By on May 9, 2014
Prev1 of 1Next

Immigration is the movement of people into another country or region to which they are not native in order to settle there.

Immigration is a result of a number of factors


Political reasons

Family re-unification

Natural disasters

Push and Pull Factors for Immigration

Push factors refer to causes for immigration from the country of origin which are mainly economic.

Escape from poverty (personal or for relatives staying behind) is a traditional push factor, the availability of jobs is the related pull factor.

Natural disasters can amplify poverty-driven migration flows.

Expatriates are typically religious missionaries, and employees of transnational corporations, international non-governmental organizations and the diplomatic service working in a better or equal conditions than people in similar posts in their own country.

Education is the primary pull factor (although most international students are not classified as immigrants).

Retirement migration from rich countries to lower-cost countries with better climate is a new type of international migration. Examples include immigration of retired British citizens to Spain or Italy and of retired Canadian citizens to the U.S. (mainly to the U.S. states of Florida and Texas).

Non-economic push factors include persecution (religious and otherwise), frequent abuse, bullyingoppressionethnic cleansing and even genocide, and risks to civilians during war. Political motives traditionally motivate refugee flows—to escape dictatorship for instance.

Some migration is for personal reasons, based on a relationship (e.g. to be with family or a partner), such as in family reunification or transnational marriage (especially in the instance of a gender imbalance). Recent research has found gender, age, and cross-cultural differences in the ownership of the idea to immigrate (for more, click here). In a few cases, an individual may wish to immigrate to a new country in a form of transferred patriotism.

Evasion of criminal justice (e.g. avoiding arrest) is a personal motivation. This type of emigration and immigration is not normally legal, if a crime is internationally recognized, although criminals may disguise their identities or find other loopholes to evade detection. There have been cases, for example, of those who might be guilty of war crimes disguising themselves as victims of war or conflict and then pursuing asylum in a different country.

Barriers to immigration come not only in legal form or political form; natural and social barriers to immigration can also be very powerful. Immigrants when leaving their country also leave everything familiar: their family, friends, support network, and culture. They also need to liquidate their assets often at a large loss, and incur the expense of moving. When they arrive in a new country this is often with many uncertainties including finding work, where to live, new laws, new cultural norms, language or accent issues, possible racism and other exclusionary behavior towards them and their family.

These barriers act to limit international migration (scenarios where populations move en masse to other continents, creating huge population surges, and their associated strain on infrastructure and services, ignore these inherent limits on migration.)

The Iron Curtain in Europe was designed as a means of preventing emigration. “It is one of the ironies of post-war European history that, once the freedom to travel for Europeans living under communist regimes, which had long been demanded by the West, was finally granted in 1989/90, travel was very soon afterwards made much more difficult by the West itself, and new barriers were erected to replace the Iron Curtain.” —Anita Böcker

The politics of immigration have become increasingly associated with other issues, such as national securityterrorism, and in western Europe especially, with the presence of Islam as a new major religion.



Prev1 of 1Next