The 2013 World Youth Report offers a broad understanding of the situation of young migrants from the perspective of young migrants themselves. The report highlights some of the concerns, challenges and successes experienced by young migrants based on their own lives and told in their own voices.
Young people move within their home countries as internal migrants, or beyond their borders as international migrants. The report focuses largely on the phenomena of international migration which increasingly has a significant impact on the origin, transit and destination countries and communities. The consequences are complex, context-specific and subject to change over time. They may be influenced by factors such as the type of migration, migrant category, national migration policies, and programmatic interventions that are in place in a particular locale.
Young people and youth-led organizations working on migration have on several occasions requested the United Nations look at the situation of youth migrants. The literature on youth migration and its development impact in countries of origin and destination is sparse. This report attempts to fill this gap and offers a comprehensive account of the life experiences of young migrants.
The structure of the report takes into consideration both the dimensions of processes and types of migration. The struggles and opportunities young migrants face often differ according to the type of migration. The report is aimed at youth-led organizations and young migrants as well as policy-makers, academia and the general public. The report itself and each chapter individually is designed to facilitate further discussion on the topic, and for that reason, chapters may sometimes entail minimal repetition from previous chapters. The suggested further reading list builds on the themes outlined in the chapter and provides additional information on understanding the experiences and the rights of young migrants, while the extensive references in the bibliography were selected to serve as a starting point for the discussion.
Chapter 1 provides basic information on migration and examines the impact of youth migration on individuals and communities. The chapter also highlights the mixed impact on youth left behind by migrant parents.
Chapter 2 examines the motivating factors behind young people’s migration decisions, the importance of information in preparing for and reducing the risks associated with migration, and the cost of migration and how it influences the choice of migration routes. The chapter concludes with an overview of the challenges potential youth migrants face and a set of recommendations for various stakeholders.
Chapter 3 focuses on the factors that influence the choice of transit countries in the migration process, the features of transit migration, and the challenges and opportunities young migrants are presented with while in transit. Special attention is given to the unique vulnerabilities of certain categories of young migrants in transit and how they should be addressed.
Chapter 4, young international and internal immigrants share the challenges they have faced in finding housing, securing employment, accessing healthcare services, and generally adapting to life in a new locale. The chapter offers some insight into their remittance behaviour and the challenges young returnees face in terms of social and economic reintegration in their places of origin.
Chapter 5 makes the case for youth awareness and engagement on migration and provides examples of how this is being done around the world. The chapter suggests that youth engagement in migration as well as in policy and programming will not only improve the situation of young migrants, but also will lead to better targeted and successful interventions.
The outcomes of this Report were informed by a number of consultative activities undertaken by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. These activities provided greater qualitative understanding of the experiences of young immigrants, return migrants, and other youth affected by migration. Having direct contributions from youth has ensured that the World Youth Report is based on the perspectives of young people who continue to comprise a significant proportion of international migrants, and is enhanced by the views of those affected by migration.