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Demographics

Migration Policies: Hot Topics

Sonia Plaza's picture

(With Roberto Ponce)

Migration issues have been at the center of discussion in the international agenda, mainly because of the financial crises and the new protectionism measures implemented by developed countries. Despite these current issues, there are several long-term topics that will require further research and attention within next decades.

Among these topics - climate change and demographic changes, and their respective linkages with migration, will be the most challenging one in terms of policy design.

Regarding demographic changes, developed countries (Europe, Japan) are aging whileAfrica, Middle East, and South Asia still experience a transitional demographic change. The challenge will be to meet the needs of migrants with their specific requirements of skills in developed countries, and the offer of youth labor with their specific stock of skills from developing countries. Countries need to be ready to meet these demands.

Economic Crisis is affecting net migration rates in the European Union

Sonia Plaza's picture

Eurostat just released the latest estimates of the European Union demography numbers . According to the report, “EU gained only 1.4 million residents in 2009. (See article)

However, the population change has decreased from 2’046,029 in 2008 to 1’366,372 in 2009 (-33%). This is explained by a decrease in the natural population change and in the net migration. The decrease in natural population change has been due to a slight decrease in the crude birth rate and a constant crude death rate. Hence the major factor responsible for the slowing population growth is the decrease in net migration.

Due to the global recession, migration to the EU slowed down in 2009, for a net migration of  1,464,059 in 2008 to 857,186 in 2009 (a 40% decline). The reduction in migration flows is due to employment losses in countries of destination (especially Spain, Italy, UK) and to more restrictive immigration policies devised by European countries (e.g. UK points system, Italy prohibition on access to health service for undocumented migrants, Spain’s reduction in the number of positions available for immigrants).

The financial crisis and immigration policy: how some developed countries are coping

Sonia Plaza's picture

More restrictive immigration policies by developed country governments are being implemented as the financial crisis deepens. For example, the United Kingdom just published a bill which contains some of the following measures:

1) Migrants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the UK will not have access to full services benefits and social housing; and