Calling migration a human rights issue, Annan unveiled a team of experts who have been commissioned by the UN to carry out research into migration. They have been asked to present possible solutions to issues effecting migrants and their host countries by mid-2005.
"This is not only an economic issue, it is a human rights issue, too," Annan said. "Greater international cooperation is needed to fight smuggling and trafficking and to build more comprehensive regimes to protect the human rights of migrants."
Some 175 million people, or 3% of the world's population, live outside the country where they were born, while migrant workers repatriate about $88 billion per year in earnings, according to recent UN data.
Migration is an increasingly politically charged issue worldwide, and in Europe the perceived threat from illegal immigrants has driven the rise of far-right parties recently.