On European immigration: Europe’s Missing Citizens

European Youth Insights is a platform provided by the European Youth Forum and the European Sting, to allow young people to air their views on issues that matter to them. Written by Arif Shala, Executive Director at the Institute for Economic Development Studies

Arif Shala is a a doctoral student at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany and executive director at the Institute for Economic Development Studies in Prishtine, Kosovo.

Arif Shala is a a doctoral student at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany and executive director at the Institute for Economic Development Studies in Prishtine, Kosovo.

Migration refers to change of residence, it is a more or less a permanent movement across space. People “emigrate” from one country and become “immigrants” in the new place of residence. With migration being a reality rather than a fiction, it is of paramount importance that EU Member States commit themselves to enable immigrants thrive. The need to design policies  that promote active participation of immigrants in European societies has never been greater. Of special importance in this respect will be the policies that target education, employment and active citizenship.

Education

Immigrants attend schools and academic institutions in EU Member States in significant numbers. EU data suggest that 8.3 million young people in the EU Member States were born abroad. Of this, 3.1 million are under 15 years old and 5.2 million are between the ages of 15 and 24. Unfortunately the Eurostat’s 2011 statistical report on Migrations in Europe indicates that young people of migration backgrounds are twice as likely to leave school early than native born youngsters. Consequently, the intervention in the education of young people with migrant background is crucial if the Europe Union aims to fulfill its 10 year EU growth and competitiveness strategy, EU 2020. This strategy aims to reduce the drop-out rates to below 10 %, and to make sure that a minimum of 40% of adults between 30 to 34 years old have completed tertiary education (O’Dowd, 2014a).

Focusing on improving educational outcomes for migrant youth will ultimately help EU Member States to achieve the targets of inclusive economic growth and reduction of unemployment. Data suggests that reducing the school leaving rates for foreign-born learners will bring Europe 30% closer to its goal. Experts suggest that migrant education is the most crucial challenge facing education in Europe in the coming years. Migrant children have continually (C., 2014) been overlooked in national policy making. If EU is to meet its ambitions goals it is of paramount importance that education policies target immigrant students (O’Dowd, 2014b).

Employment

In order to truly understand the impact that immigrants have in the economy of a country one should look closer in three areas, namely the labor market, the public purse and economic growth. With regards to the labor market, immigrants accounted for over 70% of the increase in the labor force over the past ten years in Europe. The impact of immigrants is seen in fast-growing sectors as well as in those that are facing steady decline. In terms of public revenues, data suggests that immigrants contribute far more in taxes and social contributions in comparison to the benefits they receive. Consequently, their impact is highly positive. Last but not least, immigrants contribute to economic development by boosting the working-age of population (Dumont & Liebig, 2014).

Since 2001 migrants have represented a 14% increase in the highly educated labor force in Europe. Furthermore immigrants are slowing becoming key players in growing occupations in Europe where they represent 15 % of the total workforce.  These occupations include but are not limited to health-care occupations and STEM occupations (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). In the mean time, immigrants are also influencing positively the occupations that are currently declining in EU, where they represent 24 % of the work force. These occupations include craft, machine operators and assemblers (Liebig and Mo, 2013).

Dumont and Liebig (2014) argue that the waves of migration that arrived during the last five decades in OECD countries has had an impact value close to zero, rarely exceeded 0.5% in positive or negative terms. This data shows that immigrants are not a financial burden to residence countries. What is more, immigrants contribute more in taxes and social contributions in comparison to what they receive in social benefits.  Immigrants contribute to financing public infrastructure, a contribution that is always lower than that of native born residents. Consequently, if EU member countries were to increase employment rates among immigrants, their financial contribution would increase as well.

Active citizenship 

The majority of EU migrants in Western Europe are not naturalized which makes them unable to vote in national elections, regional elections and finally the European elections. In every election in Europe 51 million people or 14% of the population of EU do not vote because they are not allowed to vote. Unfortunately it is in these elections that most policies for immigration, employment and social policies are decided. This practice in Europe will have long term negative impact in EU politics. One of the most damaging effects of this practice relates to the increase of the far-right. The democratic deficit in EU member states will continue to increase if something is not done rapidity. Every vote that is casted for the far-right will tighten the immigration policies, the more immigrants are excluded from political involvement the more powerful will the far-right become in EU member states.

All member states should rapidly promote active citizenship and citizenship reform the society at large should be made aware of the invaluable benefit of active citizenship for immigrants and the society in general. Research suggests that electoral participation of immigrants promotes socio-economic integration, fights discrimination and courters the far right (Migration Policy Group, 2014).

Over time, regardless of whether they arrived legally or illegally, by living and working in a society, immigrants became members of that society. A large number of research data suggest that immigrants add value to the country where they settle. EU countries have an untapped potential among immigrants. Utilizing this potential will ultimately improve the economic standing of EU, its political structures and its innovation potential.

About the author

Arif Shala is a a doctoral student at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany and executive director at the Institute for Economic Development Studies in Prishtine, Kosovo.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

New EU rules ensure better protection for 120 million holidaymakers this summer

European Border and Coast Guard: 10 000-strong standing corps by 2027

Google succumbs unconditionally to EU’s “right to be forgotten” ruling

COVID-19 will hit the developing world’s cities hardest. Here’s why

Tributes for ‘role model’ former UN refugee agency chief, Sadako Ogata

The big five EU telecom operators in dire straights

AI can wreak havoc if left unchecked by humans

Clamp down on illegal trade in pets, urge Public Health Committee MEPs

As conflicts become more complex, ‘mediation is no longer an option; it is a necessity’, UN chief tells Security Council

We are ‘burning up our future’, UN’s Bachelet tells Human Rights Council

Hydrogen isn’t the fuel of the future. It’s already here

5 ways COVID-19 has changed workforce management

Terrorism and migrants: the two awful nightmares for Europe and Germany in 2016

EU job-search aid worth €2 million for 500 former shipbuilding workers in Spain

France pushes UK to stay and Germany to pay

Where EU air pollution is deadliest

China rare earth prices soar on their potential role in trade war

Harmonised Unemployment Rates (HURs), OECD – Updated: February 2020

UN spotlights wellbeing of seafarers on International Day

‘Much more’ can be done to raise awareness about the plight of persons with albinism: UN chief

UN-backed intercultural dialogue forum urged to keep working to ‘bridge gap between the like-minded’

EU joint response to disasters: deal reached with Council

Combatting terrorism: Parliament sets out proposals for a new EU strategy

This South Korean city once had the biggest coronavirus outbreak outside of China. Now it’s reported zero new cases

Commission moves to ensure supply of personal protective equipment in the European Union

5 crises that could worsen under COVID-19

Finland has just published everyone’s taxes on ‘National Jealousy Day’

ITU Telecom World 2017: exploring smart digital transformation

European Parliament calls on Russia to end occupation of Georgian territories

5 neuroscience hacks that will make you happier

RescEU: MEPs vote to upgrade EU civil protection capacity

All for equality – 2020 is a pivotal year for Gender Equality

Deeper reforms in Korea will ensure more inclusive and sustainable growth

UN Climate Action Summit concludes with insufficient EU and global pledges

Milk, fruits and vegetables distributed to schoolchildren thanks to EU programme

China’s cities are rapidly becoming more competitive. Here’s why

Security Council must ‘come together’ to address the plight of children trapped in armed conflict, says UN envoy

EU Migrant Crisis: Italian Coast Guard Headquarters and Italian Navy to give host national opening addresses at Border Security 2016 in Rome

New EU-UK agreement is welcome but thorough scrutiny remains, insist lead MEPs

Coal addiction ‘must be overcome’ to ease climate change, UN chief says in Bangkok

EU27 leaders unite on Brexit Guidelines ahead of “tough negotiations” with Theresa May

How to get young people in Europe to swipe right on voting

This is Amsterdam’s ambitious plan to turn its transport electric

Reforms in Latvia must result in stronger enforcement to tackle foreign bribery and subsequent money laundering risks

Parliament boosts consumer rights online and offline

What is systemic racism, and how can we combat it?

EU Council approves visa-free travel for Ukraine and cement ties with Kiev

Powering a climate-neutral economy: Commission sets out plans for the energy system of the future and clean hydrogen

Marginalized groups hit hardest by inequality and stigma in cities

OECD joins with Japan to fight financial crime by establishing new academy

The business case for diversity in the workplace is now overwhelming

EU Parliament and Council: Close to agreement on the bank resolution mechanism

Poor quality is healthcare’s silent killer. Here’s what we can do about it

ECB asks for more subsidies to banks

Global trade is broken. Here are five ways to rebuild it

Intervene, don’t overthink – the new mantra of systems design

We need natural solutions to fight ocean and climate risk

EU Parliament: No EU-US trade agreement without safe data

The MWC14 Sting Special Edition

Italy and Greece zeroed their fiscal deficits, expect Germany’s response

More Stings?

Advertising

Comments

  1. good article

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s