Another equal significant distinction is that between voluntary and forced migration.
Voluntary migration is where people chose either to move inside their own country or to emigrate to another country. The normal reasons for this are economic (such as to find work, get higher wages and get better quality of life). Counter-urbanisation (In LIC’s, this usually means moving from rural areas into towns and cities, whereas in HIC’s this usually means moving from large cities into smaller urban settlement).
There is no doubt that one of the voluntary migration for largely economic reasons. One feature of much of this movement is that it is not migration in the strictest sense. Many of these so-called economic migration, such as those arriving in the UK from Eastern Europe, stay for less than a year. However, some end up staying for a number of years. It would probably be best to refer to these short-stay workers and their families as temporary economic migrants.
People are living longer. The average life expectancy in the UK for woman is age 81 and age 76 for men. With this prospect, more and more people are moving after they have retired from work. The reasons for this are:
- It is no longer necessary to live close to what was their place of work
- To downsize into a smaller home
- To sell their home for something cheaper and use the difference in price as a pension
- To move into a quieter, calmer and more attractive environment
Three main types of retirement migration are:
- Local – where people stay in the same locality, but move house
- Regional – where people stay within their country but move to what they think is a more attractive location
- International – where people make the decision to move to another country, such as Spain, Portugal, France or even Australia
Forced migration occurs when people are driven out from where they live – they have no choice. This is typically to another country, although in some instances they may only be displaced within their own country.They are either because of a major physical disaster such as a natural disaster or for political or social reasons, including war and ethnic cleansing. Victims and survivors of such things often move back home when it is safe to do so or when their homes and jobs are available again.
Many recent wars have in fact been civil wars – fractions within country fighting one another. In some cases, there has been ethnic cleansing (this has been in an effort to force out entire ethnic groups or communities).
The United High Communities for Refugees (UNHCR) who are responsible for those people who are forced to migrate. These people are collectively referred to as `person of concern` to the UNHCR. Four different categories of person are recognised:
- Refugees – a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted (one account of their race, religion, political opinion or social group), lives outside their country of nationality. They are reluctant or refuse to return
- Asylum Seekers – a person of interest whom has left their country of origin, has applied for recognition as a refugee in another, and awaiting a decision on their application
- International-displaced person (IDP) – a person forced to flee their home for the same reasons as a refugee or in order to escape natural disasters, but they do not cross any internationally recognised borders
- Returnee – a refugee or asylum seeker who has voluntarily returned to their own country or an IDP who has returned home
In 2003, UNHCR recognised that there are over 17 billion persons of interest in the world, over half were refugees and one quarter were IDP’s. There were around 1 million asylum seekers and almost the same number of returnees.
Overall, one-third of all persons of interest are in Asia, with a quarter in Africa and in Europe.
Push-pull Mechanism (the decision to migrate based on push and pull factors). The image below shows the push force occurs in the potential migrant’s home location. In case of forced migration, the push factor is paramount. The pull force is something that attracts that same person to a particular destination. Very often the pull factor is a mirror of the push factor. Thus the combination of the push and pull factor persuades the person to migrate. In case of much voluntary migration, the pull factor is stronger in the sense that it often strongly influences the eventual migration destination.
It’s now not just because of push and pull factors that there is a large volume of migration, but also because of three other factors that are important in the context of globalisation:
- Modern Communication – Because of mass media and the internet would-be migrants can understand there push and pull factors as well as see and feel the places they want to migrate to all without going anywhere apart from a internet device.
- Modern Transport – Once the decision has been taken to move to a particular destination, the migrant is able to take advantage of modern transport. This can move them there quickly and cheaply.
- Relaxing National Boundaries – Many countries are willing to relax their boundaries, particularly if it is in their economic interests, for example to admit skilled migrant workers.