Conditions of Migrant Workers

One in Thirty People on Earth
Are International Migrants

According to the United Nations World Migration Report 2020, there were approximately 25.9 million refugees globally as of 2018. Palestinians registered with United Nations Relief organizations accounted for 5.5 million of that total.

While 25.9 million is a large number, it is less than 10 per cent of the estimated 272 million international migrants in the world in 2019. Out of a global population of 7.7 billion, it means one in every 30 people on earth is an international migrant. It is a staggering statistic. But these are living breathing human beings, with legitimate claims upon society to affirm and guarantee their rights wherever they are, not just where they were born.

India had the largest number of migrants living abroad, 17.5 million people, followed by Mexico and China with 11.8 million and 10.7 million respectively. The top destination country, with 50.7 million international migrants now calling it home, is the United States. It has been so since 1970. Germany, which in 2019 was home to 13.1 million international migrants, is a distant second to the U.S. Regionally, Europe and Asia host 82 million and 84 million international migrants respectively, 61 per cent of the total, while North America collectively accounts for 22 per cent and Africa, 10 per cent.

Economic insecurity is the leading reason why people leave their homes, in search of employment and stability. War, violence and oppression is second to economic insecurity. This phenomenon of hundreds of millions compelled to become international migrants is clearly an expression of a global social order that rains catastrophe down upon the peoples of the world.

It is also the face of a new world in the making, that which is coming into being, of the workers of all lands who regardless of place of origin exist as one working class in whichever country they are living. Migrants, regardless of the status imposed upon them, are part and parcel of the main force for humanizing the social and natural environment. They are "essential workers" as we have seen in Canada during the pandemic. It is in laying claim to that which belongs to them by virtue of being human and advancing the fight for the rights of all that societies will come into being which uphold the rights of all.

This article was published in

June 18, 2021 - No. 58

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