In today’s world, immigration/ emigration has become something of a norm in our globalised society. You can find people of all colours in every part of the world. Immigration has positive and negative effects on every society of every country. Immigrants are a total nuisance to some but a valuable commodity to others. Lately, I have been looking at the impact of immigrants in various countries of the world. In today’s factual article, I shall describe the many factors, effects and consequences of continuous immigration and emigration in our society.
What is Immigration and Emigration ?
Immigration, as defined by Wikipedia is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence. Immigration does not equal tourism. Tourism on the other hand, as defined by Wikipedia is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. Emigration is the same as immigration except it is from the perspective of the country of origin of an immigrant.
The Beginning of Immigration
It has been proven, in the name of science, that all humans on Earth today are the descendants of the early humans in Africa. Whether you choose to believe it or not, the fact remains that everyone living outside Africa today are the result of emigration over the millennia. Over time, the human race managed to occupy most of the habitable land on Earth. The nature of the land induced evolution for better adaptation to the environment. Eventually, the human race differentiated as a result of immigration and the nature of the land. Humans living in Europe began to develop different features that differentiated them from their brothers in Africa. Those who emigrated east into Asia underwent a similar process, once again due to the nature of the land they lived in. The people of the Americas were descendants of the people of Siberia.
In the past few centuries, the concept of immigration changed drastically. This is especially true in the 21st century. By far the most significant example of modern immigration is the establishment of the New World, that is, the migration of European colonialists to America in the 16th century. The influx of immigrants into North and South America had altered the demographics of the continent permanently. Another significant example of modern immigration is the settlement of British convicts in Australia. Together, these events became precursors to further immigration and emigration throughout the world up to the present day.
Factors of Modern Immigration
People immigrate and emigrate for many reasons. Some of these factors are listed below.
- Economical reasons
- War/ Natural disaster
- Social reasons
- Political reasons
A person may migrate to another country in search of a higher quality of living. The person’s country of origin may be unfit or unable to fulfil his or her desires. War or natural disasters will witness drastic hikes in emigration from the countries affected. People also migrate for the purpose of reuniting with loved ones or friends. A country’s political status may deter or encourage immigration. Countries with severe political oppression will witness a gradual emigration of it’s people to other, less oppressive countries.
Effects of Immigration
Immigration may bring positive or negative effects to any give country.
The negative effects of immigration are many and severe. For economical purposes, I only listed down the most significant ones.
Brain Drain refers to the large scale emigration of educated intellectuals. This is especially prevalent in developing countries. An historical example of Brain Drain is the emigration of talented and skilful individuals from East Germany to West Germany during the Cold War. The poor political status in East Germany caused many unhappy East Germans to migrate to the more favourable West Germany. Fast- forward to the 21st century and Brain Drain is still a major problem in many developing countries.
Countries suffering from Brain Drain are as follows ( Red = Minor Brain Drain, Black = Major Brain Drain );
- Socio- Economic Problems
When a country receives a large influx of immigrants, socio- economic problems will surely arise. It is likely that social ” blocs ” would emerge as a result of the racial, economic and political status of any given group. A good example of the aforementioned statement is the era of slavery in America before the formation of the United States. The ethnically African settlers were limited to forced labour. In contrast, the European settlers held a large majority of the land’s wealth. This caused a socio- economic divide to materialise between the white and black people. The effects were still felt up ’till the 20th century. This problem does not happen in countries with little to no foreign immigrants such as Japan, South Korea and the former states of the USSR.
Racism is an all too sensitive and controversial subject which is certainly not bound by borders. Wherever you go, you can bet you’ll find racist people. However, compared to the past, racism is far from a major problem in most countries in the world today. Racism is more prevalent in high- income countries or middle- income countries as opposed to low-income countries. Why ? Simply put, most people in rich countries do not like the idea of foreign people taking over their land. Rich countries are a magnet to people in poor countries. Thus, many people from poor countries often migrate to rich countries. If the inflow of poor, uneducated immigrants is too great, an intolerance will likely occur as a consequence. This problem is aggravated if the immigrants do not respect the ways of the people of the country. Usually, educated immigrants do not contribute to the racism problem in developed countries. This is supported by the fact that Australia, Singapore, the U.A.E and the U.S contain large majorities of educated immigrant communities and problems associated with racism are mostly minor and rare. In contrast, most immigrants in countries such as France, South Africa and the United Kingdom contribute to the racism problem in those nations. This is supported by the fact that most immigrants in those countries arrive from less developed countries and are mostly poor and uneducated.
Crime is common and widespread in some immigrant communities in the world. For example, more than 1/5 of all crime in London were committed by immigrants in 2007. * 25% of crime in Sweden during 1997 – 2001 were committed by immigrants. *As a result, a new ‘ anti- immigrant ‘ movement has gained popularity in some European countries. Crimes include everything from drug dealing to rape. Many countries have tightened laws on immigration in the recent decades as a result. * Note : Data may not be accurate and may be overrated.
- Changing of Demographics
Sometimes, a country receives a large amount of immigrants, so much so that the demographics of the country are affected significantly. This has happened many times in the history of mankind. The original natives of North America were never white, although I am unsure just how many people have realized this because the immigration of European settlers into North America had completely changed the demographics of the continent permanently. The same case happened in Australia, New Zealand, South America and South Africa. Some Asian countries also experienced a significant change in their demographics as a result of immigration in the past few centuries, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan. A change in the demographics of any given country is usually a bad thing for the natives because they have to accept people of foreign ancestry as one of theirs, regardless of race, religion and others. This would mean sharing the wealth, culture and pride of their country with those people of foreign ancestry, causing much discomfort and dissatisfaction among the native people.
The positive effects of immigration are few and numbered. Here are a few examples.
The most dramatic positive effect of immigration is the assimilation of educated professionals from other countries into the society of any given country. This is called Brain Gain. It is the direct opposite of the above Brain Drain. Today, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Singapore and most of Western Europe have been dubbed ‘ Brain Gain nations ‘ . Some, like Australia and Singapore have also been called ‘ Immigration Nations ‘ where 50% or more of the citizens have foreign ancestry.
Countries subject to Brain Gain are as follows ( Blue = Minor Brain Gain, Green = Major Brain Gain ) ;
Worldwide immigration ultimately results in an increase in globalization. Globalization, as defined by Wikipedia is the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Globalization has it’s many advantages, among them are helping realize the unity of the human race as one, transcending borders and continents. However, globalization also has many flaws.
Immigration, Yay or Nay ? ( My opinion )
In my opinion, mass immigration is mostly a bad thing. Yes, it has several plus points, as listed above but I feel that immigration brings more bad than it does good to any given country. While I don’t think it is fair to stop people from migrating to other countries, I still believe it would be better if people were to remain and stay loyal to their homeland. I feel that the common third- world misconception of ‘ Europe/ America/ Japan is the best ‘ is severely misleading. Most people fail to understand that life is never about wealth, but rather about true happiness. One may find greater wealth in foreign land but there is no guarantee that happiness awaits on the other side of the fence. Happiness will continue to elude immigrants until the day they realize the above statements.
Furthermore, immigrants must consider the effect of their actions on the country they choose to migrate to. The European colonisation witnessed the death of most of the native American- Indians due to a disease accidentally brought over from Europe. The immigration of the Jews to present- day Israel has been the source of unrest in the Middle East for decades. The immigrations of workers into the colonies of Great Britain such as that in South Africa, Australia and Malaysia has caused many racial and socio- economic problems. Thus, I feel that immigration, if not regulated will cause many problems for the native people of any given country.
My point is that the grass is greenest in one’s own backyard and never more in anyone else’s. It is a matter of personal opinion as many people would say otherwise, and the statement has no scientific proof to serve as support.
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