Emerging markets shifts migration from U.S., Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland towards Mexico, China, India, Brazil.

What was economic theory a decade ago is now playing out in the most concrete of ways: altered migration patterns. Workers are voting with their feet to join these emerging economies, while traditional magnets for the world’s workers, such as the United States, are losing their lustre.

… Madeleine Sumption, policy analyst at the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute [says] “We’re seeing lower migration to crisis nations, whereas most of the growth is towards developing nations.”

[….] Mexican Americans are returning home, for example, and Spanish graduates are emigrating to Chile and Chinese scientists in the U.K. are leaving to return home. […]

Here is the world that was, as told through key flows in labour migration:

1. U.S. to Mexico: Illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States has stalled, with arrests of people trying to cross the border tumbling to a 40-year low. At the same time, a growing number of Mexicans in the U.S. are returning home, [….]

2. U.S., Europe and Canada to China: The Chinese government’s Thousand Talents Program aims to attract overseas workers to create a highly skilled work force by 2020. It is building world-class universities and offering scientists well-heeled labs to get them back. [….]

3. U.S. to India: […] 300,000 Indian professionals working overseas are expected to return there in the next five years, a recent report by employment firm Kelly Services estimates. [….]

4. Eastern Canada to the prairie provinces: [….] Alberta and Saskatchewan tallied the strongest population growth in the country in the third quarter. [….]

5. Portugal to Brazil and Angola: [….] Brazil’s jobless rate, at 5.8 per cent, is less than half that of Portugal, at 12.4 per cent, and the country is facing skilled-labour shortages as it prepares for the 2016 Olympics and 2014 World Cup of soccer. Other Portuguese job-seekers are moving to Angola to work in the country’s booming natural-resources sector.

6. Ireland to elsewhere: Ireland … re-emerged as a country of net emigration in 2009 for the first time since 1995, reporting the highest net outflows in the European Union, according to the Migration Policy Institute. [….]

7. Spain to Chile and Argentina: […] Spain’s jobless rate, at 22.8 per cent, is the highest in Europe and its youth-unemployment rate is approaching 50 per cent. In contrast, Chile and Argentina’s jobless rates have ebbed to about 7.2 per cent (in Argentina’s case, it’s a 20-year low). [….]

8. Greece to Australia and Germany: […]  fourth year in a row of contraction, austerity measures kick in and joblessness runs at a record high of 17.7 per cent. Some young graduates are heading north to Germany. Others are headed to Australia, [….]

9. Libya to Algeria/Niger/Chad: … Arab Spring … real shift was to neighbouring countries, as unrest in Libya prompted more than 100,000 migrant workers to flee to their home countries. [….]

10. Tajikistan to Russia: Millions of workers from Tajikistan and other Central Asian nations have fled dire poverty at home to work in Russia. Most work in construction or other low-paid, temporary jobs. […]

11. Myanmar to Thailand: […] Most of Thailand’s migrant workers come from Myanmar, with the remaining portion from Cambodia and Laos. Thailand’s severe flooding this year has been especially hard on its migrant-worker population, thousands of whom lost their jobs and homes, along with their legal status, and were forced to return to Myanmar.

12. Japan to Brazil: [….] Since Brazil’s economy began booming in 2008, fewer Brazilians are emigrating and some have returned, including a third of the ethnic Japanese Brazilians who had moved to Japan, according to the Brazilian Communities Abroad Office of the Foreign Ministry.

Sources: Migration Policy Institute, International Organization for Migration, Migration News, news wires, The Economist.

Infographic from hardcopy newspaper is unfortunately not available online. “Where are the world’s labourers migrating for jobs? Think China” | Tavia Grant | Dec. 20, 2011 ]The Globe and Mail at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/where-are-the-worlds-labourers-migrating-for-jobs-think-china/article2287658/singlepage/#articlecontent.

Where are the world's labourers migrating for jobs? Think China - The Globe and Mail