Back to search

Europe and Central Asia Economic Update, October 2017 : Migration and Mobility

Public concerns in Europe and Central Asia over the recent sharp increase in asylum seekers and undocumented migrants seem to reflect a broader anxiety about reduced job security, caused by technological developments and internationalization of production and work.

Policy reforms should help both migrants and non-migrants cope with increased and unavoidable flexibility in labor markets.

Migration patterns are likely to change with technological progress and further crossborder connectivity, and competition for high-quality jobs will become more intense. Reforms should help both migrants and nonmigrants cope with the inevitable increase in flexibility in labor markets—by, for example, ensuring the portability of benefits, increasing income security for workers, and better integrating migrants in host countries. ( country profiles, economic cases, tables)

Glossary: Migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers

  • Asylum seeker: Person who has applied for asylum in a country and is in the process of having his or her refugee status determined. After an application has been processed, an asylum seeker may be granted refugee status or some other form of (often temporary) humanitarian or subsidiary protection status (if returning to the country of origin would put the individual’s life or person at risk). The application may also be rejected, requiring the individual to leave the country. International migrant: Person who changes his or her country of residence, irrespective of the reason. Most countries define migrants as people who were born in another country. A few countries use citizenship as the criterion. About 3 percent of the world’s people are migrants. Refugees make up only a small share (7–8 percent) of the world’s international migrants.
  • Irregular or undocumented migrant: Person who has entered, stayed, or worked in a country without a proper visa, residence, or work permit or in violation of laws for foreigners.
  • Refugee: According to the 1951 Geneva Convention, someone “who is outside his or her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a wellfounded fear of being persecuted because of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail him- or herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution.” Regional refugee definitions (such as the 1969 Organization of African Unity Convention and the Cartagena Declaration) also include people displaced by armed conflict and violence. Recent guidelines from the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR 2016a) also suggest that people displaced by armed conflict and violence fall under the 1951 Convention definition.
Citation “World Bank. 2017. Europe and Central Asia Economic Update, October 2017 : Migration and Mobility. Washington, DC. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”