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The poor migrants versus the millionaire migrants

MS Siddiqui | August 01, 2018

Acceleration of migration and human mobility marks the present times.

Approximately 214 million people or about three per cent of the world's
population live outside their countries of origin. The United Nations
Department of Economics and Social Affairs (UNDESA) defines international
migrants as persons living outside of their country of birth.

The classical theory for migration is based on "push" and "pull" factors.
There are situations that force people from a country or region to other
country or region. There may be some issues or things other than push and
pull factors. The reason(s) for leaving one's home can vary: difficulty in
survival, religious or political persecution, lack of opportunities, an
adventurous inclination etc. Forced migration is becoming ever more
prevalent as a result of civil, political and religious persecution and conf lict.

One might feel attracted to any region because of better job or business
opportunities, more religious and/or political freedom, an atmosphere
conducive for intellectual and cultural practices etc. Different global and
regional inequalities in terms of social and economic parameter are
expressed most powerfully through the migrants who cross borders in search
of work, education and new horizons. Migrants are moving around the world,
and shaping up the lands and cultures.

There are many countries such as the US and Australia, which are often
cited as example of lands of the migrants. In 2016, a record number of
American citizens living abroad decided to renounce their US citizenship. A
total of 5,411 persons, accounting for a 26 per cent year -on-year increase,
decided to no longer remain the American citizens. The mass exodus picked
up steam in the fourth quarter of 2016, just after Donald Trump was elected

Many of the migrants, however, have not necessarily chosen to do so. There
is a common impression that migrants are poor or starving people who leave
their places of origin to go to other countries to survive. Such an image is
supported by pictures of people shipwrecked in the Mediterranean Sea or
reports about illegal immigrants suffocated inside the floor of small boats and
closed containers in trains. The Forbes list of the world's billionaires offers
an international look at elite-level migration. The number of millionaire
migrants increased by 28 per cent 2016 from the previous year. Mil lionaires
can avail the migration as money provides a highly effective means to
escape their home country when time gets tough for them. They can pack
their bags, and move their family and capital to a location that will provide
superior opportunities for prosperity.

According to migration management specialists, rich people are keen to

obtain a second passport. They prefer visa -free travel, family security,
expanding businesses, preservation of wealth and avoidance of double
taxation agreements are some of the few benefits that these individuals wish
to attain when looking for an alternative citizenship. As for example, high net
worth expats living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed a 42 per cent
increase in overall demand for a second nationality a nd passport in 2017.

Migrant labour is desirable and necessary to sustain economic growth.

Migration is important for the transfer of manpower and skills. It facilitates
spread of knowledge and encourages innovation for global growth. A recent
study by the European Commission has shown that the employable age
within Europe's population by 2030 will decrease by 20 million, and the
percentage of people over 65 will increase from about 23 per cent to 40 per
cent. This decrease in the workforce will see an incr ease in the number of
dependents and consequently a stagnation, or decline, in the economic
growth and competitiveness of the region.

A United Nations report published in 2000 stated that the number of migrants
needs to get doubled to maintain the size of the working population. In fact,
the European Commission (EC) argues that without steady migration by
2050, the EU will need two workers to pay for one pensioner. The only
solution is inviting migrant workers to meet the challenge of shortage.
Already, there are 40 million foreign-born, that includes about 30 million
working migrants, in the EU aged over 25.

The EC has also stated that it is assumed that the developed countries will
absorb 4.0 per cent of the population growth in developing countries. W ith an
estimated net migration of one million people to Europe, this means 100
million people by 2050.

MILLIONAIRES ON THE MOVE: Global statistics reveal that not only the
poor people, but also the rich may lack happiness. Many of the world's
millionaires are on the move. An analysis of the list of migrants shows that
most of the world's billionaires still live in their country of birth and that the
migrants became wealthy after migration with their parents as children or
they had basically migrated as overseas students. Only a small percentage
of world billionaires moved abroad after they had become successful. These
individuals readily fit the stereotype of a "transnational capitalist class" -
unplugged from their nation state, travelling the world for some combination
of tax avoidance and cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Let's take a look at the New W orld W ealth report on global wealth and wealth
migration trends in 2016. There are many countries deemed lucrative for
millionaires. According to the report, global wealth migration is accelerating.
Approximately, 82,000 millionaires migrated in 2016, compared to just 64,000
in the previous year (2015). Australia, for the second straight year, is the top
country across the world for millionaire inflows, beating out traditio nal
destinations such as the US and the UK. An estimated 11,000 millionaires
moved to Australia in 2016 compared to 10,000 that moved to the US and
3,000 to the UK. Australia has one of the best healthcare systems in the
world. In the UK, the National Heal th Service (NHS) is deteriorating.

The millionaires of a country are often the first people to leave. They have
the means to leave unlike the middle class citizens. They remain concerned
about crime, treatment of woman and safety of woman, financial concer n of
their investment, schooling and higher opportunity for their children, easy
business transfer, lower tax, better healthcare system, religious and racial
tensions, better lifestyle to avoid climate, pollution, space, nature and
scenery and above all the standard of living etc.

'BEGUM PARA' SYNDROME: Unfortunately, there is a different migration

scenario among the Bangladeshis. About 8.0 million not -so-educated workers
are working mostly in the Middle-East with few more living in the west. A
recent second home project of Malaysia has also attracted Bangladeshis.
Most of them went there as migrants with some going for higher studies and
getting nationality of the country.

The migration of some people are not in conformity with the law of
Bangladesh as remittance from Bangladesh is restricted. The Anti -Corruption
Commission (ACC) has identified 1,050 Bangladeshi citizens having invested
in Malaysia to build their second home under the 'Malaysia My Second Home
(MM2H)' programme. Bangladesh was ranked third am ong the top 10
countries after China and Japan to avail the Malaysian scheme. Currently,
Bangladeshi citizens have 10.6 per cent share in the investor programme.

Available data show that the migrants to the W est and Malaysia are mostly
from the middle class. They are from varied professions - not only from
business background. A majority of them have somehow earned money
illegally and transferred to these countries and living there with family at the
end of their life.
Some of the citizens of different prof essions sent their children to foreign
land for higher studies. As these children obtain citizenship in due course of
time, parents too join them after retirement. There is no consistency in the
income of those parents and the cost of their children's educ ation. In many
cases mothers accompany children in their own houses in those countries
while the fathers stay back home in Bangladesh doing their jobs. This is
popularly called "Begum Para" in the west. Fathers join the families after
their retirement. They are middle class by profession, but live like
millionaires. This happens as the source of money in Bangladesh is not
always known to the tax authorities.

The poor and illiterate migrants send money to Bangladesh while many of the
middle class, with some millionaires among them, are taking money from
here to other countries.

MS Siddiqui is a Legal Economist.