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Migration is the permanent change of residence with a complete change of community ties. However, very recent definitions also consider certain temporary movements as migration (refer Migration does not include daily commuting to work, shifting of house in the same neighbourhood and tourism.

Migrations are broadly classified as

  • Involuntary (forced) and Voluntary migration
  • Long distance and Short distance migration
  • International and Internal migration


Refugee: A refugee is a person who has fled their own country because they are at risk of serious human rights violations and persecution in their own country. Refugees seek safety outside their home country because their own government cannot or will not protect them from those dangers. According to international law, refugees have a right to international protection.

Asylum-Seeker:  An asylum-seeker is a person who has left his own country and is seeking protection from persecution and serious human rights violations in another country, but hasn’t yet been legally recognized as a refugee and is waiting to receive a decision on their asylum claim. Seeking asylum is a human right. This means everyone should be allowed to enter another country to seek asylum.

Most of the international organizations such as Amnesty International consider migrants to be people staying outside their country of origin, who are not asylum-seekers or refugees.

Top Immigrant Countries of the World

Voluntary migration

Voluntary migration a free movement of migrants for an improved quality of life and personal freedom such as to find a job or to earn a better salary, better amenities such as hospitals, schools, mild climate specially on retirement or simply to be with family (marital dislocation) and relatives.

Can be based on some past legacy, for example: a significant proprotion of immigrants to UK has come from the former British colonies in the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Jamaica when Britain had a labour shortage after the Second World War. Trade and economic expansion associated to globalization led to free movement of skilled labour across boundaries, for example- IT employees from the Asian sub continent to USA and West European countries, migration of nurses from Philippines to UK etc.

Forced Migration (IDPs, refugees)

Forced migration occurs when the migrants have no personal choice but have been forced to leave their home country or regions in fear of persecution for reasons of religion, civil war or may be due to natural disaster.
Asylum seekers: people who seek refugee status in another country.

Forced migration may take place due to religious or political persecution,  ethnic conflict, forced labour as slaves in the past (majority of the African slaves were brought to British North America between 1720 – 1780), lack of food due to famine, natural disaster and overpopulation. For example: Palestinian Arabs were forced to live in refugee camps following the creation of the state of Isreal in 1948. Over 3 million Afghan refugees have been forced to flee to neighbouring Pakistan and Iran as a result of 30 years of civil war. More that 2 miillion Iraqis have sought refuge in Jordon. More than 50% of Syria‘s population is currently displaced due to civil war and ethnic conflict. An estimated 9 million Syrians have fled their homes since the outbreak of civil war in 2011 to Egypt, Iraq, Jordan Turkey, Lebanon, Germany, Sweden and Austria (Amnesty International Sep. 2015)

Refugee crisis in South Sudan

Illegal immigration to Europe 2018

Syrian Refugee crisis: live coverage of a risky jouney

Impact of migration on the economy: Case study USA

European Migration crisis

Impacts of rural to urban migration on the rural area

  1. Imbalance in age sex structure and male working class tends to move out.
  2. This may create social problems like no one to look after elderly.
  3. Underused services e.g. schools/shops may close down;
  4. People may need to ravel further to access services as many services will close down due to lack of threshold population.
  5. Positive aspect: Less pressure on utilities and services for example (water supply)

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