UN World Youth Report



WYR 2013 Chapter Four

Chapter Four: Challenges Faced by Migrant Youth in Destination Societies

The experiences of migrant youth in destination societies vary greatly owing to differences in migration motives, gender and migration status. Pre-arrival and post-arrival experiences are crucial, as together they determine whether the migration process will have a positive or negative impact on the migrants.

Access to social networks

These stories illustrate how important social networks can be both for potential young migrants and for those who have already migrated. Immediate and extended family, friends and acquaintances, community groups, religious centers, and other individuals and organizations frequently help these young people adjust to their new surroundings by offering them a place to stay, information on how to find work, and an introduction to the lifestyle of their new community or country. Support from social networks is often temporary, with emphasis on meeting basic survival needs and facilitating the integration of newly arrived migrants. Such networks provide critical assistance, though they can also be a source of tension and conflict among young migrants.


Immediate and extended family members from the country or community of origin usually bear at least part of the financial cost of migration for youth pursuing outside work opportunities. In return, these relatives expect to receive remittances once the young migrant is employed.

The money these youth migrants or migrant parents send to family members or youth left behind tends to improve their social and economic welfare. The funds are often used to pay school fees, purchase clothing, and cover healthcare costs. In return, the children or family members still at home occasionally send gifts or locally available goods and supplies to their migrant parents.

Misinformation and misconceptions about migration and migrants still constitute one of the biggest challenges faced by Governments in countries of origin, transit and destination. The changing patterns of migration and the growing diversity of migrants—whether regular or irregular, permanent or temporary, male or female, old or young, and across the skill range—have further complicated migration issues and the lives of individual migrants and their families.

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The UN Focal Point on Youth aims to build awareness of the global situation of young people, as well as promote their rights and aspirations, working toward greater participation of young people in decision-making as a means for achieving peace and development.

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