Published on People Move

International Migrants Day: How are international migrants perceived in destination countries?

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Today marks the celebration of the unquestionable contribution and sacrifices that many international migrants make to both destination and origin countries.  Migrants work hard, fill jobs that are needed, and send a large portion of their earnings to support their families at home.  Despite all of their contributions, native populations’ opinion and the policies developed by their governments continue to be mixed. 

As the new US President gets inaugurated next month and as the EU continues to work on developing its immigration policy, it is interesting to see what the natives in destination countries think about migrants.  A recent study by the German Marshall Fund of the United States shows that 47% of Europeans and 50% of Americans perceived immigration to be more of a problem than an opportunity.  Of all European countries, the United Kingdom is the most skeptical on immigration in Europe. Over 62% of UK respondents regarded immigration as more of a problem than opportunity.  Furthermore, over 64% of respondents.  A large majority of people in the US and the United Kingdom believe that immigrants take away jobs from natives and also immigration increases tax rates.

  • With these opinions on immigration, how will immigration policies be shaped in the coming year?
  • Will the British develop unfriendly policies towards the migrants who compose 10% of their overall population?
  • Will negative perceptions of immigrants continue to grow as the global recession continues to hurt the US and European economies?


Neil Ruiz

Senior Policy Analyst and Associate Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings

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