Date: 1 October 2007
Location: United Nations Headquarters, New York

Coordinator: Sarah Rosengaertner


In the twentieth century, the world has witnessed a revolution in longevity. Older people make up for an increasing share of the world’s population. While the population in most developing countries continues to grow, some developed countries and countries in transition are experiencing a population decline, mainly due to low fertility rates.

This seminar will examine the impact of global ageing on international migration patterns and discuss the challenges it poses to national social security systems.

Ageing, the question of access to social security and migration patterns are interlinked in various ways: In some industrialized countries, a shrinking workforce has led to a growing recognition of the need for further immigration. Migrants in developed countries, who have reached retirement age, often face problems accessing pension and health care benefits. National social security systems are not designed to assure the transferability of those benefits across borders, if migrants decide to return home. In addition, retirees from developed countries are starting to migrate to regions where health care is more affordable.

This seminar will address these various interlinkages, and discuss emerging trends and policy responses from different world regions.

Highlight the impact of global ageing on international migration patterns and the challenges arising for national social security systems.

  • Raise awareness of the situation of elderly migrants as regards access to health care and pension benefits.
  • Discuss policy options for improving access to, and the transferability of social security schemes, as part of a comprehensive approach to migration management.

Additional Information

The seminar is designed for members of Permanent Missions responsible for the Second and Third Committees, and other matters where migration issues are of relevance. Representatives of UN and other international organizations, as well as civil society are welcome to attend. Registered participants are requested to regard their participation as a firm commitment.

The working language of this seminar will be English.


Summary report (pdf)
Information Note (pdf)
Programme (pdf)


Ageing and its impact on global migration patterns
Ms. Hania Zlotnik, Director, Population Division, UNDESA

Report on the 40th session of the Commission on Population and Development
Briefing on the negotiations and outcomes
Mr. Thomas Gass, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations

Migration of the elderly: Patterns in Asia
Ms. Mika Toyota, Research Fellow, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Transferability of pension and health care benefits
Mr. Robert Holzmann, Sector Director, Human Development Network, The World Bank

Background material

World population monitoring, focusing on the changing age structures of populations and their implications for development
Report of the UN Secretary-General to the 40th session of the Commission on Population and Development, April 2007

UNDESA World Economic and Social Survey 2007: Development in an Ageing World

Portability Regimes of Pension and Health Care Benefits for International Migrants
Robert Holzmann, Johannes Koettl, Taras Chernetsky

Régimes de transférabilité de pensions et des prestations de soins de santé pour les migrants internationaux
Robert Holzmann, Johannes Koettl, Taras Chernetsky

Related Links:

United Nations Programme on Ageing

Second World Assembly on Ageing, Madrid 2002