PHL migrant population growth among world’s top 5 in past 20 years — UN

THE GROWTH in the Philippines’ migrant population was the fifth-largest between 2000 and 2020, behind India, Syria, Venezuela and China, according to a study conducted by the United Nations (UN).

“Between 2000 and 2020, the size of the migrant population abroad grew for nearly all countries and areas of the world. India experienced the largest gain during that period (nearly 10 million), followed, in order of magnitude, by the Syrian Arab Republic, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, China and the Philippines,” the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) said in its “International Migration 2020 Highlights” report released Friday.

It estimated the migrant Filipino population at 6.1 million as of mid-2020, the largest such number in Southeast Asia, followed by Indonesia with 4.6 million nationals residing outside the country.

It said the number of migrants slowed last year due to the closure of borders during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The number of persons living outside their country of origin increased by 48 million between 2000 and 2010, and by another 60 million between 2010 and 2020.

This brought the total international migrant population to 281 million last year, or under 4% of the global population.

“In addition to living standards and wage differentials, migration decisions are shaped by a range of other factors, including individual aspirations, preferences and opportunities,” UN DESA said in the report.

“Flows of remittances to low- and middle-income countries are projected to decline in 2020 compared to pre-COVID-19 levels. For many countries, the reduction of remittances is likely to have serious financial and social impacts which, together with the contraction of other international financial flows due to the pandemic, will require national strategies and international cooperation to mitigate their effects,” it added.

The Philippines is among the leading destinations of remittances due to the size of the overseas Filipino worker population, sustaining consumer-driven growth that also cushions the economy from external shocks.

Cash remittances to the Philippines rose 0.3% year on year to $2.379 billion in November, according to the central bank. — Beatrice M. Laforga

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