Conclusion: The Political Order of Global Migration in the Present and Future

The leading economic countries in the world have set up migration policies that aim at strict control over migration. This is done, for one, through restrictive visa and entry conditions for potential migrants who are not considered to be desirable bearers of (human) capital because they are neither wealthy nor possess high qualifications. Other approaches include contracts with countries of origin aimed at guaranteeing the return of those immigrants that are considered temporarily necessary. Refugees and displaced persons who have been confronted in the last two or three decades with the shutdown of many migration channels (i.e. legal immigration possibilities) that the asylum system had provided also fall under the general suspicion of being a possible burden on a society’s security, economy, social security system or specific cultural values and political ideas. The development of migration policies of the EC/EU refers to these restrictive components—cooperation between the member states has thus far essentially been limited to the development of strict regulations for common border and visa policies as well as cooperation in restricting asylum-related migration[1].

Such findings do not contradict the observation that migration will continue to be a means of dealing with economic, social and political changes and making use of opportunities for individuals, groups and populations. Restrictive migration regimes cannot prevent migration altogether, as illegal border crossings and irregular residence e.g. in the USA or the EU show. Economically prospering regions continue to attract people and, as shown in numerous studies, immigrants contribute to that prosperity. The economic importance of migration for the countries of origin also continues to be high. In 2011, the remittances that migrants sent to their relatives in developing countries alone amounted to at least US$ 372 billion[2]. according to estimates of the World Bank (in addition there were large sums that were transferred through irregular channels), which surpassed the amount of state payments in the context of development cooperation by almost three times. For various smaller states, these remittances make up a central source of their GDPs, which is the case in Tadzhikistan, Lesotho, or Moldova, for example. For larger states like India, the proportion of remittances sent by migrants to the GDP is much smaller and ranges in the low single-digit percentile but they have an unequally high importance for the foreign-exchange balance [3]. This situation is also unlikely to change greatly in the future.

This text is part of the policy brief on "Global Migration in the Future".
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Angenendt (2011).
The World Bank: Topics on Development, Migration and Remittances: http://web.worldbank.org (accessed: 7-16-2013)
Arnold (2012, pp. 215f.).

Jochen Oltmer

Jochen Oltmer

Dr. phil. habil., born 1965, is Associate Professor of Modern History and member of the board of the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS) of the University of Osnabrück, Germany.

The author thanks Vera Hanewinkel, Kristina Jäger and Martha Quis for their extensive research as well as for their many comments and suggestions. Email: joltmer@uni-osnabrueck.de

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