Politics in Minutes (2016)

Migration

Since the 19th century, improvements in transport have meant that huge numbers of migrants have left their home countries to seek a better life. Young nations such as the USA and Australia have become prosperous through their acceptance of immigrants, and older countries in Europe have at one time or another been reliant on an immigrant workforce. But in recent times, many countries have imposed severe restrictions on immigration, which is increasingly seen as a problem rather than a boon. Instead of importing labour, it has become more economical to outsource production to another country, freeing up more of the domestic workforce to staff the service industries. Immigrants have consequently been regarded as a threat to local jobs for local people, and a drain on resources. A distinction is sometimes made between these ‘economic migrants’ and refugees from natural disasters, or asylum seekers fleeing oppression. This has become a major issue for some right-wing nationalist political parties, who point to social problems arising from multiculturalism.

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