Migration data in Southern Asia

The densely populated sub-region of Southern Asia, encompassing 1.94 billion people (UN DESA, 2020) in nine countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – has been shaped by major migratory movements, both within the sub-region and globally. 

As well as hosting significant populations of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), it is also one of the most important regions of origin for international labour migrants, in particular to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Pre-COVID-19, emigrants from Southern Asia had sent an estimated 20 per cent of all remittances globally to their countries of origin in 2019 (World Bank, 2020). 

As the region contains some of the world’s most disaster-prone countries (IOM, 2016), the number of people at risk of displacement due to environmental disasters is high.