Discuss about the European union Immigration Policy……………..
This paper will focus on the policies that the European Union has set on the current policy framework that they have in force to ensure that the goal of poverty eradication is met. The main aim of the European Union on immigration is to reduce the risks while increasing the benefits at the same time. For poor people, and developing countries this would be most beneficial. The European Union recognizes that this immigration is most beneficial when conducted within the national borders and the regions which are defined are of significant form to the migration of poor people with an aim of reducing poverty. This paper will also focus on the poor people who opt to take the proper channels to migrate across international borders with a bid of improving their economic conditions. The main policy approaches that can be used to reduce poverty are also discussed, including the benefits of migration. The paper will also talk about the plans that the European Union has for work on future migration and development.
Immigration reform is arguably, one of the major issues that many policy makers are confronted with in most developed countries. The increase in the number of illegal immigrants especially in the European Union has been rising each year, leading to concerns of its implications on the public finances, wages and the security threats that it poses for the region and her legal inhabitants. This paper is going to focus on the implications of immigration on labor market economics with special reference to the European Union, since the general global market is very diverse and different variables are different for different markets. The negative implications of illegal immigration into the European Union have prompted the governments to increase their spending on ensuring that the borders are well protected. It has also been argued that programs that encourage guest workers which the various representatives within the countries have been considering does not put into account the economic implications that it may have on the region, despite the fact that it benefits the workers that are undocumented and increases their desire to work and reside within the European Union, and the employers that are looking for cheap labor that is flexible according to their needs.
Since time immemorial, human beings have always been on the move, with current flows being mainly influenced by globalization. Globalization has seen the advent of mobility of capital, people, services and goods and even increased it. At an international perspective, skilled and unskilled laborers are being utilized fill the gaps that are present in developed countries, with most of them coming from the developing countries. From a national perspective, when there is growth and development whether in the rural or urban setting, they offer opportunities for individuals who are seeking to improve their way of life. Migration for poor people can be a means of migrating into low skilled jobs and that provide them with a rapid escape route from poverty. Analyses by economists have shown that if the current trends in temporary migration continue especially to industrialized countries, then there may be gains that would surmount to 300 billion dollars every year by the year 2025, which would be shared between the people from developed and developing countries.
Implications of Immigration
Illegal immigration is a concern that has been rising for the European Union legislators especially since the population of these illegal immigrants increase by more than 100% over the past decade. The various legislative arms of the various governments have approved of measures that are geared towards ensuring that the European Unions immigration policies are geared towards tightened security to regulate or even stop the flow of illegal immigrants entering the region. Some of the measures that the European Union has taken include the first immigration reform law that they plan to implement with cooperation from the member countries. There is this belief that legal immigration is not bad for the region but the illegal immigration is detrimental for the member states. Despite these different views and opinions regarding immigrants, it is evident that the reduction in the number of illegal immigrants would go a long way in the improvement of the European Union economic welfare. Also to be looked into in this paper is the argument is illegal immigration bad and legal immigration good? The implications of an immigration reform on the economic welfare of the region are also an integral part of the market, with special focus on the labor market. Also in this paper, the costs, incentives and benefits of illegal immigration in the context of economic analysis will be discussed. These immigration reforms would be effectively geared towards targeting individuals who are in possession of skills which are in the shortest of supply in the global market, their tax contributions are enormous and the cost that they pay for public services are highest possible. Allowing immigrants from occupations that are scarce or rare to come by is destined to increase the incomes of the member states governments despite their level of skill upon entry into the region. In the European Union, rare labor would not necessarily mean skilled labor such as doctors or programmers, but it could also mean workers from the informal sector such as catering, sanitation and construction whose services have been dwindling within the native labor market. Either way, the region’s labor market favors these workers, as compared to the other labor markets in terms of wages payable to them (World Bank, 2006).
The economic consequences that an immigration policy possesses do not account for the other considerations that it could have on other factors such as politics, civil rights and regional security. If the member state governments continue to condone high rates of illegal immigration, it could affect the governments’ ability to enforce regulations on the labor market due to the undermining of the rule of law. The influx of illegal immigrants also makes the employers to relax on their commitment towards the European Union labor market institutions, and towards creating a set of workers with a limited ability to be mobile vertically thus creating an uncertain working environment. There is not much evidence proving that legal migration is more advantageous in an economic sense as compared to illegal immigration. As a matter of fact, illegal immigration has shown to respond to the market forces in a couple of ways that the legal immigration does not. Statistics show that the illegal immigrants tend to migrate in to the European Union when the economy is in a booming state, and they further tend to move in to areas that are strong in terms of job and opportunity growth. To the contrary, legal immigration is usually subjected to delays due to the stringent selection criteria and the bureaucracy, and thus it is relatively disassociated from the European Union labor market conditions. Thus, over the past 50 years, there has not been any response of legal immigration in relation to the European Union employment rate. It is also by chance that such admitted legal immigrants have their skills matching those which the industries within the European Union require at that particular time. Most of the legal immigrants come in to the European Union on the invitation of a prospective employer, and the process of receiving the visa usually delays owing to the fact that it is arduous. Even when they do get to enter the region, such workers are incapable of moving between jobs with ease and this proves to be less beneficial to the economy of the member states.
Migration, poverty reduction and development
In spite of the fact that there is inadequate data for developing countries, the European Union knows that the poor in most cases choose to migrate as a means of seeking to improve their livelihood. The disparity in the demand for labor, and the inequality that is displayed by local areas, regions and countries in terms of economy, means that these poor individuals from developing countries normally move to other regions to take advantage of the job opportunities presented, coupled with the competitive wages. The inclusion of these individuals to the internal and global labor markets can be of great contribution to the reduction of poverty. In most of the developing countries, the immigration of one or more of the family members could present a way for them to earn a living. Taking in to account statistics, around 65% of African households residing in the rural areas have at least one member of their family residing in a different part of the country besides which they live in (World Bank, 2006).
The link that is found between poverty and migration is a very multifaceted one, and largely dependent on the specific circumstances under which this migration will take place. Migration is capable of causing poverty and at the same time poverty is capable of causing migration. There are also cases where migration does not necessarily lead to improvement socially or economically. Research that has been carried out previously on the impact of rural labor found that for poorer migrants migration even for many years has not shown any long term reduction in level of poverty or even growth or increase in assets. The study further discovered that migration offered a means for the poor to be able to service their debts and to be able to escape the bondage of dependency on a short term basis (IOM, 2005).
Migration was also found to be capable of increasing or even reducing the level of inequality, but balancing migration did not necessarily lead to higher levels of inequality (Zachariah, Kannan and Rajan, 34). It is normally the members of the community who have the relevant resources to enable to fund their migration who migrate first. Lower income members of the community can get the opportunity to migrate over time after there has been the receipt of remittances, and the spread of information coupled with networking which will reinforce the inequalities. For instance, migration fromIvory Coastmay be a success if the social network is strong between the migrant and the household left behind and so are the remittances that are sent back home.
Migration is also capable of benefiting poor people and developing countries. On an individual level migration is capable of improving the social status, the quality of life, increase skill level, and even increase income leading to accumulation of assets. Emigration can relive the labor markets in developing countries and result in an increase in trade within the communities, thus direct investments from abroad will also increase owing to the relived political pressures, leading to remittances from abroad which could transform into political and social change which would attract the migrants back to their original country.
Migration and the Millennium Development Goals
After consideration of these outcomes of migration, it is important to plan for poverty reduction and the type of growth that is bound to benefit the poor and its potential to support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals or even undermine them. Policies often determine what effects the Millennium Development Goals will have, on migration or vice versa, with the policies being organized, to fully utilize the benefits while minimizing the risks (IOM, 2005).
Poverty reduction is one of the impacts that migration could have on the Millennium Development Goals. This could be achieved through the remittances that the families receive from the members who are abroad and so does the income of these family members rise through the migrant activities. The remittances that are especially sent to the rural areas are capable of creating jobs and even supporting the economy within the communities.
Another effect of migration on the Millennium Development Goals is the improvement of gender equality. When women migrate, they tend to gain more independence and thus this increases the equality between men and women in the community (World Bank, 2006). Women receiving remittances from their spouses who have migrated are capable of exercising more control of the budgets and control over property as well as purchases. Human trafficking can however make the women vulnerable and thus render them dependent on male relatives, making them unable to have much say in matters or even be independent.
There is the problem of health risks which people who have migrated, or are migrating face which could either be through the contraction of diseases or the inability to access a health facility or services. The migration of health professionals could render a country’s healthcare provision ineffective, but the incomes would be increased for these professionals, and sent back home in form of remittances, which could in the long run lead to better health care. The health education that such professionals receive in their host country could also contribute to improvements in child health and a decrease in the infant mortality rates.
Children of migrants or even children that migrate often find it difficult to attend school. There are minimum provisions made for students who do not reside in a particular place for one year, or even those who have moved permanently from their home. It is however important to note that children may also migrate with a bid to gain access to education and also to be able to receive remittances which will allow them to attend school (IOM, 2005).
Migration can also lead to the improvement of the lives of the slum dwellers. Most of the slum dwellers are migrants, who have recently migrated, or even the children or grandchildren of migrants. The contributions that such migrants and even slum dwellers contribute to the economy of a country in most cases are normally not recognized, and even their rights as the citizens of that particular country are not honored. It is thus important to strengthen the research and analysis which is the driving force for policy development on the area of migration within the European Union. This is due to the diverse effects of migration on the Millennium Development Goals (IOM, 2005).
Migration influences social and political development
When large numbers of people arrive, leave or even in some cases return home to a community, they are capable of initiating serious political and social changes within those communities. To understand such changes it is important to understand the concept of the transfer of ideas, social remittances, the link between the migrants and their communities and the way in which things are done. Migration is capable of increasing the speed at which information, technology, skills, ideas and attitudes pass on to other members of the community. The relationships that are present between the migrants and the communities that they come from can influence and even challenge the way that they have always lived traditionally. For instance, individuals may be influenced by the attitudes, behavior, political ideas and even culture of their new environment. This may cause them to be more different from the people that they left behind when migrating. Thus the relationships that they had with their families and community may change greatly thus affecting various aspects of their lives in many ways (Zachariah, Kannan and Rajan, 45).
The growing demand of female labor has feminized the process of migration with more women being able to move independently. This has also been coupled with the fact that there is now economic independence by women, which has been accepted and thus their desire to travel. Particular circumstances can dictate the experience women undergo whether they opt to stay home or migrate, either positively or negatively. Women who migrate are capable of improving their position within the families and the community and even become more independent, and be capable of making decisions that they were unable to make before. The downside is that they are also more vulnerable to abuse and human trafficking. Women who stay at home may also be able to establish female headed households, which will ultimately give them more power in decision making. Women who receive remittances from their spouses who have migrated receive less financial and physical support and equally receive less protection since the head of the family who is the male spouse is not present.
Children are also affected by many forms of migration as the rates of adult migration are high. The impacts that migration has on children may vary widely as opposed to the effects that it has on adults. Research has shown that children residing in households where the adults have migrated get access to improved health care and education. This might be due to increased incomes through remittances and even through the passing of knowledge through the social networks of migration. To the contrary, research also shows that children who have one or both parents working away from home show negative outcomes in terms of social and emotional impacts in school performance and even psychological disorders (Hildebrandt, 67).
Also individuals who migrate may find themselves secluded owing to the levels of discrimination that they may receive in their host countries. This may happen depending on who they are and the place where they live in.
Diasporas contribute to poverty reduction and development
Whenever individuals migrate to other countries, they are capable of maintaining communication with the members of their community or families that they left back home, through forming communities in the areas where they are residing in. These communities which are referred to as Diasporas in most cases, have been considered as irrelevant to the development efforts of the international community. This is as a result as some Diasporas providing support to conflict groups in their countries of origin. It is however important to note that the positive social, economic and political relationship that the diasporas maintain with the some communities residing in their countries of origin could be a driving force for development (Zachariah, Kannan and Rajan, 98).
There are a number of Diaspora groups that have significant roles to play in their countries of origin, with their involvement being varied. This variation could range from the development of businesses to the relief of disaster, exportation of machinery or ideas’ importation, and even war instigation to the quest for peace. Apart from being involved in private remittances, these Diasporas are also involved in a wide range of activities between countries such as the Foreign Direct Investment, technology transfer, market development, political contributions, and charitable activities (Ratha, 45).
Most governments have now realized that it is possible for Diasporas to support their national development despite the fact that they may be abroad. This has resulted in such governments giving their migrants special recognitions, rights and protection. The positive effects that these Diasporas are capable of having on poverty are improved when these remittances are directed directly to households, by use of plans to maximize those incomes.
International organizations that are involved in development are now realizing that Diaspora communities are capable of contributing greatly in the reduction of poverty and thus improving development. It is however unfortunate that most international and national donors are structured in a manner that makes it difficult for them to be able work together with such diasporas. It is thus crucial that such organizations work on developing working relationships with these Diaspora groups with an aim of eliminating the limitations for the good of development. This will require dedication; recognition and time from both sides, but the results will be of benefit to the community.
The European Union made a commitment to improve the skills and the talents that the migrants had to ensure that they would promote development in their countries of origin. The European Union also plans to extend and develop its work with the Diaspora that reside in their member states with an aim of strengthening the support that these groups offer in the eradication of poverty within the developing countries and also development in their countries of origin (Ratha, 20).
The Current Immigration Policy
Currently, the level of enforcement against illegal immigrants working in the European Union work site is relatively low. This is because the law requires that before an employer hires any employees, he /she has to confirm if the employee is a legal citizen by asking for legal documents. So long as the employer believes that the documents presented are real, then he / she is not obligated to any other legal implications. The influx of illegal immigrants is normally dependent on the economic conditions with the inflow of them rising during periods when the European Union’s economy is expanding and that of other non member states is in a contraction mode. This type of response by illegal immigrants in relation to the economic condition is expected, and thus they come to work within the European Union with their main motivation being the different conditions under which they have to work in and the wages expected as compared to their home countries. Legal immigration on the other hand responds to the economic conditions at a slower pace. It is also important to note that since these illegal immigrants are not tied down by their employers if they are employed, then they are capable of changing jobs whenever they want to. This mobility that they posses reflects the informal type of relationship that they have with their employers. Thus it is easy for employers for example in the construction industry to hire illegal immigrant workers without promising them of a new job if the current project being done gets completed. This also applies to such illegal immigrants who are employed in the agricultural sector, who have no guarantee of employment on the same farm in the following year once that growing season is done. In the sanitary, catering and child care industries, the demand for illegal immigrant labor is less seasonal, but that does not mean that the employment relationships are more permanent or secure in nature. Such employees are normally employed at will and thus there is no contract defining the terms and conditions of their employment. Such kind of informality is what makes illegal employment contribute to the manner in which the illegal labor markets are flexible.
The European Union Economy and Illegal Immigration
When the skills of incoming immigrants are very scarce, then the gains in productivity from immigration will be greater, for a given flow of labor into the region (Savan, 23). The skill of a certain type of worker may be low in the European Union owing to the fact that his type of skill is low in the region in comparison to the rest of the world, or due to the fact that the European Union demand for this type of skill is high in comparison to the rest of the world, for example scientists. The steady increase in the completion rates of high school has made finding European Union born-natives, with low level of schooling hard to find. It is however important to note that they are still very important in the economy of the European Union since they build homes, clean offices, offer catering services, work in farms and fill the jobs in the factories.
The migration of workers from other regions into the European Union create a scenario where they move from an area where their relatively high population provides them with low productivity with low wages, to an area where their low population presence presents them with an opportunity for higher earnings (Savan, 76). The total economic impact that immigration may have on the economy of the European Union may be small but the gains that the households from which these immigrants depend on may be high. It is thus true that illegal immigration has achieved, or is achieving what legal immigration has failed to achieve which is moving a considerable amount of low skilled workers from an area of low productivity to an area of high productivity (World Bank, 2006).
Illegal immigration has also managed to bring low skilled workers in to the region when the gains from productivity appear to be the highest from that action of immigration. Developing countries have been experiencing severe contractions within their economy, and emigration has been increasing in the event of such downturns in the economy. In the case of highly skilled labor, legal migration is the best way for them to enter the European Union. In comparison to the rest of the world, the European Union has a high supply of educated labor (Zachariah, Kannan and Rajan, 34). The past two decades has seen the European Union member states improve their technology thus increasing the demand for highly skilled labor. Even though the European Union in itself is abundantly endowed with educated labor, technological advances induces the need for an increase in the labor market demand for educated workers from all over the world. Thus the presence of temporary work permits based on employment make the immigration of such a skilled workforce possible. The European Union economy is provided with workers who are scarce in supply, through illegal, employment based permanent and temporary immigration. The largest component of permanent immigration, which is immigration based on family, is not set by the government in regard to the European Union labor market conditions. The nature of legal immigration such as the presence of long queues and lags in the adjustments of visa level tend to reduce the economic importance of this type of immigration. On the other hand, the flow of illegal immigrants is normally connected to the world’s business cycles (Savan, 56).
The Economic Benefits and Costs of Immigration
There are economists that argue that an influx in the number of illegal immigrants is very costly in economic terms, since it lowers the domestic wage and raises the expenditure on public services. If such economic costs become increasingly high, then the economic reason for the introduction of an immigration reform policy would be justified. In general, immigration is beneficial to the residents of the European Union member states as it increases their incomes by allowing the economy to fully utilize on the domestic resources available in a much more effective manner. But the diversity in the types of these immigrants in terms of skills, the ability to earn income, size of the family and the right to use public amenities, produces different impacts on the economy. Immigration is also known to affect the incomes of the residents of the European Union member states through the impacts that it has on the revenue collected from tax and public expenditure. Immigrants that have large families and a low income tend to be major drainers of public spending. Immigrants pay a number of taxes, with the low skilled immigrants making small contributions. The high expenditure that these immigrants spend on public amenities could include education, health care, transportation and police and fire services, with those immigrants with larger families spending more on public expenditure. The tax payments of these immigrants minus the value of the public amenities they use give a rough estimate of the overall impact that immigration has on the European Union member states’ economy (World Bank, 2006).
Immigration is also a source of extra income for the European Union economy even though it pushes wages downwards for some of the workers. The productivity of resources that are complemented by labor is raised by the increase in the supply of labor. For example, if the supply of labor in an acre of a wheat field is increased, it will mean that the overall output of that acre will also increase (Savan, 34).
It is however important to note that these benefits are not equally shared. For instance, the workers who immigrate from developing countries cause the possible income to be redistributed among all the workers thus competition within the labor market between residents and immigrants. On the other hand, the low cost of labor also means that the cost of goods and services that are labor intensive also tend to be lower especially in the case of those whose prices are set in the local markets as opposed to the global markets which is much more competitive. These low prices of goods and services tend to raise the real income of households especially those that are in the regions with the largest population of immigrants. In the case where the immigrants pay more tax than they use in the services provided to them in the form of government benefits, then the native tax payers receive a net fiscal transfer of funds. On the other hand, if the immigrants were to pay fewer taxes than they receive from the government benefits, then a burden of net fiscal value will be bore by the native taxpayers meaning the native household will be transferring their incomes to the immigrant households.
If immigration reform has the ability to replace flexible and mobile illegal employees with non flexible non mobile guest workers, then it would less likely diminish the immigration surplus that the foreign labor market generates for the European Union member states’ economy. The most dividing issue that surrounds the immigration reform is whether to offer these illegal immigrants an opportunity in legalizing their status. Some of the other views include legalizing of unauthorized immigrants status is seen as a form of rewarding individuals who have broken the law and thus encourages others to do the same. It is thus established that there is no economic reform package even through economic analysis that would improve the regional welfare. The short term economic consequences of the legalization of immigrants’ status are very limited. To the contrary, the fiscal consequences will not be felt for at least the next 10 years after implementation and control would be defined by the type of member state government benefits which these immigrants are eligible for (Zachariah, Kannan and Rajan, 76).
Future developments in immigration policy
The European Union plans to enhance the reduction of poverty and instigating development by planning for migration through the forming of migration reforms. This will be achieved through working with partner governments, trade unions, the civil society and even donors, to ensure that the inclusion of migration in the plans of the member states addresses the issue of poverty reduction and development. They plan to continue basing the potential role of migration as a means of poverty reduction.
The European Union plans to continue supporting the efforts that the developing countries are making and so are the international agencies to ensure that the benefits of remittances are increased to improve on the reduction of poverty and increase the development of such countries.
The European Union plans to further develop and extend its work within the range of its member countries’ Diaspora communities, together with the international labor groups, in order to support the activities that are geared towards poverty eradication and development in these developing countries.
The European Union also plans to manage the migration process more efficiently to be able to support the benefits that it could have to developing countries and the poor people. This will be achieved by working in conjunction with some focus countries to support the initiatives of the governments to develop managed migration policies that are aimed at reducing the risks of migration and instead enhance the benefits that these individuals and countries reap from migration.
The European Union also seeks to work with others with an aim of increasing the opportunities available for the skilled and low skilled laborers and at the same time taking in to account the labor market needs of the countries that are receiving this labor.
The European Union also plans to work in conjunction with the national and regional institutions with an aim of promoting safe and legal migration which will include no discrimination legislation, practices and policies that will be aimed at promoting human rights of the men women and children who migrate.
The European Union will also support the implementation of regional frameworks on migration and its processes across the continents of Asia andAfrica. This will be done by supporting existing and new economic agreements and also aid in the facilitation of the benefits that migration might have on poor people.
It is evident that specific groups of taxpayers, employers and workers are bound to gain or lose if the immigration reforms are implemented through the changing of government policies that govern illegal immigration. The overall economic effects of these reforms do not appear to be as enormous. When viewing the various proposals that are under discussion during the immigration reform, it is important that these policy makers separate the impacts that such a reform would have on the distributive functions from the aggregate effects. As discussed in the paper, the economic implications of this reforms in the economic sense does not produce a substantial amount of gain or loss, thus any new reforms that requires a huge amount of funds will only serve to lower the economic wellbeing of the European Union. Illegal immigration is also something that is persistent due to its economic rationale. With the current status of illegal immigration, not implementing an immigration reform that creates other avenues for legal immigrants to enter will be in conflict with the market forces that push for the move of labor from the low productivity low wage areas to the high productivity low wage European Union labor market.
Black, R., Natali, C. and Skinner , J. Migration and inequality.University ofSussex, 2005.
Hildebrandt, N. The Effects of Migration on Child Health in Mexico.StanfordUniversity, 2004.
Home Office. Controlling our Borders: Making migration work for Britain. 2005.
IOM. Migration and the Millennium Development Goals. 2005. Workshop Discussion Paper.
IOM. World Migration 2005. Costs and Benefits of International Migration. 2005.
Ratha, D. Understanding the Importance of Remittances. World Bank, 2005.
Savan, S. Business Cycles and Workers’ Remittances: How Do Migrant Workers Respond to Cyclical Movements of GDP at Home? IMF WP/06/52, 2006.
World Bank. Equity and Development. World Development Report. 2006.
Zachariah, Kannan and Rajan. Kerala’s Gulf Connection. Centre of Development Studies on International Migration,KeralaState, India.CDS Thiruvananthapuram, 2002.
Place your order now…………………..