International Labor Migration in a Globalizing Economy: Historical Dynamics and Prospects of Development

International Labor Migration in a Globalizing Economy: Historical Dynamics and Prospects of Development

Eteri Rubinskaya
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0111-5.ch001
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International labor migration is a multi-level, multi-dimensional social phenomenon being studied by specialists of different branches of science. Scientific views on the content of the concept, causes, and factors behind it, consequences from it, etc., have been developing together with the progress of this phenomenon and are still developing it now. The chapter is dedicated to the influence of the world economic trends (globalization, integration, transnationalization) on the international labor movement and changes of theoretical approaches to its analysis in the historical development of society on the examples of relevant contemporary concepts.
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The contemporary world economy is a collection of national economies an associated system of international economic relations, an organic unity of interconnected and interdependent parts that is generating a process of human society development. The global economy and the system of international economic relations in process of historical development passed through different stages with distinctions in both quantitative and qualitative characteristics. Historical approach to analysis of socioeconomic phenomena requires the knowledge of objective historical laws in process and studying the related phenomenon in their development: how did it appear? what stages has it passed in the course of development? what results did it achieve?

Following this approach, the international migration process against the background of the historical development of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries was analyzed. The study period boundaries are defined by qualitative changes in the production forces, caused by scientific and technological revolution as well as by other major sociopolitical phenomena: the collapse of the colonial system, the collapse of the socialist system, disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Since the World War II, a complex structured system of international economic relations has been formed by several interconnected and continually developing forms of entities, both well developed (states and intergovernmental organizations) and newer ones (international governmental and non-governmental organizations, multinational corporations, firms, associations, unions, etc.).

Qualitative changes in the world economy form the basis for the development of international division of labor and internationalization of production (Ushakov et al., 2017), under the influence of scientific and technological revolution. In the second half of the twentieth century together they have led to regional economic integration and transnationalization. In the last quarter of the twentieth century developed countries have begun their transition from industrial to post-industrial society, which is based on the new generation of production forces, united global information-technological systems and gradual transition to the global economy.

Deep analysis of the global economy was made by Manuel Castells. In his opinion, globalization is associated, first of all, with economy (Castells, 2000, pp. 80-81). He started using the term “global/ information economy”. The processes of globalization in the world are relatively new but already highly significant factors for contemporary migration, though migration itself is increasingly playing the role of a tool for further development of globalization.

According to the already mentioned Castells, global network which is the result of revolution in the sector of information technologies has created a material basis for economic globalization. This stage of development is new and differs from the pre-existing economic system. Economics is global, because the main economic activities and production factors are organized globally, either directly, or with the use of an extensive network linking economic agents; economy is informational because productivity and competitiveness depend primarily on the ability to generate, process and use information based on knowledge more effectively.

According to M. Castells, a principal difference between information technology revolution as compared with its historical antecedents is that newer information technologies almost immediately cover space around the world. However, this scientist also recognizes that international economy is not yet global in general, it is still on the path to globalization as large share of GDP and employment in most of the countries continues to be depended on the activity of domestic economies but not on the global market. There are still significant areas not included at all into the contemporary technological system of the world. Castells makes a major conclusion in this regard: different levels of peoples’, regions’ and countries’ access to technologies are the reasons of inequality in today’s world.

Thus, potentially there always exists the threat of exclusion of national and even continental economies (for example, African) from the global information system and, consequently, from the global division of labor (Castells, 2000, p. 53).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Labour Migration: movement of persons from one State to another, or within their own country of residence, for the purpose of employment. Labour migration is addressed by most States in their migration laws. In addition, some States take an active role in regulating outward labour migration and seeking opportunities for their nationals abroad.

Facilitated Migration: fostering or encouraging of regular migration by making travel easier and more convenient. This may take the form of a streamlined visa application process, or efficient and well-staffed passenger inspection procedures.

Forced Migration: a migratory movement in which an element of coercion exists, including threats to life and livelihood, whether arising from natural or man-made causes (e.g. movements of refugees and internally displaced persons as well as people displaced by natural or environmental disasters, chemical or nuclear disasters, famine, or development projects).

Country of Origin: the country that is a source of migratory flows (regular or irregular).

Emigration: The act of departing or exiting from one State with a view to settling in another.

Naturalization: granting by a State of its nationality to a non-national through a formal act on the application of the individual concerned. International law does not provide detailed rules for naturalization, but it recognizes the competence of every State to naturalize those who are not its nationals and who apply to become its nationals.

Brain Gain: Immigration of trained and talented individuals into the destination country. Also called “reverse brain drain.”

Circular Migration: The fluid movement of people between countries, including temporary or long-term movement which may be beneficial to all involved, if occurring voluntarily and linked to the labour needs of countries of origin and destination.

Orderly Migration: the movement of a person from his or her usual place of residence to a new place of residence, in keeping with the laws and regulations governing exit of the country of origin and travel, transit and entry into the destination or host country.

Border Management: Facilitation of authorized flows of persons, including business people, tourists, migrants and refugees, across a border and the detection and prevention of irregular entry of non-nationals into a given country. Measures to manage borders include the imposition by States of visa requirements, carrier sanctions against transportation companies bringing irregular migrants to the territory, and interdiction at sea. International standards require a balancing between facilitating the entry of legitimate travellers and preventing that of travelers entering for inappropriate reasons or with invalid documentation.

Push-pull Factors: migration is often analysed in terms of the “push-pull model,” which looks at the push factors, which drive people to leave their country (such as economic, social, or political problems) and the pull factors attracting them to the country of destination.

Irregular Migration: movement that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries. There is no clear or universally accepted definition of irregular migration. From the perspective of destination countries, it is entry, stay or work in a country without the necessary authorization or documents required under immigration regulations. From the perspective of the sending country, the irregularity is for example seen in cases in which a person crosses an international boundary without a valid passport or travel document or does not fulfill the administrative requirements for leaving the country. There is, however, a tendency to restrict the use of the term “illegal migration” to cases of smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons.

Receiving Country: country of destination or a third country. In the case of return or repatriation, also the country of origin. Country that has accepted to receive a certain number of refugees and migrants on a yearly basis by presidential, ministerial or parliamentary decision.

Migration Management: a term used to encompass numerous governmental functions within a national system for the orderly and humane management for cross-border migration, particularly managing the entry and presence of foreigners within the borders of the State and the protection of refugees and others in need of protection. It refers to a planned approach to the development of policy, legislative and administrative responses to key migration issues.

Migrant: IOM defines a migrant as any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a State away from his/her habitual place of residence, regardless of (1) the person’s legal status; (2) whether the movement is voluntary or involuntary; (3) what the causes for the movement are; or (4) what the length of the stay is. IOM concerns itself with migrants and migration-related issues and, in agreement with relevant States, with migrants who are in need of international migration services.

Brain Drain: Emigration of trained and talented individuals from the country of origin to another country resulting in a depletion of skills resources in the former.

Immigration: a process by which non-nationals move into a country for the purpose of settlement.

Migration: the movement of a person or a group of persons, either across an international border, or within a State. It is a population movement, encompassing any kind of movement of people, whatever its length, composition and causes; it includes migration of refugees, displaced persons, economic migrants, and persons moving for other purposes, including family reunification.

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