Eliane Engeler, AP, Dec. 2, 2008
An international migration organization appealed Tuesday to countries to keep open their doors to immigrant workers despite the global economic crises.
The International Organization for Migration said that, despite the current downturn, rich nations will continue to need foreign workers to fill jobs their shrinking work forces cannot or will not do.
In its 4th World Migration Report, the Geneva-based intergovernmental body said there are more than 200 million migrants around the world today.
Developed nations compete for highly skilled immigrants, but there is also a growing need for low-skilled workers in rich countries, the report said.
Appave said the Asian financial crisis in the 1990s demonstrated that the need for immigrant workers continues, even during times of economic hardship.
“There’s always jobs that the host population don’t want to do,” said IOM spokeswoman Jemini Pandya. She said that, in many countries, the demand for workers in health care, domestic care and service industries will continue to grow.
Europe hosted the largest number of immigrants, with 70.6 million people in 2005, the latest year for which figures are available, the report said.
North American, with over 45.1 million immigrants, is second, followed by Asia, which hosts nearly 25.3 million.
Most of today’s migrant workers come from Asia, and demographic data suggest that by 2030, China and India will provide 40 percent of the global work force, the report said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The World Migration Report is available here.