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Last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris, the recent massacre in Nice, as well as the terrorist attacks in Germany, were committed by representatives of immigrant diasporas. Now more often you can hear the opinion that immigration is almost an absolute evil. As a consequence, anti-immigrant politicians and parties in Western Europe are rapidly gaining points. However, the matter is not in the immigration itself, but in who is easier to move to the host country. The immigration policy of the countries of Western Europe for a long time was radically different from the rules used by such leading economies as Australia and Canada. It is likely that the problems that the European states are now facing are the result of precisely these differences.
Open door policy.
Great Britain in 1948 adopted an act allowing citizenship to an inhabitant of any state that retained the status of the British colony on January 1, 1949. Perhaps those who adopted this law, post-war Britain, survived the devastation and food shortages, did not seem attractive enough for immigration. However, the inhabitants of the colonies willingly took advantage of this opportunity.
The British open-door policy ended with a tightening of legislation in 1962. However, those who moved to Britain during the period of free migration colonies for residents now took advantage of the right to reunite with their families and transported their relatives to the United Kingdom. Subsequently, in the 1980s and 1990s, London mostly hosted immigrants through the humanitarian channel & mdash; as refugees and asylum-seekers. Only in 2002, the requirements for obtaining refugee status were tightened with the simultaneous expansion of the opportunities for the transfer of highly qualified specialists. However, in general, the requirements for this group of immigrants remain relatively high, which makes it difficult for professionals to move to the UK.
The German immigration history of the second half of the XX century is similar to the British one, albeit with some amendments. After the Second World War, immigrants arrived in West Germany through the program of invited workers (Gastarbeiter). Then, when this program came to an end, they moved their families and relatives to Germany. Later, the main flows of migration fell on the humanitarian channel, as well as the repatriation of ethnic Germans. Only in the late 1990s, the Schroder government at the legislative level took up the problem of the low qualifications of immigrants. In 2000, the legislation was amended to provide benefits for the immigration of highly skilled workers. But while these changes could only slightly change the composition of immigrants arriving in Germany every year.
With differences in some details, but with a similar end result, the fate of Britain and Germany was repeated by France, the Netherlands and other countries of Western Europe.
Integration did not work out.
Thus, during most of its post-war history, many European countries almost did not set criteria for choosing migrants. Often, in order to obtain a residence permit, the immigrant must have been a potential victim of repression in the country of origin. Often, ordinary economic migrants who have nothing to do with persecution and persecution, and simply seek to live in a more developed country, have used and continue to use the humanitarian channel.
Perhaps in Europe they did not pay attention to the policy of selecting immigrants, because their integration was successful? Unfortunately, this is hardly the case. Between the local population and visitors there is a stable distance.
Immigrant diasporas and indigenous people can not be compared using a single indicator. It is necessary to use several, according to which both the visitors and the local population are active. Do visitors overtake the local in terms of the proportion of employed among the able-bodied population over time? And by the level of earnings? Is the progress of children and grandchildren of immigrants approaching the estimates of the younger generation of Germans, Danes or Dutch? What are the rates of crime among two cohorts? How often do immigrants and local people commit infrequently recorded violations such as small skirmishes, scandals, domestic violence, street crossing to red light, minor thefts, etc.? Some of these indicators can be calculated with the help of statistical data, others exist only in the heads of observers.
Unfortunately, both the statistical data and personal observations do not indicate the successful integration of many immigrant diasporas in Western Europe. Neither the level and quality of employment, nor the performance of their children, most families who moved to Germany or France from a poor country, can not quickly catch up with local households.
As a rule, immigrants who have moved to Europe through humanitarian channels, get cheap housing in the poor areas of large cities. Separating from the influence of the host population, immigrants reproduce their familiar social space & mdash; Paper and cigarette butts on the sidewalk, drunkenness and scandal at home, hooligan and loafing teenagers on the street. Instead of multiculturalism, there is often a multiculturalism that irritates the local population, accustomed to living in safety and peace. Dislike is amplified during economic crises and softens in times of relatively rapid growth. Instead of integration, there is a soft segregation and tension. In rare cases, tension turns into a form of open hostility and pogroms.
In response to these episodes, more and more often one can hear calls to refuse immigration. However, as already emphasized, the problem is not in immigration as a phenomenon, but in the design of immigration policy. In countries using other rules for the choice of migrants, the results of migration policy are much more encouraging.
The opposite of European immigration policy is the Canadian or Australian approach to the formation of immigrant communities. Although these countries also use the humanitarian immigration channel, most of the visitors come to these countries through professional programs. However, the absolute size of immigrant cohorts in accordance with the 2011 population census is more than 25% of the population in Australia and more than 20% in Canada. In the past decade, Canada on average received 240 thousand immigrants a year. In recent years, this indicator has increased by 10-20 thousand people. The overwhelming majority of immigrants of recent years come to the country through a professional channel, most of the economic immigrants are highly skilled workers. In recent years, about 200 thousand people have come to Australia, more than 60% of immigrants have high qualifications.
At the same time, in Canada, immigration policy partly serves the long-term goal of increasing the number of educated citizens. Until recently, there were immigrants with good education, knowledge of languages, but without labor contracts. In Australia and New Zealand, immigration policies are tied to the needs of the labor market in skilled professionals.
But with all the differences, the policies pursued in these countries led to the formation of fundamentally other immigrant communities. Australian immigrants do not commit more crimes than indigenous Australians. Children of newcomers learn as well as local ones, and immigrants themselves catch up with the local population over time, both in terms of employment and in terms of earnings. It is reckless to try to idealize something, so it should be emphasized that in Canada and in Australia there are interethnic conflicts and other problems related to immigration. However, the difference from Western Europe & mdash; on a scale: here the advantage is for countries attracting those immigrants who are already largely integrated into the professional and social environment of the host country.
It is worth emphasizing that neither Toronto nor Sydney are insured against mass murders such as those that occurred in Paris or Nice. But the likelihood that they are planned in an angry immigrant ghetto is much higher than in townhouses populated by programmers or engineers.
Immigrant diasporas in Germany, the UK or France have been formed for decades and it is difficult to imagine an integration policy that will quickly solve their problems. But it is possible to change the immigration policy relatively quickly, which will slow down the formation of angry ghettoes, in which the chances for successful integration are limited even for a long distance.
But what about the refugees who, if the policy changes, will be less likely to move? It has long been suggested that a significant part, if not the vast majority of refugees, mdash; in fact, low-skilled economic immigrants who choose the most suitable immigration channel for them. A real refugee will be happy if the situation from the worst becomes bad, and the economic migrant will be satisfied when the situation of the bad becomes good. A person saving his life will agree to a long, long-term settlement in the refugee center, with basic living conditions, and an economic immigrant will hardly consider this outcome as favorable. An additional way to help distinguish refugees from immigrants can be the payment of incentive sums for voluntary return. A person saving his life from such a sum is likely to refuse, but an economic migrant whose hopes for a full-fledged immigration failed may well prefer to take the money and leave. Such a mechanism, by the way, was discussed in Switzerland not so long ago.
The point of view of authors whose articles are published in the section “Opinions & raquo ;, may not coincide with the opinion of the editorial staff.