Immigration is the reverse of emigration. However, the bringing in of slaves was not usually considered immigration. The long term and/or permanent movement of human population in general, whether into, out of, or within countries (or before the existence of recognised countries) is regarded as migration; this is often hard to distinguish from nomadic or seasonal movement.
Throughout the world immigration is a controversial issue. All developed nations put severe restrictions on who can immigrate to them. These are usually justified on economic grounds with worries that many poor workers would lower wages and the nation's standard of living as well. Usually, however, the actual reason for limiting immigration is cultural. This is felt most strongly in homogenous old world nations where citizenship was long tied to a person having deep historical roots in the country. Western European nations, Japan, and other countries have long been deeply concerned about their national culture being subsumed by a tied of immigrants. This concern is especially high when the immigrants are of differing race or religion than the majority. Most European nations have relatively modest levels of immigration, but concern is so high that many of them have far right parties almost solely concerned with the immigration issue.
Only five countries in the world actively encourage large numbers of immigrants. Israel, Canada, the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. These nations still have strict requirements insisting immigrants demonstrate employable skills or economic clout before being permitted to immigrate. Many other countries permit immigration in particular circumstances, e.g., to fill jobs where a skill is not available locally, for wealthy investors or business leaders, in cases of marriage, multiple citizenship or asylum, or under multilateral agreements such as within the European Union or between New Zealand and Australia.
The majority of immigration occurs because for economic reasons. Wage rates vary greatly between different countries and individuals of third world countries in particular can have far higher standards of living in developed countries than in their homes. The pressure to immigrate is so high that when legal means are restircted illegal immigrations very quickly becomes an important industry.
Economists have argued that a free global labour market with no restrictions on immigrations would, in the long run, be one of the greatest possible boosts to global prosperity and would have a vastly more beneficial economic impact than free trade of goods and capital.
|Table of contents|
2 US Immigration topics
3 British Immigration topics
4 Australian Immigration topics
5 Immigration Activist Topics
6 Further reading
General Immigration topics
US Immigration topics
British Immigration topics
Australian Immigration topics
Immigration Activist Topics