External Migration – Concept, types, causes and consequences

We explain what external migration is and what its causes and consequences are. Also, the types of migration and some examples.

External migration
Many external migrations are motivated by armed conflicts.

What is external migration?

External migration or international migration is understood as that which comes from countries or regions different (and often far away) from the destination. In other words, we speak of external migration to distinguish it from migration from sectors of the same country or the same region. This is especially relevant if there is a border crossing between the regions of origin and destination.

This difference between external and internal migration allows the study and measurement of the migratory flow to and from a given region, thus building a migratory balance or migratory balance, which is the difference between emigration and immigration. Those countries whose citizens tend to migrate show negative migratory balances, while those who usually receive migrants show positive migratory balances. Note that these terms are mathematical in nature and not appreciative (a positive balance does not necessarily mean something good or bad).

Throughout history there have been enormous external migrations, especially those motivated by major war conflicts. When the capacities to receive the number of migrants surpasses a nation, refugee or displaced crises often occur, when not humanitarian crises.

Causes of external migration

External migration
Sometimes poor living conditions in the country of origin cause external migration.

External migrations can be due to different factors, such as:

  • Wars, military, political or civil conflicts, as well as other reasons of force majeure that force people to leave the country of origin (natural disasters).
  • Poor living conditions in the country of origin and better in the country of destination, which causes economic migration.
  • Personal reasons that lead to pursue immigration, such as falling in love or individual life opportunities.

Consequences of external migration

Similarly, external migrations have different consequences, such as:

  • Growth of the labor force in the destination country, as well as the demand for labor, consumption and the total amount of population.
  • Enrichment of the cultural, social and even genetic heritage in the destination community, thanks to the arrival of new individuals.
  • Growth of foreign investment, given that many migrants carry capital with them.
  • Contribution to the country of destination of new knowledge from the country of origin.

Types of migration

External migration - internal migration
A country can be both a recipient of immigrants and a producer of emigrants.

Human migrations They are usually understood according to their address: inside or outside a specific country. Thus, we can speak of emigration (when the migrants leave) and immigration (when the migrants arrive). A country can be both a recipient of immigrants and a producer of emigrants, but generally one of the two trends prevails.

Similarly we can speak of temporary migration, for those cases in which the migrant individual spends an indefinite time in the country of destination and subsequently returns to the country of origin, and permanent migration, when said return to origin does not occur, and the migrant joins the fixed population of the country of origin. destination.

Expand on: Types of migration

Examples of external migration

Throughout history there have been many, many examples of external migration. In the times of World War II, for example, the American continent received veritable waves of Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians and citizens of other European countries who were looking for new opportunities in territories free of conflict.

In recent times, on the other hand, citizens of African countries have sustained a prolonged external migration towards Europe, seeking better living conditions and fleeing in many cases from terrorist groups or Islamic radicalism. The same has happened within the South American continent, where the citizens of Venezuela have emigrated en masse to countries such as Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil and Argentina, reaching in a few years the figure of almost 4 million migrants, due to the brutal impoverishment of the quality of social, economic and political life in that country.

Internal migration

Internal migration
In internal migration, migrants come from regions of the same country.

Contrary to external migration, internal migration occurs within the borders of the same country or the same region, without changing nationalities in the process. This means that the migrants come from other regions of the same country, for example, as happened with the rural exodus during the 20th century, in which many inhabitants of the rural regions of the West migrated to the main cities of their countries, aspiring to join to industrial living and working conditions.

Follow in: Internal migration