Human migration is movement by humans from one area to another, sometimes over long distances or in large groups. Historically this movement was nomadic, often causing significant conflict with the indigenous population and their displacement or cultural assimilation. Only a few nomadic people have retained this form of lifestyle in modern times.
Migration has continued under the form of both voluntary migration within one’s region, country, or beyond and involuntary migration, which includes the slave trade, trafficking in human beings and ethnic cleansing.
Historically migration was a large extent involuntary or out of desperation, with a smaller proportion of people migrating by the attraction from new opportunities. For example the Viking raids was to some extent started by the Viking population in Scandinavia exceeding the agricultural potential of their homeland and reforms allowing only the oldest son to inherit his father. Younger sons were thus tempted to emigrate or go on raids.
Nowadays migration to take opportunities is becoming increasingly important and we have a new name for this, talent attraction. Migration is becoming increasingly more about the “pull” from opportunities and demand for talented people than about the “push” from overpopulation and too extensive labour supply. I am myself a migrant, having moved from my native Sweden to France in 1997 for a career opportunity.
Quite a number of people I know have in the past 3-5 years moved to China, where they find a job market that is much better to offer them opportunities and good compensation than they had in todays Europe.
For the big perspective, in the video below the Economist explains on how immigrants help both the countries they leave and those to which they move, through meeting excess demand for workers and through remittances.
Ireland is an interesting case in point here. Over the last few years it has gone from suffering a mass exodus of talent, to attracting it back in droves with the boom of the country’s IT and tech sector.
China used to have a strong job market for foreign talent, but I believe this is dwindling as the numbers of Western-educated, bi-lingual young Chinese grow.