Stats and Trends: A Snapshot of Migrant Workers and Foreign Labor

No matter the country or the culture, migration affects everyone. There are many reasons for migration, but none are quite so powerful as finding work and better opportunities elsewhere.

Indeed, migrant workers make up 17.4% of the US workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But there’s more to it than just workforce numbers can tell us by themselves. Would you like to learn more about labor migration trends?

Keep reading to get the numbers and knowledge brief you need.

Migrant Workers are Only One Aspect of Migration

164 million of the 258 million total migrants worldwide are hoping to join the ranks of other foreign-born workers. That is, 64% of the total number are looking for work.

What is the composition of the remaining 36%?

There are about 4.8 million international students. That’s about 2% of the total migration for the year. Later, they often join the ranks of foreign-born workers using local networks in their country of study.

Refugees and displaced individuals number about 25.4 million and 68.5 million respectively. The combined 93.9 million, not including 50 million “irregular migrants” who could fall into these categories as well.

93.9 million represents 36% of the total migration numbers of 2017, which means some migrant workers started as, or currently are, refugees as well. This brings to light that a migrant worker, and any immigrant in general, can fall into more than one category simultaneously.

In any case, most migration is going toward North America (23%) and Europe (32%). Many people in Europe and North America complain of immigrants “stealing jobs” from the average native-born citizen.

Is that the case? Let’s take a look at the numbers.

The Myth that Migrant Workers Steal Blue-Collar Jobs

The Australian Home Affair’s 2019-2020 Migration Program Report shows the highest numbers of migrants in the program are coming from Asian countries like India and Pakistan. Interestingly there are 3,301 immigrants from the USA during the period, making the top 10 as well.

The “Skill” stream outcome accounted for 69.5% of the program. Of the Skill stream, almost 72% were in the professional sectors of:

  • Quantum information
  • Advanced digital data science
  • ICT
  • MedTech
  • Energy and mining technology

This is by no means an isolated event in the world, either.

The Big Picture of Migrant Workers

In the USA, of 27.5 million foreign-born workers 33.9% go into management, professional, and related occupations.

Sales, office administration, natural resources, construction, maintenance, production, transportation, and material moving see only a 1.2% difference.

Foreign-born workers in the 2019 report only constitute 21.14% of the numbers of all employed persons 16 years and over, though.

Remembering that MedTech in the Australian brief is 26% of the professionals, that means that the majority of migrant workers are going into skilled labor. Up to 55.4% could be estimated to reach mid- to high-income levels. This matches data in Australia quite closely.

The UN, Australia, USA, and other destination countries need data to be able to implement plans that affect millions of migrants worldwide. For that reason, entities like Stratt Consulting (found here at http://stattconsultingblog.com.au/) take a global approach to interpreting data for interested parties. Going even further, they figure out how to do something meaningful with it.

It isn’t an easy task that has an easy solution.

The only thing that will work to solve migration issues and make future projections is a holistic and global approach to understanding it.

Global Snapshot: Migrant Movement Patterns and Migrant Workers

Migrant workers stretch across the spectrum of low- to high-income, just as native populations do. The myths surrounding migrant workers are thin and flimsy arguments, and what you saw today is just the tip of the iceberg.

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