In its simplest definition, globalization refers to the process involved in the integration of economic, political, and social activities of people or communities separated by geography or established national territories. A further definition involves a point of view that describes globalization as the process of emerging international networking and increasing interdependence of nations or states and governments across the world (Wells, Shuey, & Kelly, 38). Based on these definitions, it is easy to conclude that globalization has further fueled international migration, especially as nations or states become more lenient when it comes to accepting migrants due to their human resource needs or because of their adherence to regional agreements.
Humans have been migrating since time immemorial. Numerous studies in different fields have revealed that human migration predates written history. Take note of the Out of Africa Theory as an example in which modern humans were assumed to move out of the African continent about a hundred years ago (Cameron & Groves, 1-34). Modern history has also documented modern migration. Case in point is European colonization of the Americas as well as the territorial and trading expansion the Chinese and Arabs. These modern migrations became possible due to improvements in technology—especially maritime technology (Manning and Trimmer, 109-110). The most recent history and until modernity have proven that human migration is a continuous process although the emergence of sovereign nations and states have limited such movement due to national policies. However, with the advent of globalization, so-called international migration has become part of modern reality.
While the concept of globalization first appeared in the 1960s and became popular only in the 1980s, the globalization process has been ongoing for more than 500 hundred years. To be specific, the process has first appeared with the emergence of capitalism in Europe and the following expansion of capitalist world-system or free market economy across the globe. International migration became a possibility as the global free market capitalist economy of the world required movement of people for various reasons (Dickinson, 5-6). Two of the prevailing reasons and thus, examples of international migration due to globalization are the need to improve the human resource or human capital or a particle nation or state and the need for cross-border and cross-cultural interaction to promote regional economic integration.
The global capitalist economy resulted in a borderless economy in which nations and states participate in a free market completion to attract valuable migrants (Boeri, 1-4). There are many examples of such states and nations that have created policies that favored migration. Take note of Middle East countries for instance. In her guidebook about doing business in the Middle East, author Donna Marsh (chapter 2, eBook) mentioned that the expat population in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates form a considerable majority. In countries such as Kuwait and Bahrain, the expat population outnumbers the local population. The oil economies of these countries have resulted in the emergence of oil industries and other industries that require labor force. In addition, the skills and knowledge requirements have become diversified over time as their respective economy became diversified as well. The local population of each country alone is not enough to fulfill the labor force requirement. In addition, some locals are not qualified to certain jobs. Hence, these countries have allowed individuals from different countries to migrate and work to keep their economies afloat. Of course, the global economy will be affected if the economies of these oil-producing countries have become stagnant due to lack of human resource. It is also worth noting that countries that export labor force such as India and the Philippines benefit from this setup. Nonetheless, from a global economic perspective, there is a collective benefit from international migration.
Apart from human resource requirements, some countries have allowed international migration to promote regional economic integration. Take note of European Union as an example. The process of regionalization for economic integration—a specific sub-process of globalization arguable—has resulted in the need to craft migration policies that allow free movement among EU member states. In their introductory discussion for a book, editor Margaret Walton-Roberts and Jenna Hennebry (3-11) discussed that the migration policies of each member state have been eased out to promote free labor movement within the region, foster goodwill among countries, and promote not only cultural exchange but also transfer of knowledge, skills, and capabilities among nations and states. These migration policies strengthen the regional identity and capability of EU.
Nonetheless, the facts stated above might also suggest that globalization has fueled international migration. Some might argue otherwise—that international migration fuels globalization. However, the more appropriate argument is that none precedes one. Both globalization and international migration work hand-in-hand and in parallel. The examples provided, specifically international migration to Middle East countries to fulfill local labor force or human resource requirements and cross migration within the European Union to strengthen regionalization and economic integration, demonstrate that the concept of globalization pertains more to the creation of a borderless world that allows free movement of people.
Boeri, T. “Introduction.” In Ed. T. Boeri, Brain Drain and Brain Gain: The Global Competition to Attract High-Skilled Migrants. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2012
Cameron, D. W. & Groves, C. P. Bones, Stones, and Molecules: “Out of Africa” and Human Origins. CA: Elsevier Academic Press. 2004. Print
Dickinson, E. Globalization and Migration: A World in Motion. London: Rowman & Littlefield. 2016. Print
Manning, P. & Trimmer, T. Migration in World History. 2nd ed. Oxon: Routledge. 2013
Marsh, D. Doing Business in the Middle East: A Cultural and Practical Guide for All Business Professionals. London: Robinson. 2015. eBook
Walton-Roberts, M. & Hennebry, J. “The New Realities of European Migration, What does it Mean For Insiders and Outsiders?” In Eds. M. Walton-Roberts & J. Hennebry, Territoriality and Migration in the E.U. Neighborhood: Spilling Over The Wall. London: Springer. 2014. eBook
Wells, G. J., Shuey, R., & Kelly, R. Globalization. New York: Novinka Books. 2001. Print