A UN report released on Friday showed that global migration has slowed by nearly 30%, with around two million fewer people than predicted migrating between 2019 and 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The report has noted that COVID-19 has disrupted all forms of human mobility through the closing of national borders and halting of travel worldwide.
The report, International Migration 2020 Highlights, by the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), provides the latest estimates of the number of international migrants by country of destination, origin, age and sex for all countries and areas of the world.
The report showed that two-thirds of registered migrants lived in just 20 countries, with the United States at the top of the list, with 51 million international migrants in 2020.
Next came Germany with 16 million, Saudi Arabia with 13 million, Russia with 12 million and Britain with nine million.
India topped the list of countries with the largest diasporas in 2020, with 18 million Indians living outside their country of birth.
Some 281 million people were living outside their country of origin in 2020.
Other countries with a large transnational community include Mexico and Russia, each with 11 million, China with 10 million and Syria with eight million.
Diasporas contribute to the development of their countries of origin through the promotion of foreign investment, trade, access to technology and financial inclusion.
However, according to projections by the World Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic may reduce the volume of remittances sent to low-and middle-income countries from US$548 billion in 2019 to US$470 billion in 2021.
In 2020, the largest number of international migrants resided in Europe, with a total of 87 million.
Nearly half of international migrants resided in the region they came from, with Europe accounting for the largest share of intra-regional migration. Seventy percent of migrants born in Europe live in another European country.
Refugees account for some 12% of all international migrants, the report said, with around 80% hosted in low- and middle-income countries. (Source: The Straits Times)