Ministry of education and science of Ukraine

Immigration in Europe

Country studying

Kyiv 2007


Chapter 1. General information on immigration

1.1. Immigration

1.2. Global statistics

1.3. Causes

1.4. Supporting arguments

1.5. Opposing arguments

1.6. Political issue

1.7. Ethics

Chapter 2. Immigration in Europe


2.2. Germany

2.3. Spain

2.4. United Kingdom

2.5. Greece

Chapter 3. Conclusion


Chapter 1. General information on immigration

1.1. Immigration

Immigration is the movement of people into one place from another. While human migration has existed throughout human history, immigration implies long-term permanent or forced indefinite residence (and often eventual citizenship) by the immigrants: tourists and short-term visitors are not considered immigrants. However, seasonal labor migration (typically for periods of less than a year) is often treated as a form of immigration. The global volume of immigration is high in absolute terms, but low in relative terms. The International Integration and Refugee Association estimated 190 million international migrants in 2005, about 3 percent of global population. The other 97 percent still live in the state in which they were born, or its successor state. The Middle East, some parts of Europe, little areas of South East Asia, and a few spots in the West Indies have the highest numbers of immigration population recorded by the UN Census 2005.

The modern idea of immigration is related to the development of nation-states and nationality law. Citizenship of a nation-state confers an inalienable right of residence in that state, but residence of immigrants is subject to conditions set by immigration law. The nation-state made immigration a political issue: by definition it is the homeland of a nation defined by shared ethnicity and/or culture. Illegal immigration refers to immigration across national borders in a way that violates the immigration laws of the destination country. Under this definition, an illegal immigrant is a foreigner who either illegally crossed an international political border, be it by land, sea or air, or a foreigner who legally entered a country but nevertheless overstay their visa in order to live and/or work therein.

1.2. Global statistics

The European Union allows free movement between member states. Most are from former eastern bloc states to the developed western European states, especially Italy, Spain, Germany and Britain. Noticeably, some countries seemed to be favored by these new EU member nationals than others. For example, there are large numbers of Poles who have moved to the UK, Ireland and Netherlands, while Romanians have chosen Italy and Spain. While France and Germany put in place controls to curb Eastern European migration, the UK (along with Ireland) did not impose restrictions.

Following Poland's entry into the EU in May 2004 it is estimated that by the start of 2007 375,000 Poles have registered to work in the UK, although the total Polish population in the UK is believed hey hoe to be 750,000. Many Poles work in seasonal occupations and a large number is likely to move back and forth including between Ireland and other EU Western nations.

According to Eurostat, Some EU member states are currently receiving large-scale immigration: for instance Spain, where the economy has created more than half of all the new jobs in the EU over the past five years. The EU, in 2005, had an overall net gain from international migration of +1.8 million people. This accounts for almost 85% of Europe's total population growth in 2005.

In 2004, total 140,033 people immigrated to France. Of them, 90,250 were from Africa and 13,710 from Europe. In 2005, immigration fell slightly to 135,890.

In recent years, immigration has accounted for more than half of Norway's population growth. In 2006, Statistics Norway's (SSB) counted a record 45,800 immigrants arriving in Norway — 30% higher than 2005. At the beginning of 2007, there were 415,300 persons in Norway with an immigrant background (i.e. immigrants, or born of immigrant parents), comprising 8.3 per cent of the total population.

In 2004 the number of people who became British citizens rose to a record 140,795 - a rise of 12% on the previous year. This number had risen dramatically since 2000. The overwhelming majority of new citizens come from Africa (32%) and Asia (40%), the largest three groups being people from Pakistan, India and Somalia. In 2005, an estimated 565,000 migrants arrived to live in the UK for at least a year, most of the migrants were people from Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa, while 380,000 people emigrated from the UK for a year or more, with Australia, Spain and France most popular destinations.

British emigration towards Southern Europe is of special relevance. Citizens from the European Union make up a growing proportion of immigrants in Spain. They mainly come from countries like the UK and Germany, but the British case is of special interest due to its magnitude. The British authorities estimate that the real population of UK citizens living in Spain is much larger than Spanish official figures suggest, establishing them at about 1.000.000, about 800.000 being permanent residents. According to the Financial Times, Spain is the most favoured destination for West Europeans considering to move from their own country and seek jobs elsewhere in the EU.

Since 2000, Spain has absorbed around 4 million immigrants, adding 10% to its population. Immigrant population now tops over 4.5 million. According to residence permit data for 2005, about 500,000 were Moroccan, another 500,000 were Ecuadorian, more than 200,000 were Romanian, and 260,000 were Colombian. In 2005 alone, a regularization programme increased the legal immigrant population by 700,000 people.

1.3. Causes

Theories of immigration traditionally distinguish between push factors and pull factors. Push factors refer primarily to the motive for emigration from the country of origin. In the case of economic migration (usually labor migration), differentials in wage rates are prominent. Poor individuals from less developed countries can have far higher standards of living in developed countries than in their originating countries. Escape from poverty (personal or for relatives staying behind) is a traditional push factor, the availability of jobs is the related pull factor. Natural disasters and overpopulation can amplify poverty-driven migration flows. This kind of migration may be illegal immigration in the destination country (emigration is also illegal in some countries, such as North Korea).

Emigration and immigration are sometimes mandatory in a contract of employment: religious missionaries, and employees of transnational corporations, international non-governmental organizations and the diplomatic service can expect to work 'overseas'. They are often referred to as 'expatriates', and their conditions of employment are typically equal to or better than those applying in the host country (for similar work).

For some migrants, education is the primary pull factor (although most international students are not classified as immigrants, but may choose to do so if they refuse to return). Retirement migration from rich countries to lower-cost countries with better climate, is a new type of international migration. Examples include immigration of retired British citizens to Spain or Italy and of retired Canadian citizens to the US (mainly to the state of Florida). Some, although relatively few, immigrants justify their drive to be in a different country for cultural or health related reasons and very seldom, again in relative quantitative terms compared to the actual number of international migrants world-wide, choose to migrate as a form of self-expression towards the establishment or to satisfy their need to directly perceive other cultural environments because economics is almost always the primary motivator for constant, long-term, or permanent migration, but especially for that type of inter-regional or inter-continental migration; that holds true even for people from developed countries.

Non-economic push factors include persecution (religious and otherwise), frequent abuse, bullying, oppression, ethnic cleansing and even genocide, and risks to civilians during war. Political motives traditionally motivate refugee flows - to escape dictatorship for instance.

Some migration is for personal reasons, based on a relationship (e.g. to be with family or a partner), such as in family reunification or transnational marriage. In a few cases, an individual may wish to emigrate to a new country in a form of transferred patriotism. Evasion of criminal justice (e.g. avoiding arrest) is a (mostly negative) personal motivation. This type of emigration and immigration is not normally legal, if a crime is internationally recognized, although criminals may disguise their identities or find other loopholes to evade detection. There have been cases, for example, of those who might be guilty of war crimes disguising themselves as victims of war or conflict and then pursuing asylum in a different country.

Barriers to immigration come not only in legal form; natural barriers to immigration can also be very powerful. Immigrants when leaving their country also leave everything familiar: their family, friends, support network, and culture. They also need to liquidate their assets often at a large cost, and incur the expense of moving. When they arrive in a new country this is often with many uncertainties including finding work, where to live, new laws, new cultural norms, language or accent issues, possible racism and other exclusionary behavior towards them and their family. These barriers act to limit international migration: scenarios where populations move en masse to other continents, creating huge population surges, and their associated strain on infrastructure and services, ignore these inherent limits on migration.

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