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Over the past two decades, global immigration trends have been influenced by a range of economic, political, and social factors, in both sending and receiving countries. In our view, the following are some of the key drivers of population movement since 2000.

Increased Mobility

One of the most significant trends in global immigration over the past two decades has been the increased mobility of people around the world. In many countries, barriers to international migration have been reduced or simply eliminated, thereby making it easier for people to move across borders for work, study, or other purposes. This trend has been driven by a variety of factors, including:-

  • Advances in transportation and communication technologies, which have made it easier for people to travel and stay connected with their families and communities.
  • The expansion of international trade and investment – globalisation – which has created new economic opportunities and attracted migrant workers from around the world.
  • The growth of global labour markets, which has increased demand for skilled and unskilled workers in many countries.
  • The proliferation of free trade and free movement areas such as the European Union, which allows free movement of people within the member states.

Increased Diversity

In many countries, immigration has become more diverse in terms of both the origins of migrants and the reasons for their movement. While traditionally most immigrants to the United States came from Europe and Latin America, in recent years there has been a significant increase in immigration from Asia, Africa, and other regions.

While many immigrants in the past moved for economic reasons, today a significant number are motivated by factors such as family reunification, education, and humanitarian protection.

Increased Irregular/Illegal Migration

By far one of the most controversial trends in global immigration has been the increase in irregular migration, or migration that occurs outside of the legal channels established by Governments. Irregular/illegal migration can take many forms, including:-

  • Unauthorised entry, whereby individuals enter a country without the permission of the Government of that country.
  • Overstaying a visa, whereby individuals remain in a country after their visa has expired.
  • Working without proper documentation, whereby individuals work in a country without the proper authorisation.

This trend has been driven by a variety of factors:

  • Economic inequality/poverty, which can lead people to seek better opportunities abroad.
  • Political instability, which can force people to flee their home countries due to persecution, conflict, or other dangers, for example, in fleeing Syria.
  • Persecution, which can prompt people to seek safety and protection in other countries.

Many governments around the world, particularly in the developed world, have implemented stricter border controls and immigration policies in an attempt to reduce illegal/irregular migration, although such measures have often been criticised for their negative impact on human rights and for failing to address the root causes.

Impact of Immigration on Sending and Receiving Countries

Immigration can have both positive and negative impacts on sending and receiving countries. Some of the potential benefits of immigration include:

  • Economic benefits, such as increased Gross Domestic Product, higher productivity, and a larger tax base, given that many of those who migrate are of working age.
  • Social benefits, such as increased cultural diversity.
  • Political benefits, such as increased international cooperation and dialogue.

On the other hand, immigration can also have negative impacts, including:

  • Economic costs, such as increased competition for jobs and resources.
  • Social costs, such as cultural tension and social conflict.

Immigration Policies and Practices

Governments around the world have implemented a range of policies and practices to manage immigration and address its potential impacts. These include:-

  • Legal channels: Many governments have established legal channels for immigration, such as work visas, family visas, and humanitarian visas, to allow people to enter and remain in the country legally. These channels are designed to ensure that immigrants are able to contribute to the economy and society of the host country, while also protecting the rights and interests of citizens and residents.
  • Border controls: Many governments have also implemented border controls to regulate the flow of people across their borders. These controls can take various forms, such as visas, passport requirements, and checkpoints. Famously, Donald Trump pledged to build a wall between the USA and Mexico.
  • Deportation: Deportation is the process of removing individuals who are in a country illegally or who have violated the terms of their visa. Deportation can be a controversial issue, as it can have significant consequences for individuals and their families. Some governments have been criticised for their use of deportation as a means of deterring illegal migration.
  • Integration policies: Integration policies are designed to help immigrants integrate into the host country’s society and economy, reducing friction with the settled populous. These policies can take various forms, such as language classes, job training programs, and civic education. Integration policies can help to foster social cohesion and promote the successful integration of immigrants into the host country.
  • Policy coordination: Policy coordination is the process of coordinating immigration policies across different levels of government and among different stakeholders. Policy coordination can be challenging, as immigration policies often involve complex issues and can have significant impacts on a wide range of sectors and stakeholders. However, effective policy coordination can help to ensure that immigration policies are consistent, coherent, and aligned with the broader goals and values of the host country.


Global immigration trends have been shaped by a variety of economic, political, and social factors in both sending and receiving countries. While immigration can have both positive and negative impacts, it is also a complex and multifaceted issue that requires careful management and coordination. Some borders have been relaxed, whereas in other countries, borders have become more tightly controlled.

Here at the Immigration Lawyers Organisation, our verified immigration lawyers are ready to assist you, should you need legal advice on legally moving countries.