Migration: Definition, Past & Current Situation, Its Effect on Different Aspects of Human Life

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Table of Contents

  • Definition of Migration
  • Types of Migration
  • Migrants and Human Rights
    Migrants themselves
  • Citizens of the host country
  • The California Gold Rush
  • The Partition of India
  • Syrian Refugee Crisis
  • On Politics
  • Conclusion

Since the advancement of technology and the emergence of globalization, the world has been connected more than ever. Issues affecting other countries around the world will most likely affect you and the ones you care about. The financial tsunami and the outbreak of Ebola have affected economies and killed a lot of people in the world as there were a high number of death, and which we still see the effect it has left afterward. A small problem can quickly transform into a difficult problem to control. Therefore, this essay is about one of the things I think that we should give more attention to.

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Definition of Migration

Human migration is defined as the movement by people from one place to another intending to settle down which can either be permanent or temporary. The movement can be over long distances, but it can also be internally inside a respective country, such as a person moving from the state of New York to Los Angeles in the United States of America. Migration can be done independently or done in groups. People migrate for many reasons. Some people may want to migrate because of personal reasons; such as arguments/fights with friends and/or family, religious reasons; like the Holocaust genocide (where people were killed because they were Jew), natural disasters; such as flood,droughts, earthquakes, etc., political instability; like when a lot of people moved out of Hong Kong back in the 90s to escape the ruling of the People’s Republic of China government. A person who migrates because of a natural disaster or civilian disobedience is considered a refugee or if a person is displaced inside their own country, they will be considered a displaced person. However, a person seeking refuge from political or religious reasons will be considered an asylum seeker.

Types of Migration

There are two primary types of migration; internal migration and international migration. Internal migration refers to the change of habitation (more commonly known as residency) within a respective country. It includes the change of residence occurring between cities, territory or states inside a nation. An internal migrant is a person who moves into a different region within the country. International migration refers to the change of habitation (as said before, more commonly known as residency) over national borderlines. A person who migrates to a different country is considered an international migrant.

Moreover, an international migrant can be further classified into three categories

  1. legal immigrants;
  2. illegal immigrants
  3. refugees

Legal immigrants are people who enter a country through legal means by asking for permission before entering the country. An illegal immigrant is the vice versa of a legal immigrant. A person will be considered an illegal immigrant when they enter the country without legal permission. A person is labeled a refugee when they have crossed an international borderline to escape oppression. Nevertheless, in 2001 there were two authors called Jay Weinstein and Vijayan Pillai who designated a third classification called ‘forced migration.’ When a person is moved against their own choices, such as slaves and people trafficked to be sex workers. A good example is the slavery of black people in America in the 1750s and the famous case of human trafficking in Mexico City. It will also be considered forced migration when a person moves out of a country to escape civil war (i.e., the Syrian Civil War) and natural disasters (i.e., earthquakes and hurricanes). International migration requires more administrative procedures, a lot of money, difficulty in finding a job, getting welfare from the government and learning the language of the respective country.

Migrants and Human Rights

Most people working and living outside their country of origin and/or ethnic country are vulnerable to exploitation of their basic human rights. They are usually not educated and cannot help themselves to solve these problems. Even if they did know how to get help, migrants generally don’t have the rights to do so in the country they have migrated to. Migrant workers have to endure terrible working conditions and a myriad of abuses by employers. Not only do they have to endure that, they also earn less salary than the majority of the host country and usually work without benefits and insurance. There has also been cases where the government of a nation has placed children and adults in overcrowded detention centers, causing uproar over basic human rights. Most migrant workers do not have the time and the privilege to express their difficulties. Many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have raised the concern of these vulnerable people of the society. Migration within Continents

Southeast Asia is one of the continent’s largest supply of human labour with millions of Asian workers leaving home to work overseas. With the most popular countries being the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia to supply the most workers. Singapore and Brunei are the most popular destinations for migrants to seek work. Fifty-seven percent of all migrant workers are males who work labour intensive work such as construction and manufacturing. Benefits and Challenges Like how all things have advantages and disadvantages respectively, so does migration.


When countries send migrant workers aboard, they gain a lot economically. Countries that benefit a lot from exporting migrant workers aboard are India, China and Mexico. India received upto $70 billion and China received upto $66 billion. The government would also have to spend money on welfare, accommodation and other basic necessities for the migrants. Documenting the migrants arriving would also use up the government’s resources such as manpower and money.

Migrants themselves

However, migrants are often stereotyped. They are deemed dangerous and unsafe to the society. Therefore, people of the host country might be biased towards them. This might result in hate crimes too as some people would not want to mix with people of of different race, ethnicity and religion. The migrants that move to earn money might also be affected psychologically due to not seeing their family and friends for a long period of time.

Citizens of the host country

Even though the citizens of the host country might accept the surge of migrants, nevertheless they might start to resent them because of the government spending money on them with/of their tax money. Morally, they might agree that the refugees have a right to get welfare from the government, however they might passively begrudge the migrants. 7. Famous Cases of Huge Migration

The California Gold Rush

Back in the late 1840s, the discovery of gold nuggets by James W. Marshall lead to the Gold Rush. The gold was found in the American River while Marshall was building a hydro-powered mill. Apparently, California had been a part of Mexico. However, when the American government found out about the gold nuggets, both the American and Mexican government respectively signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to end the then ongoing Mexican-American War. When neighbouring cities and the world learnt about the discovery of gold, a large influx of migrants from Europe, Australia, Asia and Latin America migrated to California.

The Partition of India

On August 14-15 of 1947, British India was separated into India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan. This spontaneous decision was made by Britain so that India could gain its freedom without a lot of problems. During that period not a lot of people knew what the detachment of India meant and what it would involve. The partition caused uproar, riots and a lot of victims which then caused a lot of people fleeing for their lives. Muslims migrated to the the newly formed country of Pakistan while Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India. It was estimated that around 200 000 to 2 million people were killed during the seperation. At the same time, many women were exploiated and kidnapped by men. The refugee camps were disease ridden and in very unhygienic conditions which killed a lot of people.

Syrian Refugee Crisis

The Syrian War officially began in 15 March 2011. The main cause of this war is said to be because of the lack of political freedom, corruption and high unemployment rate. People against the regime of the al-Assad and Islamist groups have been fighting ever since. The United Nations gauges over 1.5 refugees have been created due to the war. The number of people manslaughtered and murdered is estimated to be about 100 000. The war is said to be the cause of various epidemics in refugee camps.

On Politics

The European migrant crisis also known as the European refugee crisis, has been on the news headlines a lot. When a lot of refugees arrived in Europe, it caused a split of opinions in the European Union (UN). On one hand some countries wanted to welcome the huge influx of refugee into their countries, on the other hand they also did not want to solely take the refugees in. They wanted all countries in the EU to take in the refugee equally. Poverty, lack of jobs and the Syrian Civil war has mostly been the culprit of this huge migrant problem. The EU countries have been divided over this issue. Countries have tried to deal with this problem by building more border controlling points. They have also agreed to share the number of refugees. This has concerned EU passport holders as over concerns whether they can travel freely between the EU countries in the future.


After writing and researching for this essay on migration in the world, I have learnt more about the past and current situation about migration and its effect on different aspects. For example, the psychological strain that migration has on workers and how it affects them. Politicians sometimes overlook the consequences of their actions and it can negatively affect migrants globally with no repercussion for politicians. This prospect in particular scared me as it showed how biased the world truly is. I have learnt how the ‘migration’ can be further subdivided into ‘internal migration’ and ‘international migration’ which I have never thought about. How easy the issue of migrants can cause a rift into such a powerful international organization as the European Union. The exploitation of migrant workers on their basic rights holds a very strong feeling to my heart.

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