December 18, 2014

Migration in the news this week (December 18, 2014)

As we mark the UN's International Migrants Day today, we look at the top migration stories that made the news this week.

Czech Republic to "share" migration burden
Although the Czech Republic is not a major target for permanent migrants from Middle Eastern nations, foreign politicians have said that it must accept a proportion of the growing influx.

War and political instability in Syria and surrounding nations has driven people towards Europe in increasing numbers. The majority of these migrants and asylum seekers have fled to Germany.

However, MEP Rachida Dati said: "Facing irregular migration in Europe requires involvement from all member states […] It would not be fair that only a few states bear the burden of Schengen’s weakness."

Klaus F. Zimmermann writes that migration is typically temporary, and the economic benefits of labor mobility tend to outweigh any negative impacts. He describes how accepting migrants can help to fill labor shortages, and boost overall growth.

Anti-immigration protests rage in Germany
German protestors took to the streets of Dresden over the influx of Muslim migrants and refugees arriving in the country to escape conflict in the Middle East.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken out against the claims of the 15,000 marchers, who represented the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA) movement, saying that they are "extremely dangerous for Germany and its reputation as a country that is open to the world."

The number of asylum-seekers in Germany has exceeded 200,000 this year, more than any other Western country.

Pia Orrenius writes that border control measures should be regularly evaluated to minimize costs and increase overall integration levels. She notes that the underlying forces driving migration should always be taken into account.

Skills shortage in Pacific Islands raises climate threats 
Small Pacific Island states most threatened by rising sea levels and natural risks are facing a skills shortage which could impair how effectively they implement climate change policies.

Tight national budgets have caused a reduction in wages, while governments favor health and education professionals over climate experts. A "brain drain" caused by climate experts moving to richer countries is also a problem.

Around 15.7% of people born in Micronesia migrate away, along with 15.4% of people born in Tonga, and 13.4% of people born in Samoa. The average migration rate among small island states is just 1.4%.

Frédéric Docquier has written about the impact of brain drains on sending and receiving nations, saying that overall there are "many more losers than winners among developing countries." However, he acknowledges that imposing too many restrictions on international mobility can also be detrimental to development.

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Related articles:
Circular migration, by Klaus F. Zimmermann
Enforcement and illegal migration, by Pia Orrenius

The brain drain from developing countries, by Frédéric Docquier