Refugee - 'Any person, who because of persecution or life-threatening conditions, has had to leave behind his homeland and all that he or she ever was and ever hoped to be.'

Immigrant - 'A person who takes up residency in another country through established immigration procedures; foreign-born newcomers to the U.S. regardless of their legal status.'

Reasons why people leave their home countries:

Most of them decide to leave their homes in search of a better life. They live under bad conditions and can´t find any job. And when they have found one, this job is mostly very badly paid. These circumstances force them to leave their country, because they can´t feed their family.

They have heard that opportunities in Europe exist for all, and they hope to create a better lifestyle for themselves and their families.

There are also skilled workers, who leave their home countries, because they can earn much more money in Europe and also in order to get more experience.

Another reason is that many people have to flee, for example from the Taliban. In this case they are called Refugees. Most of them are political refugees.

Reaction of the local population:

Most people have no problems with migrants and refugees. They know that they had problems in their country and had to move. They also understand that we need them for the economy.

But there are also people who don´t like the immigrants. They fear that they take away jobs and that they just exploit social benefits.

They put them under suspicion, especially the Muslims, since the twin towers attack of September 11th. These people reproach them, that aspects of their religion are fundamental.

The biggest hostility by the local population exists in towns or districts where many immigrants live. Because there, the migrants are not any longer a minority and they are not ready to adapt to the lifestyle of the host country.

Migrants and refugees often encounter xenophobia and discrimination, sometimes made worse by racist politicians.

A major problem is that many people have prejudices against different people. This was often built up by many generations.

Advantages of absorbing migrants:

The economy in Europe cannot continue to grow without a steady flow of immigrants.

The euro area faces a rapidly ageing population. In ten years, one in five of the population will be aged 65 or older. At the same time there is a dramatic decrease of the fertility rate. This all lead to an ever smaller workforce. There will be labour shortages, not just for skilled workers, but also for the unskilled. Immigration can´t fill this gap, but it can help.

There are also many jobs, where specialist are urgently needed, for example computer specialists, nurses, doctors and many more. Then there are also badly-paid jobs, which the local population don´t want to do.

Women as migrants:

During the l960s and 1970s the majority of migrants were men; this pattern changed during the 1980s as women became nearly one-half of the international migrant population, as they are today. Over half of the female migrants from Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean moved in search of employment.

Many of them are between 16-24 years old. Women who migrate face numerous obstacles. The biggest problem is economic exploitation due to a lack of economic or legal protection, limited access to well-paid jobs, and the threat of sexual exploitation in the receiving country.

Children as migrants:

Many of the children are sent to Australia, Canada and New Zealand as orphans. But in reality the majority are no orphans.

Other children are sent overseas without the knowledge of parents or relatives, and are later denied details of their families.

Over 100,000 children were sent to the colonies during the 100 years of child migration until 1967.

Possible solutions:

Integration in the labour market:

It´s important to make the access easier for migrants. Also very important is to offer them language courses.

Improve the standard of living:

Studies show that immigrants who live in the town amongst the local population integrate much better than migrants who live in the outskirts separated from the local population.

Integration in school:

A further important aspect is the right integration of children at school. The biggest barrier is the language, but without knowing the language the children can´t follow the lessons. The use of bilingual teachers is very important. It´s also necessary to limit the number of foreign children, because then the teacher can help them better.

Trends and perspectives:

The european society needs immigration to compensate the unequally age structure and the manpower shortage. And because of this reason they need an organized, workbased migration to fill these gaps at least partly. Especially after 2010, when the “babyboom-generation” reach the retiring age, we need an instrument to cope with this problem.

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