International Migration in the OIC Member Countries
Date : 22 August 2013

International migration represents any cross border movement by people from one country to another as a result of various factors. Historically, the migratory flows exhibited distinct patterns throughout the decades. Between the mid-19th century and start of World War I, the new world received mass flows of voluntary migration due to increasing welfare, affordable transport costs, and colonial connections between countries (from Europe to new world). However, during this period some governments took actions to block the migration flows especially from the Asian countries. In addition to these restrictive policies, the Great Depression that broke out at the beginning of 1930s caused a decrease in migrant flows to the Western Hemisphere. The recovery of the countries during the post-World War II period necessitated more manpower and migration flows then took place reversely from the post-colonial countries to Europe. The USA mostly attracted migrants from Latin America and Asia during this period. The employment opportunities found in the developed world accompanied by the decreasing costs in land and air travel encouraged many people in developing countries to migrate to the West. These fluxes eventually changed the demographic structures of the recipient countries, making them multicultural societies. Today, global economic trends set the migratory patterns. Particularly, migration within countries (from rural areas to cities based on labour-driven motives) or between countries of similar development levels is much more pronounced in the policy papers than the migration from the developing to the developed countries (The Levin Institute, 2013).

Lee proposed two groups of factors causing migrations: Supply-Push and Demand-Pull Factors (Lee, 1966). In order for people to migrate, they must come up against with the supply-push factors that are negative aspects, and benefits missing in the sending countries compelling people to leave and can be found in various forms including unemployment, poverty, political turmoil, and environmental problems. Additionally, to trigger a migration, people also must be encouraged with extra benefits in the receiving country, known as demand-pull factors. Demand-pull factors are the positive aspects of the receiving countries that motivate people to move there; including employment opportunities, welfare, political stability, and suitable environmental conditions. Due to the complementary nature of these two factors, it is necessary that the reason to emigrate (the push) from the source be corrected by the matching pull at the destination. Yet, the compensation of the push by the pull is not sufficient to develop the migratory flows between the source and the destination unless the physical, economic, cultural or political impediments to migration; i.e. intervening obstacles or en-route factors, are removed (Solem, et al., 2010). Besides supply-push and demand-pull factors, network factors also play a role in migration (Cox, 1972). Networks encompass everything from moneylenders who provide the funds needed to pay a smuggler for help crossing the border to employers or friends and relatives at the destination who help migrants find jobs and places to live (Martin & Zürcher, 2008). From this aspect, network factors facilitate the migration from the origin to the destination given the degree of existing flows of information has increased from the destination to the origin after the initial migration occurred.

The purpose of this OIC Outlook is to depict the international migration in the OIC Countries. The data used are from the World Development Indicators (WDI) Database, “Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011”, and Bilateral Migration and Remittances website of the World Bank.

Online Electronic Version

International Migration in the OIC Member Countries (English)