World Migration Report 2010

The Future of Migration - Building Capacities for Change

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This Report focuses on the future of migration and the capacities that will be required by States, regional and international organizations, civil society and the private sector to manage migration successfully over the coming decades. Ten years ago there were 150 million migrants. Now, the number of migrants has grown to 214 million, and the figure could rise to 405 million by 2050, as a result of demographic disparities, environmental change, global political and economic dynamics, technological revolutions and social networks. This Report argues that it is essential for States to be able to develop the comprehensive knowledge and efficient, flexible institutions that they will need to promote and implement humane and orderly policies for the movement of people, now and in the future.

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Irregular migration

It is important to put any discussion on irregular migration into context. The over whelming majority of migration is fully authorized. Estimates, while not exact (as will be discussed below), suggest that only some 10–15 per cent of today’s 214 million international migrants are in an irregular situation. Most of these migrants enter legally but overstay the authorized stay. Moreover, as South–South migration is as significant as South–North migration, it is important not to fuel fear and negative perceptions of the North being overrun by poor migrants from the South, while of course not ignoring the vexingincidence of irregular migration today. One ofthe key questions requiring further exploration is how to get to the root of the phenomenon– most notably, underlying disparities in livelihood and safety opportunities. As indicated in the UNDP Human Development Report 2009, where a person is born is the single most significant determinant of human development outcomes.

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