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European Immigration

The Evolution

In Europe, immigration has evolved and contributed to cultural and economic stimulation however in my opinion, these changes, in the end, are positive. As far as I am concerned, when looking at the history of Europe, immigration commenced when Europeans would emigrate to other countries across the globe to colonise other nations. For centuries, merchants, craftsmen and intellectuals crossed continents to practice a trade. Aside from voluntary immigration, forced immigration also was widespread in Europe, for example, The expulsion of Jews from Spain to the wars between Russia, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman empires. Since the 1980s, the number of asylum seekers has increased vastly. In 1984, there were around 104,000 immigrants in Europe, by 1992 there were around 700,000. It seems to me that as the number of asylum seekers rises, the more European countries start to protect and close-off their country. The reason for this rise is mainly because of war, safety, and career opportunities.

Firstly, Europe has a significant problem with fertility. The fertility rates of the generations today are expected to reach zero in less than a decade. Based on what I have learned, I agree with this statement, Europe needs to increase immigration to keep their population steady and rising. In 2015, the year the refugee crisis broke out, the European population had a decline in births. Germany even created billboards that advertised pregnancy connected to patriotism as a way to encourage citizens to reproduce. This shows how, if Europe were more open to immigrants in their countries, they would not need to use this kind of propaganda and other manipulation to increase the population.

Finally, while it is easy for immigrant children and second-generation immigrants to pick up the language, the school systems in most European countries are not prepared for integrating the foreign-born. In Spain and Italy, 35 percent of children from immigrant families drop out of school early; in Germany, France, Austria, Belgium the rate is between 20 percent and 25 percent— this is too high for successful integration. In some countries, literacy levels among the second-generation immigrants are lower than among the first generation: children do not see their parents succeed, so there are few reasons for them to try harder.

Countries need to simplify their diploma recognition practices and, as Sweden already does, partially fund apprenticeships that allow employers to overcome their distrust for immigrants' skills.

However, while the European economy is growing, and labour shortages increase, and hundreds of thousands of eastern Europeans have sought asylum and this still will not close the gap between worsening demographics and economic strength, Europeans in the majority have two principal objections to accepting immigrants. All European countries, except Sweden and Estonia, have the idea that immigrants take more from their country’s economy and society than they give back. The second objection is that only the inadequate and unqualified migrants are the ones migrating. These opinions are contradictory to fact according to the Bruegel report, 22 percent of immigrants to Europe are overqualified for the jobs they do, as a consequence the younger generation doing manual labour in the country of immigration are now returning to their home country in eastern Europe. Even so, almost 50 percent of Europeans believe that migration should be reduced.

In conclusion, Europe can not afford to pick and choose who comes if it wants to remain economically competitive with a deteriorating or failing native population. What it can afford to do is spend more intelligently, on integration and set policing that would make it clear that alternatives to integration can be unattractive. While many European countries have an objection to immigrants there is clear evidence that denies their reasoning. If a fair immigration policy were to be put in place this could calm Europeans’ concerns and allow for migrants to practice their expertise and make a positive contribution to their new “home.” To sum up, from my point of view many European countries would benefit from opening their countries open to immigrants.