Migration and Mobility in the Caribbean

Political, economic, and environmental factors continue to drive Caribbean migration trends. Recently and most significantly, the political crisis in Venezuela has jeopardized regional stability through South–South forced migration. Migrants fleeing the crisis have entered neighboring developing countries, such as Brazil, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago, threatening these states’ capabilities to cope with the influx of new arrivals. Given this political crisis, it is likely that 2020 will continue to witness increased numbers of Venezuelan migrants who are forced to cross the borders of Latin American and Caribbean states.

Looking beyond migration within the region, economic factors continue to be a significant feature of Caribbean nationals’ international migration to the developed countries of the UK, Canada, and the US. Contract and seasonal labor migration as well as work and study programs dominate the international migration trends in the region. Temporary workers and the repatriation of their earnings benefit migrant-sending and migrant-receiving countries respectively. Given the benefits derived from labor migration, these trends are likely to continue in 2020.

Environmentally induced migration and the impact of climate change is another trend to continue monitoring in the coming year. In 2019, northwest Bahamas was devastated by a Category 5 hurricane, leaving at least 50 people dead and thousands more missing.

Political and economic trends have tended to push Caribbean migrants to move between countries, with environmental issues forcing internal migration. In 2020, international migration from Caribbean countries to developed ones is likely to remain strong, and domestic migration and South–South regional migration is also likely to intensify as geopolitical instability and the effects of climate change continue.

BBC News. 2018. ‘Venezuela’s migration crisis: Is enough being done?’ September 19.
Council on Foreign Relations. 2018. ‘A Venezuelan Refugee Crisis’.
February 15.
International Organization for Migration. Migration in Jamaica: A Country Profile (2018).
Stelloh, Tim. 2019. ‘More Hurricane Dorian deaths confirmed in the Bahamas’. NBC News. November 21.

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