What is the migration process

What are the causes of migration?  

Push and pull factors


When asked about the causes of migration, a distinction is made between push and pull factors. "Push factors" are the reasons why people leave a country. Attractive conditions in a host country that encourage immigration are referred to as "pull factors". There are three categories of important push and pull factors.


Sociopolitical Factors


Persecution based on ethnicity, religion, political or racial motives leads to people being forced to leave their country. War and (threatened) conflicts as well as violence and persecution by governments are among the main causes of flight. People fleeing armed conflict, human rights abuses or persecution are mostly humanitarian refugees.


In recent years, numerous people have fled conflict, terror and persecution to Europe. Of the 295,800 asylum seekers granted protection in the EU in 2019, more than a quarter came from Syria. Afghanistan and Iraq ranked second and third of the main countries of origin, respectively.


Our infographic provides an overview of the number of asylum applications in the EU.


Demographic and economic factors


Migration and demographic change are closely linked. Whether a society grows, ages or tends to become younger has an impact on economic growth and employment opportunities in the countries of origin as well as the migration policy in the countries of destination.


Economic migration is significantly influenced by existing employment standards and unemployment rates as well as the general economic situation of a country. The pull factors thus include higher wages as well as better job opportunities, living standards and educational prospects. If the economic conditions in a country are not favorable and there is a risk of further deterioration, the number of people who migrate to countries with better prospects increases.


According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), there were around 164 million migrant workers worldwide in 2017, i.e. people who had emigrated for employment reasons. They made up almost two thirds of all international migrants. Almost 70 percent worked in high-income countries, 18.6 percent in middle-income countries (upper income bracket), 10.1 percent in middle-income countries (lower income bracket), and 3.4 percent in low-income countries.


Environmental factors


Environmental factors have always been a motor for migration: people flee natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes and earthquakes. The exacerbation of extreme weather events expected as a result of climate change is expected to be accompanied by an increase in environmental migration.


The International Organization for Migration (IOM) defines environmental migrants as persons "who are forced to leave their usual place of residence temporarily or permanently, and either within their own, due to sudden or progressive changes in the environment which adversely affect their life or living conditions Move to another country or go abroad ".


Often it is not just environmental changes that cause people to build up an existence in another place. Factors such as population growth, poverty, governance, security and conflict also play a role. It is estimated that by 2050 25 million to 1 billion people will be affected by environmental migration.


New EU migration package


The effective management of migration, the reception of asylum seekers and the protection of the external borders have been priorities for the EU for many years. On September 23, 2020, the European Commission presented a new asylum and migration package. It proposes improved and faster procedures in the EU asylum and migration system. The package includes a revision of the Dublin Regulation, which defines which EU country is responsible for processing an asylum application.