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Episode 151 - Arati Maleku: Human Migration in the 21st Century: Implications for the Social Work Profession

Monday, September 15, 2014, 7:26:17 AM

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Human migration is a natural phenomenon as old as humanity. Some people leave their places of origin to escape natural or human-caused calamities. Others leave to find better economic circumstances. And, for some, it may be the adventure of new and exciting experiences. In this episode, Arati Maleku discusses current trends in human migration, explains some of migration's challenges and opportunities, and offers suggestions on social work practice with migrant populations.

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Average Rating: 4.7 stars (3 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 5stars  human migration, Saturday, February 07, 2015

By Nadejda Lisencu :

Listening to this podcast I could not agree more with Ms. Maleku that the process of migration has added a new dimension in the social work profession. Social workers must now have a more broad outlook than before in seeking to address the needs and experiences of individuals from different ethnic, cultural and political backgrounds.
Ms. Maleku mentioned that there are a lot of undocumented migrants, which are often underprivileged of basic; often they have little or no access to housing, education, social welfare, healthcare and employment potentially leading to situations such as poverty. As social workers it is our duty to support these individuals to meet their basic needs, but also to access information and advice about their rights. Having gone through similar steps I understood that being an immigrant is a unique structural barrier that deserves attention from the social work profession.
The process of migration can be very challenging to every migrant, especially for refugees who leave their countries as a result of adverse political, religious, economic, and climate change related factors. Most of these migrants experience trauma in their country of origin, so more services on helping these individuals overcome trauma could benefit them and their families. Once settled in a new country, most migrants must adapt to the new way of life, new social values, culture and new language, which can also lead to feelings of anxiety and stress. Unfortunately many newcomers are excluded from the job market due to lack of experience, poor language skills or non-recognition of foreign credentials, where social workers need to be prepared with specific knowledge and skills in order to better serve new people in the country. Other than providing social services, immigrant service organizations can play an advocacy role politically in fighting and eliminating all forms of racism and discrimination in the areas of social services.

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Average Rating: 5stars  new pathways, contributing factors at play for contemporary migrants, Sunday, February 01, 2015

By Sarah C. Richards-Desai :

Ms. Maleku draws on her personal, professional, and academic experience when describing the multifaceted phenomenon of human migration in the 21st century. Framing migration as a natural part of the human experience, she shares contextual information about migration trends before focusing the discussion on how the causes, scope, location, and demographics of migrants have changed. Maleku states that 4% of the world's population now lives outside of their nation of origin. While this seems like a small number, Maleku tells us that this is the same number as the population of Brazil, the 5th most populous nation in the world.

The arena of migration has shifted from the U.S., Canada, and Australia to Europe and the Gulf States, according to Maleku. More women and families are migrating, and approximately half of migrants are female. Maleku also describes shifting trends in migration policy, the ethical considerations involved for destination countries, and the complex push and pull factors contributing to migration. The implications of circular migration include some losses for nations of origin, which experience of “brain drain” as highly-skilled,well-educated citizens relocate.

Describing the primary forms of migration as voluntary (those who choose to relocate), involuntary (those fleeing natural or human-caused catastrophe), and forced (in the case of forced labor and trafficking), Maleku outlines multilevel interventions that social workers and policy makers might consider. She addresses the importance of retaining the humanity of all participants in the discourse on contemporary human migration. She describes the need to understand the perceived gains and losses on different sides. While there are fears about scarce welfare resources, Maleku reminds us that migrants increase workforce productivity, build populations in nations with low birthrates, contribute toward social programs, bring professional and academic ability, and bring cultural diversity.

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Average Rating: 4stars  human migration vrs social work profession, Tuesday, January 27, 2015

By Nzor, R. :

As an immigrant in the United States, I found this podcast very revealing. Miss Arati Maleku indicated some of the factors that trigger human migration; ranging from war, enslavement, search for economic opportunities, and so on. Using myself as an example, I came to United States in July 2011 to further my education. It was very hard to get access to relevant course materials for academic pursuit back home. Therefore, I decided to come to the United States for better education. That is to say, people continue to move from one place to the other in search for better and more meaningful life, making human migration inevitable as she rightly posited.

Miss Arati gave a superb relationship between human migration and Social Work Profession. She mentioned the need for Social Workers to be culturally competent in order to make vital impacts on migrants. I totally agree with her on this point. I believe cultural competence; that is understanding the specific cultural, language, social and economic distinctions of particular people and families is more vital than ever. It can be strongly argued that effective care is impossible without a working knowledge and understanding of a person’s or group’s culture and background. As we move into an ever more pluralistic and multicultural society as a result of human migration, Social Workers should be trained to provide care and to empower people from all backgrounds to lead connected, healthy lives.

She also indicated progressive research in the field of Social Work so as to discover new insights which can contribute to policy making and institutional changes on the area of human migration, and more importantly, to improve on the services provided for migrants. Thus, Social Work can contribute to human migration in the 21st century by assisting migrants to get affordable housing, access education, quality healthcare, etc. These are human rights sensitive and I think it should be a priority in the field.









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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.