, and political asylum issues in Europe.

Emigration and immigration in Europe

In the past centuries, the world has known Europe for mass emigration. The Europeans in the past centuries migrated in search of colonies, for adventure, to escape natural disaster, and for economic purposes among others. However, in the recent past this has changed. Europe has transformed from a region of emigration to a region of immigration.

In the recent years, individuals have been migrating into Europe in search of jobs, political asylum, refuge, and opportunities among others. The number of immigrants escalates by the day. In fact, this situation is one of the most notorious economic challenges in the continent. These problems arise because the continent refuses to acknowledge this problem and fail to implement policies that befit their political system.

Migration policies in Europe

The issue of immigration has become sophisticated and complex over the years. This has led many countries to establish clear guidelines and policies that shade light on the issues surrounding migration. However, Europe lacks liberal, current, and effective migration policies in their systems. This is because Europe fails to recognize the sophistication of the migration issues.

Europe has several migration policies. The most common policy is the non-zero migration policy. The non-zero policy prohibits non-EU members from migrating to the zone. Although such policies exist, they are not effective. In spite of Europe having a strict non-EU policy in place, there are many illegal immigrants scattered all over Europe. This shows Europe’s lack of proper migration policies.

Lack of policies has continued to affect the social, political, economic, religious, and cultural strength of Europe negatively. Europe’s declining power is evident in the political and economic spheres. In addition, cases of religious and ethnic unrest in the region have been on the rise. If Europe fails to address the policy issue, it will face challenges in the future.

Political asylum issue in Europe

One reason why people migrate is to seek political asylum. Cases of individuals running to Europe for political asylum have risen over the last ten years. Europe lacks policies that are clear on this issue. Consequently, many challenges and problems have risen from the issue (Hieronymi 10).

Many European countries do not consider this issue important. They depend on narrow legalistic and administrative procedures when dealing with moral and political aspects of the issue. This causes great conflict with the international community, which views Europe as a collaborator to the political assailants.

Mobility among European Countries

The number of countries that are members of European Union is increasing. This has a direct impact on the number of migrants in Europe. Analyses show that the percentage of intra-migration in Europe is low. In fact, the percentage was higher forty years ago as compared to today. Despite having policies that favor the European citizens, the numbers are still low.

This poor intra-migration results from low population of some Western Europe countries, lack of interest by residents and similarity of the countries. For instance, countries in the western part of the continent have very low population. In addition, research has shown that the citizens of EU countries have little interest of permanently migrating to other EU states. This should not be the case as all policies favor intra- migration in Europe as compared to inter-migration (Hieronymi 10).

Works Cited

Betts, Alexander Ed. Global Migration Governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.

DeFay, Jason. The Sociology of International Migration. San Diego: University of California, n.d. Print.

Hatton, Timothy and Williamson, Jeffrey. Global Migration and the World Economy: Two Centuries of Policy and Performance. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008. Print.

Hieronymi, Otto. European Values and Interests: the Need for Liberal Asylum and Immigration Policies. Geneva: Webster University, 2001. Print.

Messina, Anthony and Lahav, Gallya Ed. The Migration Reader: Exploring Politics And Policies. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2005. Print.

Moses, Jonathon. International Migration: Globalization’s Last Frontier (Global Issues Series). London: Zed Books, 2006. Print.

The Global Commission on International Migration. Migration in an interconnected world:New directions for action. Report of The Global Commission on International Migration. Geneva: The Global Commission on International Migration, 2005. Print.

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