Page last updated at 23:39 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 00:39 UK
Recession moves migration patterns

The global recession has dampened the movement of economic migrants to the major immigrant-receiving regions of the world.

But despite the increasing risk of unemployment, immigrants are choosing to stay in their adopted countries rather than return home, a report by the Migration Policy Institute for the BBC has found.

Migration flows

The number of international migrants was at an all-time high in 2005, with UN estimates at 195 million - 2.5 times more than in 1960. But there has been no single trend in how the recession has affected migration flows.

International migrants

In Spain, the growth which attracted migrants in large numbers in recent years has come to a halt. As in the UK, Eastern Europeans with the right of return (and some Moroccans who have legal permanent residence) appear to be going home. But the Migration Policy Institute report suggests Sub-Saharan African and Latin American migrants seem to be staying put, mainly because of the poor situation back home.

Change in make-up and numbers of migrants to Spain

The UK has seen a similar drop in the number of applications to the Worker Registration Scheme from Eastern European workers, as their home economies have strengthened. Data shows migrants from countries such as Poland tend to be temporary and circular -sometimes on a seasonal basis.

Applications to work in UK

While data from the Gulf governments are hard to come by, the anecdotal evidence indicates that there have not been large-scale returns to India.

Outflow of workers from India

The majority of Indian migrants is comprised primarily of unskilled or low-skilled workers leaving for jobs in the oil-rich Gulf region.

To sustain the high levels of overseas employment of its nationals in the face of the recession, the Philippine government has embraced "full-blast market development efforts" that are likely to promote sustained emigration and limit returns.

Destination of Filipino workers

Laid-off migrants who return to the Philippines are eligible for 10,000-peso (US$210) grants to obtain training in opening a small business.


Rising migration had led to increasing amounts of money being sent home by migrants. The financial crisis has meant that although these remittances have fallen, they have become increasingly important to immigrant-sending countries as other financial streams - such as lending or foreign investment - have fallen even more sharply.

Change in remittances around the world

Some regions are experiencing remittance increases or are holding steady. Remittances to Asia are rising as those to Latin America and Europe drop off.

Changes in Mexico, Ecuador and Cuba

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