In 2005, Asia hosted 53 million out of the world's 191 million migrants according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Intra-regional labour migration within Asia Pacific has increased since the late 1990s, driven by globalisation and disparities in labour demand and wage opportunities in the region. Rising labour mobility has shown positive impacts on employment, consumer spending and economic growth as migrant workers enhance the flow of remittances, trade and investment in the region. However, it can also be a source of social tensions.
While the majority of Asia Pacific migrants traditionally went to the West and the Middle East, the largest migration flows are now within the region. Migration within the Asia Pacific region is characterised by the rising movement of workers from one country to another on short-term contracts as the region's labour markets have become more integrated.