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Consequences of Migration

Consequences of Migration

Migration has been happening across the world for hundreds, if not thousands of years. People move from one place to another for various reasons (war, persecution, to seek better opportunities, unemployment, etc.). This migration of people can result in consequences for both the place they left behind and their new place of residence. These consequences can be economic, social, political and demographic. Let's take a look.

Migration is the movement of people from one place to another. This can be internally or internationally.

Internal migration occurs within the same country, with the movement of people from one region to another e.g. people moving from the North of England to the South of England.

International migration refers to the movement of people from their home country (origin location), to a new destination location (host country).

A migrant tends to move temporarily either internally or internationally, whereas an immigrant demonstrates a more permanent international migration.

This explanation is centred around international migration, however, understanding internal migration is important too. Why do migrants move within their own country? What effects could this have? Think about the processes of Urbanisation, Counter-Urbanisation and Rural-Urban Migration.

Causes of migration

There are many different reasons why migration occurs. Let's take a look at the 'push and pull factor' idea, a helpful way of understanding the movement of migrants.

Push factors are the things going on in their place of residence that make people want to leave. Pull factors are those which attract people to a place.

Push factors for migration

  • Extreme weather (droughts, which can affect things like agriculture).
  • Lack of economic or social opportunities (work, school).
  • Lack of safety - (war, the threat to life, persecution).

consequences of migration, drought, StudySmarterFigure 1: Drought can be a major push factor for migration - Pixabay

Pull factors for migration

  • Improved job or economic opportunities (income, skills).
  • Better healthcare
  • Equality (gender)
  • Better political conditions (stability).

Migration can have and positive and negative impacts on the social, economic and political factors of both host nations and origin locations. Let's take a look at some of the effects and consequences of migration.

Social effects of migration

Let's take a look at the many social effects of migration:

Culture and diversity

Culture is the shared beliefs, values and traditions of a demographic. This also extends to food, music, religion, art, dress and language. There are many different cultures across the world, and through migration, most prominently, international migration, these cultures can be shared and brought to new places.

Migration can increase the cultural diversity of a host country, as an introduction of a new culture can bring a whole new market of products and services that were not available in the host country prior to the arrival of migrants. Migration in this sense, can have very positive impacts on the host nation. However there can be negative impacts for the migrants themselves, for example, there can be a significant loss of cultural norms, as they may be entering a host country that has a completely different way of societal living than their origin country.

Let's talk about curry. Chicken tikka masala has been ranked as one of Britain's national dishes. Although not an official Indian curry, it comes from traditional Indian curry recipes. The British love for curry is visible in places around the UK too, such as the curry mile in Manchester. This is just one clear example of cultural diversity, and the impacts and influences of migration on daily culture.

Assimilation

Assimilation is the integration of migrants into their host country. This occurs naturally, at different rates, and over a long period of time. Assimilation rates are affected by many different factors, such as the level of similarity between migrants and local people, or perhaps the existence of tensions between migrants and local groups.

Don't confuse assimilation with cultural erasure, where cultural characteristics start to completely fade out.

consequences of migration, Chicago, StudySmarterFigure 2: St. Patrick's Day is an excellent example of the cultural assimilation of Irish migrants into American culture - Pixabay

Social consequences of migration

Let's take a look at some of the social consequences of migration:

Cultural clash

Migrants may have entirely different cultural values or characteristics to those of a host nation. When there are differences between the host and origin country, tensions may build up between them. This is often called a cultural clash, or cultural conflict.

Discrimination

International migration may create spaces for discrimination. Migrants may have a different ethnicity, religious practice, or cultural characteristics from their host nation, or there may be language barriers, which can sometimes cause migrants to be discriminated against in every aspect of their everyday lives, either directly or indirectly.

Furthering your knowledge by taking a look at the meanings of 'direct' and 'indirect' discrimination, and examples of these, can help to bulk out your exam answers!

Segregation

Segregation divides people up due to their differences.

Let's take a look at ethnicity and race. Unlike race, ethnicity is not necessarily connected to biological traits and more often refers to cultural background. For example, Latin Americans are an ethnic group, as they share a common cultural background, but within Latin America, there are people from different races (White, Black, East Asian, Indigenous and Mixed). When international migration occurs, migrants may face racial or ethnic segregation, which may occur in different forms. In large urban areas, there often exists designated neighbourhoods for different ethnicities. This can happen due to migrants being treated differently, affecting their access to certain types of housing, or if local populations make active choices to live away from migrant groups1. Segregation may also happen because it is attractive for migrants to live in spaces with people who have similar cultural characteristics.

Negative attitudes toward migrants, fueled by racism and discriminatory beliefs, can also have a negative impact on policies in the host nation. Brexit, for example. Negative attitudes towards migrants influenced many people to vote leave, to reduce the number of migrants entering the UK.

Smuggling and human trafficking

The process of international migration is often complicated, and immigration laws can be very strict. This can lead potential migrants to hire the services of illegal immigration officers, commonly known as smugglers or coyotes. Due to the illegality of their services, there is no guarantee the migration process is safe.

Human trafficking is something different to smuggling. Human trafficking occurs when people (migrants, but human trafficking also happens domestically) are forced into undertaking unpaid forced labour, or sex work, for example. Human trafficking may also occur as a result of smuggling, if they are held captive, or are forced to work to pay off the often expensive smuggling fees2, but this isn't always the case.

Try to remember to define a term first, explain your point, and add in an example for a detailed exam answer.

Political consequences of migration

There are multiple political consequences that result from migration, but first let's get a better understanding of some commonly misused words:

An asylum seeker is a person who has fled a country due to a threat to their security, but has yet to be granted confirmation of refugee status. Being granted refugee status isn't always guaranteed.

A refugee is a person who has left their home country due to a threat to their security.

International borders and asylum seekers

International borders are not always well defined. Some territories share border control authorities from different countries, and this can cause conflict. Regarding migration, it becomes unclear who is responsible for the migrant movement. Let's take a look at Calais, the home of the France-UK border.

The Calais Jungle (located in Calais, France), offers an example of a migrant camp. Migrants who were in this camp were trying to enter the United Kingdom through the Channel Tunnel or to apply for asylum in France. As migrant numbers increased, both the French and British governments didn't know how best to allocate these people. After the settlement dismantlement in 2016, there have been political tensions regarding the placement of these asylum seekers and refugees. It is important to note, however, that although the Calais Jungle has been dismantled, many migrants are still there (in 2021, 2000 people were thought to be living there). The aftermath of this event changed French policies to avoid the formation of overpopulated migrant camps again. Now, refugees are pushed out of surrounding areas by law enforcement.

Refugees and European Union policy

Within the European Union, protecting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers is important. There are laws and processes that come with this, however, these procedures and laws have not always been upheld.
During the 2015 migrant crisis, migrants coming across Hungary's border had to enter what was named a 'Transit Zone'. These 'zones' were essentially detention camps, where asylum seekers had to wait in during the asylum process - these people were then trapped, for long periods of time, and often without actually being processed through the system. Other countries, such as Greece have even been reported to reject the entrance of refugees and force them to return in dangerous ships. Both of these occurrences are supposed to be illegal.

The Common European Asylum System, created in 1999, highlights the EU's responsibilities towards refugees and asylum seekers.

Disadvantages of migration

Though necessary for some people, there are disadvantages of migration, for both the host country and country of origin.

Human Capital Flight and economic development

With international migration, origin countries often lose large proportions of the highly skilled workforce. Developing countries, such as India, suffer from the loss of this highly trained workforce, due to migration. This is called Human Capital Flight or Brain drain, which negatively impacts economic growth.

After a migrant has entered their host country, they may send part of their income back to their origin country. This is called remittance. India, for example, receives around 80 billion US dollars per year from remittances (2.7% of their total Gross Domestic Product (GDP)). Despite the fact that most of these workers will still send remittances back to their origin country, these remittances aren't enough to deal with the economic impact of this human capital flight, which can impact the development levels of the origin country.

Population and demographic changes

International migration can affect the population and demographics of both host and origin countries. Through migration, the population in the host country increases. This can increase pressure on public services, as more people are using or needing them3.

With Human Capital Flight and Brain Drain, it tends to be the younger population leaving to seek better opportunities elsewhere. This leaves behind an increasingly elderly population in the origin country, and with a growing younger population in the host country.

Take a look at our Global Migration and Migration and Capital explanations!

Consequences of Migration - Key takeaways

  • Migration can have positive and negative impacts on both host and origin countries.
    • Migration can lead to increased cultural diversity in a host country.
    • Migrants may experience forms of segregation, discrimination or cultural clashes.
    • Assimilation occurs over time, as migrants settle in their host country.
  • The migration of highly skilled workers can cause a brain drain in the origin country. Even with remittance payments, economic growth is reduced.
  • Migrants may hire the services of illegal immigration officers, where incidences of human trafficking may occur.
  • International borders can be zones of disputes between countries when processing refugees and asylum seekers.
  • The EU has favourable policies to provide asylum to refugees, but some countries within the EU have controversial policies toward these migrants.

References

  1. John Iceland, Why does segregation occur? Residential Segregation, A Transatlantic Analysis, 2014, https://www.migrationpolicy.org/sites/default/files/publications/TCM_Cities_Residential-SegregationFINALWEB.pdf
  2. UNHCR, Trafficking in persons, https://www.unhcr.org/uk/human-trafficking.html
  3. Jamie McIvor, How does immigration affect public services? 2015, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-31822307

Frequently Asked Questions about Consequences of Migration

The social consequences of migration are Cultural Clash, Segregation, Discrimination and Human Trafficking. 

The economic consequences of migration are Human Capital Flight, Brain Drain and Remittances.  

Migration may be positive for host countries as they increase their young working population and cultural diversity. For origin countries, they may benefit from remittances.


Migration may be negative for origin countries due to Brain Drain, and the loss of young people. Migration can also cause other problems, such as Segregation, Cultural Clash, Discrimination and Human Trafficking. 

Here are 3 effects of migration (though there are many more!)

- Increase in cultural diversity for host country.

- Brain Drain for origin country.

- Political tensions at borders regarding refugees and asylum seekers.


Economic and population consequences in the form of brain drain/human capital flight, meaning reduced economic growth, and loss of skilled and younger workforce. Remittance payments make up 2.7% of India's GDP.

Final Consequences of Migration Quiz

Question

What are the economic consequences of migration?

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Answer

The economic consequences of migration are economic, social, demographic and political.

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Question

What are forms of migration?

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Answer

Migration may occur internally, when people move from one place to another within the same country, or internationally when people move from one country to another.

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Question

What are remittances?

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Answer

Remittances are the money migrants send back to their home country to help their family members.

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Question

How important are remittances for countries' economies?

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Answer

Many countries benefit highly from remittances. India is the one that benefits the most receiving about 80 billion US dollars per year (2.7% of their total GDP).

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Question

What defines culture?

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Answer

Culture is defined as the complex system that comprises shared beliefs, values and traditions. This extends to food, music, religion, art, dress and language. This interchange of culture between host and source country can be either positive or negative.

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Question

How does ethnicity differ from race?

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Answer

Race is generally attributed to ancestry and phenotypical traits. Whereas, ethnicity is about cultural background. For example, Latin Americans are an ethnic group as they share a common cultural background, but within Latin America, there are people from different races (White, Black, East Asian, Indigenous and mixed).

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What is assimilation?

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Answer

Assimilation is understood as the integration and adaptation of migrants in the host country culture.

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Question

What is cultural erasure and why does it differ from assimilation?

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Answer

Assimilation is the natural adaption of migrants into the host country culture and habits. Cultural erasure is the governmental action of erasure some migrants cultural traits.

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Question

What is human capital flight?

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Answer

Human capital flight is the leaving of a highly trained workforce to work overseas in seek of better opportunities.

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Why is the academic segment the most harmed by human capital flight?


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Answer

The academic segment is the most harmed because the abandonment of highly educated researchers to work oversees delays the source country internal scientific and technological development.

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What is human trafficking?

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Answer

Human trafficking is the trade of human beings for the purposes of sexual slavery, forced labour, commercial exploitation, trafficking of drugs and/or for the extraction of organs.

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Question

What is a ''coyote''?

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Answer

Coyotes are colloquial terminology for illegal immigration officers. These people are criminals that often will put migrants in conditions of forced labour or sexual exploitation.

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Question

True of false: Refugees and asylum seekers mean the same thing

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Answer

False

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Question

What is the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker?

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Answer

An asylum seeker is a person who has fled a country due to a threat to their security, but has yet to be granted confirmation of refugee status. Being granted refugee status isn't always guaranteed. 


A refugee is a person who has left their home country due to a threat to their security.

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Question

Why might international borders cause conflict when it comes to migration?

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Answer

International borders are not always well defined. Some territories share border control authorities from different countries, and this can cause conflict. Regarding migration, it becomes unclear who is responsible for the migrant movement.

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