The impact of migration on families around the world

Migration has been an on going phenomena from past to present. Individuals, families or group of people may leave a country voluntarily because of events such as harsh environmental or economic conditions. Migration has always been an important part of human endeavour. Migration can have positive and negative impacts on the families and also the country. With pros such as freedom, job vacancies and benefits to host country, it’s no surprise most people don’t have second thoughts about the cons such as effects on child, decrease in economy and propagation of diseases.

Firstly migrants frequently settle in places with lesser population. These places would be having a shortage of skilled labour due to the decreased population. The migrants bring with them enough skills that will help support the economy. The migrants may be skilled people like doctors or unskilled people like construction workers. Migrants may increase unemployment in certain areas, but this is compensated by their raising the overall level of demand like housing and household related goods, needs…This promotes both a higher level and a wider range of goods and services produced, stimulating the economy and job growth. Migrants help to reduce labor shortages and also attract international traders through their foreign knowledge and language skills.

Secondly migrants will be usually willing to fill job vacancies that local people are unwilling to fill. These include jobs such as babysitting, cleaning and other activities. This is an advantage for the existing community. Migration benefits not only the migrants, but also the countries that receive them, and even the countries they have left. Migrants doing these jobs live a happy and free life in a country where they get equal opportunity and thereby secure a better future for themselves and their families. For many young people, the experience and skills they acquire in the jobs to which they have migrated can serve as a step to further migration for better paid jobs.

In addition to this researchers concur unanimously in reporting that migratory workers use part of their savings from working to improve their homes, whether by decorating them, extending them or introducing basic services such as electricity, water and drainage. Similarly, it is common to find that localities with migrants benefit from their contributions by receiving monetary support that helps them to improve diverse services, whether urban infrastructure, health, religious, educational or entertainment services. In towns with migrants it is common to find acknowledgments from the residents to their fellow townsmen for having helped them build a school or health clinic, or to introduce drinking water or build or improve the church,….

However the importance of keeping in regular contact: e-mails and text messages can in no way substitute for the physical presence of a parent, but they can help a child feel connected with family members who are away. Finally, there is the importance of the family’s relations and communication before the migration. Many parents presumably do not migrate unless they think their children can cope in the first place. A factor found to be extremely important is the child’s understanding of, and support for, the family goal. In fact, an individual’s migration can be highly valued within a family: it can give status, not only for the material objects the migration may bring, but in more symbolic form of being the family member who gives for others. Some of these observations might be extrapolated to the situation of children affected by HIV and AIDS.

Moreover it is generally believed that those migrants who have had the courage to leave one country and move to another are often enterprising and entrepreneurial, even if poor. As such, in many countries, migrants often set up small businesses. They however, become easy targets when the general economic conditions in that host country worsen. In other cases, people become migrants because they have fleed worsening conditions or persecution. In that situation, although they may live in another country, it may initially be quite difficult to adapt and change practices and customs. In such situations migrants are clearly seen as different and in worsening economic times can be seen as sapping away resources that could otherwise have been used for local populations.

Furthermore migrating parents may decide, whether by choice or due to untenable circumstances to leave their children in their country of origin, planning either to return to their household of origin or to reunite much later in their destination country. The decision of one or both parents to migrate and consequently, to leave children behind, may be the result of an individual altruistic decision to send remittances in order to make their family members’ lives better, or the result of household utility maximization that may take into consideration also the risks and perils of travel. Children whose parents are working abroad have a similar profile to those living in mono-parental families resulting from the parents’ separation or from the death of one parent. This shows that, although the work abroad is temporary, the impact on the children could be similar to that of the loss of a parent, through divorce or death.

In conclusion, children whose parents are working abroad should be considered at risk. That would be a first recommendation to children protection authorities, who should find solutions to strengthen the relations between school and the social services system. For many migrants, migration represents an alternative for supporting their families. Nevertheless, while going to work abroad contributes significantly to household incomes, it also has many social costs. Migration also affects social relations. Migration also changes the roles within the family additional tasks must be assumed by those left behind.

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