Migration is a subject which is in the
headlines almost every single day. Having good data is critical to the way we
govern migration issues One hundred and fifty million. That’s the number of migrant workers in the world today and they account for nearly
three-quarters of the migrant population who are fifteen years of age or older. I’m Michelle Leighton, chief of the Labour Migration branch at the International Labour Organization. Our new report, Global Estimates of Migrant Workers, clearly defines the magnitude of labour migration and strongly confirms that most people move across borders in search of work This study tells us a great deal about the link between migration and the world of work. Among migrant workers 83.7 million are men and 66.6 million are women. Let me give you a few examples. The report reveals that there are a series of important gender differences in labor migration data. For example, a migrant woman is much more likely to be in the labor force than a woman who is not a migrant. Migrant women, more than their
male counterparts are more likely to be working in service industries such as domestic work and to be in North America or a developed economy of Europe. Labour migration is a phenomenon though, that concerns all regions of the world and almost half of migrant workers are concentrated in two broad sub-regions Northern America and northern, southern and western Europe. Data show that migrants are highly concentrated in high-income countries presumably where they find more avenues of employment opportunities. This is particularly true for migrant domestic workers 80% of whom are in high-income countries where we know there is a steady demand for workers in the care economy. The data also present the distribution of migrant workers across a broad spectrum of economic sectors such as services, including domestic work, as well as manufacturing, construction and agriculture. The need for data and for protecting migrant workers are supported by the goals and targets of the new 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Reliable, high-quality and up-to-date statistics on labour migration, and good data all around are key to helping counter misperceptions about migrants and their contributions to labour markets and to society as a whole. They are also critical to well-informed policy-making and to maximize the development gains of migration for countries of origin, destination and for migrant workers themselves. The ILO looks forward to building data and knowledge in support of the Sustainable Development Agenda and to helping migrant workers worldwide.