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Number of migrant workers across world stands at 164m in 2017: ILO

FE Report | December 06, 2018 00:00:00

The number of migrant workers stood at 164 million in 2017 across the globe, a 9.0 per cent rise since 2013, according to the latest estimate of International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The ILO estimated 150 million as migrant workers in 2013.

"Most people move across borders in search of better work opportunities," it noted.

The majority of migrant workers - 96 million - are men, while 68 million are women. This represents an increase in the share of men among migrant workers, from 56 per cent to 58 per cent, and a decrease by two percentage points in women's share, from 44 per cent to 42 per cent.

The 164 million account for 70.1 per cent of the 234 million working age migrant population (15 years and over).

The findings were revealed Wednesday by the ILO in its second edition of 'Global Estimates on International Migrant Workers'.

Nearly 87 per cent of migrant workers are of prime working age, between 25 and 64 years old suggesting that some countries of origin are losing the most productive segment of their workforce, according to the report.

"This could have a negative impact on their economic growth," it added.

"While growing numbers of women have been migrating autonomously in search of employment in the past two decades, the discrimination they often face because of their gender and nationality reduces their employment opportunities in destination countries compared to their male peers," said Manuela Tomei, Director of the ILO Conditions of Work and Equality Department.

The report, however, attributed the increase in the number of migrant workers to the migrant population growth, partially also due to the addition of about 19 million refugees.

Of the 164 million migrant workers worldwide, approximately 111.2 million or 67.9 per cent live in high-income countries, 30.5 million or 18.6 per cent in upper middle-income countries, 16.6 million or 10.1 per cent in lower middle-income countries and 5.6 million or 3.4 per cent in low-income countries.

Migrant workers constitute 18.5 per cent of the workforce of high-income countries, but only 1.4 to 2.2 per cent in lower-income countries, according to the report.

From 2013 to 2017, the concentration of migrant workers in high-income countries fell from 74.7 to 67.9 per cent, while their share in upper middle-income countries increased. This could be attributed to the economic development of the latter.

Nearly 61 per cent of migrant workers are found in three sub-regions; 23.0 per cent in North America, 23.9 per cent in Northern, Southern and Western Europe and 13.9 per cent in the Arab countries.

Other regions that host large numbers of migrant workers - above 05 per cent - include Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, South-Eastern Asia and the Pacific, and Central and Western Asia. In contrast, Northern Africa hosts less than one per cent of migrant workers.

The report also highlighted the importance of gathering more comprehensive and harmonized statistical data on migration at national, regional and global levels

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