According to the United Nations, in 2015, there were more than 244 million international migrants living abroad world wide (a 41% increase since 2000).
Some of these migrants were regufees, fleeing war zones or seeking political assylum. Specifically, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) identified more than 10.8 million Syrians as having been displaced (nearly half the total Syrian population) - mostly living abroad. In fact, Amnesty International pointed out that over 4.5 million Syrian refugees are living in just five countries.
In Europe, millions of migrants have flooded countries like Greece, Croatia, Austria, Germany, and France (among other EU nations). In the EU, 4 out 10 migrants were fleeing from Syria, but the remainder migrated from places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa.
Globally, however, the majority of international migrants living abroad in 2015 orginated from India, followed by Mexico, Russia, China and Bangladesh; and, although 2 out of 3 migrants lived in Europe or Asia, North America was the third largest host of international migrants.
International migrants are important to the global economy and to the domestic economies of many host countries. Wu Hongbo, U.N. Under-Secretary General of Economic and Social Affairs, explains, “the rise in the number of international migrants reflects the increasing importance of international migration, which has become an integral part of our economies and societies. Well-managed migration brings important benefits to countries of origin and destination, as well as to migrants and their families.”
Still, host countries have struggled and scrambled to manage the radical influx of migrants. Global threats from radical Islamic groups continue to be a real danger as was demonstrated in Paris, France in 2015, violent protests and assaults are condoned and carried out by unruly migrants that threaten the safety of natives in places like Cologne, Germany since the beginning of 2016, and experts suggest that Syria and Russia are using migrants as weapons against the West. It is no wonder that many host nations and their citizens have evoked mixed responses to the growing number of international migrants. Some call it a crisis.