The european immigration towards europe


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The european immigration towards europe

  1. 1. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNION The immigration phenomenon in the European Union Student: Euridiki Damoulianou Instructor: Dr. Dimitri’s apostolidis GE160 EU institutions and policies Hellenic America University Spring 2011
  2. 2. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNION AbstractThis paper contains the definition of immigration, the roots and theconsequences of immigration to the European Union. This paper will begin witha brief historical background of immigration in the European Union and willcontinue with an analysis of the policies and laws that the European Union hasenacted in order to manage the phenomenon. Based on research, and as thesubsequent analysis will present, it was concluded that the issue of immigrationin the European Union is quite complex and multi-dimensional. What is ofsignificance are the methods and procedures that the European states use inorder to manage and control it. Following a brief research into the topic, it isbelieved by the author that if the European States implement a commonEuropean immigration policy, the issues resulting from it would be handled in amuch more efficient and constructive manner. The immigration phenomenon in the European Union Immigration, for any nation, represents a controversial and complicatedissue. More so for the European Union that represents a deeply integrated areawith a single market, common currency and a policy that supports the freemovement of people, goods and capital. Since the Maastricht Treaty and the
  3. 3. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNIONestablishment of what is referred to as the external frontiers of the EU,immigration policy has been elevated to one of the areas that, although managedintergovernmentally, are of pivotal importance to the member states. Over the ages, the nature of European immigration has changes. Asignificant number of nations had been net contributors to the phenomenon withtheir respective citizens moving to far lands in search of economic prosperity.The host nations were as diverse in character as the origins of those selecting toimmigrate. However, as European nations experienced a fast pace economicdevelopment in the decade following World War II, things changed: From netcontributors to the phenomenon they became net receivers of immigrantslooking for economic prosperity in the old continent. The flow of immigrants was influenced by a number of factors such as,but not restricted, to decolonization, economic instability in the newly formedstates, political oppression, and religious persecution and even invitations byWestern governments to become guest workers. The initial period ofimmigration was characterized by legal immigration. However, within a shortperiod of time, the phenomenon of illegal immigration appeared setting a majorchallenge for the European government. Before we continue with our analysis, it is important to define a numberof terms and the parameters of our work. Immigration is the process whereby anindividual or a group of individuals abandon their home country in order to livepermanently in a different place with better working conditions and quality of
  4. 4. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNIONlife compared to their home-country. The above process can be either legal orillegal. It is legal when governed by rules determined and applied by the hoststate which simultaneously sets a cap (limit) on the number of immigrants it canaccept, a number that is usually determined by its economic capacity toincorporate the new arrivals into the social and economic fabric of the nation.The process becomes illegal when immigrants cross the border without formalprocedures and remain in the host nation without being granted residency orwork permits. According to current statistical data, each year 2 million individuals(originating mainly from developing countries) immigrate to Europe (Brady,2008). For example, only in Spain during the last ten years, the amount ofimmigrants has increased by 400 percent. It is estimated that in the next 40 yearsthe number of immigrants entering Europe, will increase by a significant degree-40 percent- (Brady, 2008). Although, it seems that migration has become a major globalphenomenon only in recent decades, Europe has a long history of immigration.During the middle of the1950s economic development in a number of Westernand Northern European Countries, such as Germany led to labor shortages and,consequently, a great need for foreign workers .It was immigrants from thedeveloping and poor countries that filled these demands(Hansen, 2003). Duringthe early years of immigration in Europe, there were two distinct groups of
  5. 5. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNIONimmigrants: a) the guest workers and b) the immigrants whose entry wasgoverned by the respective national policies of the host states. The nationalimmigration policies that were implemented by the European countries duringthis period are classified into two main categories: rotational and permanent(Hansen, 2003). Each category is defined by the duration of one’s residency in the hoststate. For example, Switzerland implemented a rotational immigration policythat is, the foreign worker had the right to stay and work in the state only for alimited period of time (Hansen, 2003). On the contrary, the permanentimmigration policy that the UK adopted was more flexible since a foreignworker had the right to extend his residency in the UK for a longer period oftime (Hansen, l2003). Until the end of the 1950s the European States such as France andGermany had the impression that the foreign workers would return back to theirhome-countries when their economic system would stop flourishing (Hansen,2003). But, this impression proved to be an illusion, because the majority ofimmigrants (the group of immigrants that they were guest workers) seemed toresist efforts of the European States for their repatriation (Hansen, 2003).Furthermore, the host nations, apart from the foreign workers had to accept theirfamilies as well (Hansen, 2003).The fact that the birth rate of immigrants wassignificantly higher than the birth rate of the local population, resulted in the
  6. 6. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNIONEuropean countries transformation from mono-lingual and mono-culturalcountries, to multi-lingual and multi-cultural ones (Hansen, 2003). During the 1960s and 1970s, as economic European developmentsubsided, the number of immigrants increased dramatically from previous yearsthus sparking debates and conflict between local citizens and their respectivenational governments (Hansen, 2003). Thus, the host European countriesadopted a stricter national immigrant policy in order to curtail the influx ofimmigrants in their countries (Hansen, 2003). However, due to familyreunification and the development of sizeable and strong local immigrantcommunities, the ratio of immigrants as a percentage of the total respectivepopulations continued to increase (Hansen, 2003). During the 1980s the number of legal foreign citizens in Germany wasabout 800, 00, 500,000 in Italy and 200,000 in the UK (Hansen, 2003). On thecontrary, in France during the 1980s a significant number of immigrantsreturned to their home country because there was a limited demand for foreignemployees (Hansen, 2003). During the 1990s circular immigration (the fluid movement of peoplebetween countries) increased significantly (Boswell, 2005). Moreover, duringthe 1990s a high demand for asylums -the protection that an individual, whocannot return to his home-country, asks for from a nation in order to avoidprosecution at home – was observed (Boswell, 2005).
  7. 7. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNION Finally, since 2000 an increase of immigrants towards Southern Europeand especially the Mediterranean countries, that is Spain, Greece, Portugal andItaly, was observed (Salt, 2006). Different forces drive individuals to immigrate towards Europe. Overall,what best describes European immigration patterns is a system defined by thepull/ push factor theory (Brady, 2008). The theory defines a set of factors thatsimultaneously exits in both host and home nation and influence the decision ofthe potential immigrant .Pull factors are defined as those that make the option ofimmigrating to the host country very appealing. They usually include, but notrestricted to, the better living and working conditions that exist in the potentialhost nation translating into higher salaries, better educational opportunities, abooming economy, a promise of political and religious freedom and familyreunification (Brady, 2008). Push factors are defined as the set of factors characteristic of theeconomic and possibly political conditions of the home nation that push anindividual to consider and most likely immigrate to another nation. Such factorsare, but again not restricted to, high unemployment, political instability, war andpoverty (Brady, 2008). However, the causes of immigration cannot be analyzed within a generalcontext since they correlated simultaneously with the personality, theeducational and the cultural background of each potential immigrant as well as
  8. 8. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNIONwith the circumstances that exist in his home nation and at their potentialdestination (host nation). One interesting case study is that of Nigerian immigration to Europe. Itshould be noted that the Nigerian case could serve as a guide since the reasonsgoverning Nigerian immigration patterns are similar, if not identical, to those ofother nationalities from developing countries. Firstly, the poverty and the unemployment that exist in Nigeria are two ofthe main reasons why a significant amount of locals abandon their home country(Museckaite, 2008). According to statistical data more than 68.70 percent ofNigerian citizens live in high poverty lacking basic needs such as food and water(Museckaite, 2008). Moreover, 19.7 percent of Nigerian citizens areunemployed and those who do work receive very low wages in comparison tothe increased cost of living (Museckaite, 2008). On the contrary, Europesearches both for skilled and unskilled workers to cover its labor needs(Museckaite, 2008). Added to the fact that Europe offers higher salaries toworkers (in comparison to their home country), it presents for Nigerians a greatopportunity to increase their income and to send back currency to Nigeria tohelp their families (Museckaite, 2008). Furthermore, the lack of a proper educational system, push Nigerians toimmigrate towards Europe (Museckaite, 2008). 99% of Nigeria’s residents claimthat the educational system of their country has suffered from years ofnegligence added to the absence of specific policy frameworks within the
  9. 9. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNIONsystem (Museckaite, 2008).The teaching personnel is not adequately qualifiedand there is a lack of educational facilities (Museckaite, 2008). On the contrary,education in Europe nations is highly prioritized and its personnel are wellqualified and competent (Museckaite, 2008). In addition, in the Europe nations,there is a wide range of free education for all citizens and the immigrants can beaccepted to all universities that exist in Europe (Museckaite, 2008). Finally, the improvised Nigerian medical system (the absence of adequatehospitals and well educated personnel) forces its citizens with chronic conditionsthat require long term health, to immigrate to European nations (Museckaite,2008). Contrary to Nigeria and developing nations overall, European countriessocial security standards are high (Museckaite, 2008). In most EU members,social security is financed through taxes and covers health needs that extendfrom childhood to adulthood. (Museckaite, 2008). In addition, all the legalimmigrants in Europe are covered by free public insurance and have equal andfree access to all the public hospitals and health services (Museckaite, 2008).Another aspect of immigration is the impact it has on European nations,specifically, its implications for Europe’s economy, culture and politics. To begin with, although the economic impact of immigration on Europehas been discussed a lot, some economic aspects need further research –forexample, the consumer role of immigrants- (European Immigration Network,2006).
  10. 10. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNION Immigrants have turned into significant consumers in the Europeannations (European Immigration Network, 2006). It has been estimated that theirincreased demand for ethnic products has resulted in the development ofmarketing campaigns with immigrants as the target groups (EuropeanImmigration Network, 2006). On the flip side, immigrant activity has contributed to increase outflow ofcapital from the host nation to the country of origin in the form of incomeremittance. The challenges faced by most immigrants and their inability to relyon steady employment either due to lack of official credentials or, mostcommonly language barriers, have led many to turn into entrepreneurs. Smallbusiness or the so called “ethnic entrepreneurship”, have influenced Europeaneconomies (European Immigration Network, 2006). In addition, many European countries have created a set of opportunitiesto help the immigrants to create small business – for example, the Diasporanetwork capital and family labor (European Immigration Network, 2006).Finally, immigrants who are high qualified, have a positive impact on Europe’seconomic growth, because they contribute to high quality service sectors such ashealth and education (European Immigration Network, 2006). However, thephenomenon of high -qualified immigrants is rather new, because until the1990s immigrants were perceived as ideal workers for difficult jobs, which theautochthonous populations avoided (European Immigration Network, 2006).
  11. 11. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNION The impact of immigrants on European cultures is difficult to measure(European Immigration Network, 2006). One domain in Europe which haschanged due to immigration ,is the area of cuisine and food consumption(European Immigration Network, 2006).There is a high range of foreignfoods ,which have contributed to the development of ethnic restaurants and tothe change of eating habit (European Immigration Network, 2006). Furthermore, sports have also been influenced by immigration (EuropeanImmigration Network, 2006). Many immigrants participate in various sportactivities both as amateurs and professionals (European Immigration Network,2006).Immigrants also, has brought with them the sport traditions they haveinherited from their home-countries (European Immigration Network, 2006).In addition, immigrants have influenced the world of fashion with manydesigners borrowing the exotic, and on occasion, eccentric styles of their homefashion and introducing them as part of the main stream (European ImmigrationNetwork, 2006).According to some studies, in some places of Europe,autochthonous population has adapted the fashion style of immigrants (forexample, a lot of Chinese shops with clothes have been created in manyEuropean countries (European Immigration Network, 2006). Immigrants have also influenced the arts (European ImmigrationNetwork, 2006) .Many taking advantage of the freedom of speech andexpression will use their new found freedoms to either express through art theirexperiences escaping their home governments or will create using their new
  12. 12. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNIONhomes as an inspiration to express hope. Either way, the incorporation of adifferent voice to the artistic landscape of the home nation often offers a freshperspective. It however on occasion can lead to trouble as demonstrated to bythe Dutch illegal immigrant that was arrested for deportation after thepublication of a book narrating her experience. Finally, immigration has a significant impact on the structure of Europeancountries (European Immigration Network, 2006).The fact that the political right of immigrants is debatable, has contributed to thecreation of participatory institutions and advisory systems assisting in theincorporation of the immigrants in their host nations (European ImmigrationNetwork, 2006). Also, a set of immigrant-self organizations and civil society institutions,have increased the political interest of immigrants (European ImmigrationNetwork, 2006).Thus, the creation of non-government and civil- societyorganizations and religious groups, is a trait of modern Europe (EuropeanImmigration Network, 2006). Most of the members of the European Union in October 1999, agreed todevelop a common immigration policy in order to manage the phenomenon ofimmigration towards Europe ( The common immigration policy ,which took into account both thedemographic and economic development of the European Union, the situation ofthe countries of origin and the need to develop a set of specific integration
  13. 13. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNIONpolicies, was confirmed in 2004( In addition, in 2004 the Hague program was implemented which aimed atsetting Justice, freedom and security in the European Union between the period2005-2010 ( More specifically, the Hague program contains the following key issues:fair treatment for third countries nationals , a common European asylum system,the development of partnerships with countries of origin and of transit and aanalytical approach to the management of migration flows ( Finally, the Hague program contains a European framework to contributeto immigrant’s better integration to the host nation , a policy to repatriate illegalimmigrants , common visa rules and measures for foreigners to legally work inEurope ( To sum up, immigration in Europe is a complex and controversial issuewith a long history, various causes and significant impacts on Europe. The mostmembers of the European Union have realized that immigration can benefitEurope provided that a common European policy for the management ofimmigration is implemented.
  14. 14. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNION ResourcesHansen (2003).Migration to Europe since 1945: Its History and its Lessons. ThePolitical Quarterly.Brandy (2008) .EU migration policy: an A-Z. The center for European reform,London.European Commission Home affairs. (2011). Retrieved June 1, 2011 from Immigration Network. (2006). Retrieved June, 1, 2011 from 2008). Reasons for Nigerian people migration to Europe. RoskildeUniversity.
  15. 15. Running head: IMMIGRATION IN THE EUROPEAN UNIONBoswel (2005). Migration in Europe. Hamburg Institute of internationalEconomics.Salt (2006). Current trends in International Migration in Europe.Consultant’sReport to the Council of Europe.