Today is International Migrants Day, observed annually to promote the protection of the rights of migrant workers and their families.

In 1997, Filipino and other Asian migrant organisations began to celebrate and promote 18 December as the International Day of Solidarity with Migrants. Building on this initiative, the UN designated the day the official International Migrants Day in 2000.

The date was chosen as the assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers on 18 December 1990.

The day recognises the need to respect human rights and to promote international labour standards. It is also an opportunity to recognise the contributions made by millions of migrants to the economies of their host and home countries.

In October 2013, member states adopted a declaration which emphasised the need to encourage safe, orderly and regular migration, while condemning racism and intolerance.

"On International Migrants Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to shape diverse and open societies that provide opportunities and lives of dignity for all migrants," UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said in the statement.

Migrant construction labourers working in Dubai line up to board a bus to their labour camp for the night Getty

Migration facts and figures

There are around 232 million international immigrants in the world, a number which is increasing every year.

The number of immigrants living in Spain increased by almost eightfold between 1990 and 2013, from less than one million to over six million. Before the global recession, Spain's economy was mainly drawing migrants from Europe, North Africa and Latin America.

According to the Office for National Statistics, 325,000 people left Britain in the year leading up to June 2014.

Thousands of migrants die every year trying to reach Europe, Australia and the United States. Many more are detained or imprisoned.

The UK has a diverse immigrant community. According to the Herfindahl-Hirschman index, widely used by sociologists and demographers to measure the degree of concentration of human or biological populations, the diversity of immigrant birth countries in the UK on a scale of zero to 100 is 97.

The smuggling of migrants across borders and between continents by criminal organisations or individuals is a global concern. Smugglers take advantage of the large number of migrants willing to risk their lives in search of a better life, rendering them vulnerable to human rights abuses such as exploitation or trafficking.

Migrants from France live in more countries than migrants from any other nation. There are at least 1,000 French-born citizens living in 83 different countries and territories, of which the most popular are Spain and the United States.

One of the largest periods of immigration to the US was from the 1820s to the 1890s, when more than five million immigrants arrived from Ireland, Germany and elsewhere.

Nearly 14 million immigrants entered the US from 2000 to 2010.

The United Arab Emirates has the highest proportion of foreign-born people, who make up around 84% of its population. The largest numbers are from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh and the population has grown by nearly 500% in decent decades. As of 2013, the population is now 7.8 million, up from 1.3 million in 1990.

Migrant domestic workers in UAE are beaten, exploited and trapped into forced labour, according to an October 2014 report by Human Rights Watch.