More than half of migrants in Europe are women – IOM

Women make up the majority of international migrants in Europe, 52.4 per cent, according to the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Global Migration Trends Factsheet 2015.

Almost one in the first-time asylum applicants in the European Union were minors, an 11 per cent increase compared to 2014 levels. Almost one in five of these were judged by national authorities to be unaccompanied – the highest number since 2008 and a three-fold increase on numbers registered in 2014, the IOM said.

By the end of 2015, the EU as a whole received more than 1.2 million first-time asylum claims, more than double the number registered in 2015 (563 000), and almost double the levels recorded in 1992 in the then 15 member states of the EU (672 000). The increase in 2015 is largely due to higher numbers of asylum claims from Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis.

In 2015, the number of international migrants worldwide – people residing in a country other than their country of birth – was the highest ever recorded, at 244 million (up from 232 million in 2013).
As a share of the world population, however, international migration has remained fairly constant over the past decades, at about three per cent.

While female migrants constitute only 48 per cent of the international migrant stock worldwide, and 42 per cent in Asia, women make up the majority of international migrants in Europe (52.4 per cent) and North America (51.2 per cent).

Germany became the second most popular destination for international migrants globally (in absolute numbers), following the United States and ahead of the Russian Federation, with an estimated 12 million foreign-born people living in the country in 2015 (compared to 46.6 million in the US and 11.9 million in the Russian Federation).

As a proportion of the host country’s population, however, numbers of international migrants continue to be highest in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The foreign-born population makes up 88.4 per cent of the total population in the United Arab Emirates, 75.7 per cent in Qatar and 73.6 per cent in Kuwait.

Close to one in five migrants in the world live in the top 20 largest cities, according to IOM’s World Migration Report 2015. International migrants make up over a third of the total population in cities like Sydney, Auckland, Singapore and London. At least one in four residents in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris is foreign-born.

The year 2015 saw the highest levels of forced displacement globally recorded since World War 2, with a dramatic increase in the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people across various regions of the world – from Africa to the Middle East and South Asia.

The world hosted 15.1 million refugees by mid-2015. This is a 45 per cent increase compared to three and a half years ago, largely due to continued conflict in the Syria, now well into its fifth year. About five million people were newly displaced in the first half of 2015.

The number of asylum claims worldwide almost doubled between 2014 and the first half of 2015, from 558,000 pending applications by the end of 2014 to almost 1 million in June 2015.

Most refugees continue to be hosted by developing countries, particularly those that are close to the refugees’ countries of origin. For example, the bulk of the Syrian refugee population is hosted by Turkey (2.2 million), Lebanon (1.2 million) and Jordan (almost 630 000), according to figures recorded in December 2015, IOM said.

2015 was also the deadliest year for migrants: increased levels of forced displacement globally were tragically accompanied by record-high numbers of people perishing or going missing while trying to cross international borders. More than 5400 migrants worldwide are estimated to have died or gone missing in 2015.

According to IOM’s Missing Migrants project, migrant fatalities during migration to Europe increased by 15 per cent compared to the previous year, reaching at least 3770.

From 2014 to 2015, a major and sudden shift in routes of irregular migration by sea to Europe occurred. About 853 000 migrants arrived in Greece in 2015, compared to 34 400 in 2014. Almost 154 000 arrived in Italy in 2015, compared to 170 100 in 2014.

In 2015, the number of voluntary returns of migrants (including failed asylum-seekers and others) from EU countries was for the first time higher than the number of forced returns (81 681 compared to 72 473). The number of IOM-assisted voluntary returns from EU member states, Norway and Switzerland in 2015 reached almost 56 000.

New estimates for the number of migrant workers globally show that the large majority of international migrants in the world are migrant workers. Migrants have higher labour force participation than non-migrants, particularly due to higher labour force participation rates for migrant women relative to non-migrant women.

Remittances continue to climb globally, while remittance-sending costs remain relatively high. The sum of financial remittances sent by international migrants back to their families in origin countries amounted to an estimated $601 billion in 2015 – more than two-thirds of which was sent to developing countries.

In Tajikistan remittances constituted more than 40 per cent of the country’s GDP. However, average remittance transfer costs were still at 7.5 per cent of the amount sent in the third quarter of 2015, higher than the three per cent minimum target set in the Sustainable Development Goals to be met by 2030. Remittance transfer costs are particularly high in Sub-Saharan Africa – now at 9.5 per cent on average.

Finally, public opinion towards migration globally is more favourable than commonly perceived – with the notable exception of Europe, according to an IOM-Gallup report “How the World Views Migration”. The report is based on a Gallup poll conducted across over 140 countries between 2012 and 2014.

(Photo: UNICEF/Tomislav Georgiev)



The Sofia Globe staff

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