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Symposium 2011

Migration, Integration and Identity

The Challenge

Migration is a central dimension of globalization. It entails major challenges but also major opportunities for countries of origin and countries of destination, as well as migrants themselves. Advances in information and communications technologies and affordable travel allow migrants to be part of life in both their home and host countries.

This “migrant transnationalism” is reflected in increased circular migration and diaspora engagement in the economic and political development of their countries of origin. As a consequence, a growing number of people tend to identify with multiple countries and cultures.

Migrant transnationalism can benefit both source countries and destination countries.

It can encourage international trade, capital flows and the diffusion of knowledge as well as social and political norms, thus fostering economic and social development. Destination countries may in addition gain from spurred innovation through diversity as well as from the mitigation of short-term labor shortages.

Yet migrant transnationalism is often viewed as a threat to national identity and social cohesion in host countries. Instead of accepting that a person can be part of more than one culture and even harnessing the migrants’ sustained ties with their countries of origin, complete cultural and social assimilation is expected. What policies can help to maximize the benefits of transnational migration and, at the same time, mitigate potential problems with respect to integration, social cohesion and alienation?

Previous GES sessions on migration have proposed bilateral agreements to enhance migrant mobility. How could such agreements be used to foster migrant transnationalism and help to realize its potential benefits? Could such agreements help to adjust education and training programs in source countries in ways that facilitate the recognition of qualifications and mitigate migrants’ integration problems—for example, by providing language skills and knowledge relevant to the host country? Could bilateral agreements help to adjust social security systems to accommodate temporary migration—for example, by improving the portability of social security contributions and benefits?

What are the consequences of migrant transnationalism for optimal integration policies? Could dual citizenship facilitate integration into the host country while preserving the connection with the country of origin? How can host countries foster the political and civic participation of migrants who do not hold full citizenship? Should temporary migration programs offer a path to permanent residence and full citizenship?

How can migrant associations help to improve the integration process and, at the same time, foster relations between source and destination countries? Should governments provide financial and technical support and/or offer them active participation in the design and delivery of integration and development cooperation policies?

What can businesses do to maximize the benefits of migration and diversity and how can these benefits be communicated to the public more effectively? Can companies offer an alternative source of identity that facilitates integration? What can society learn from cultural diversity management practices in multinational corporations?

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Educate both migrants and host populations to foster mutual understanding of their respective cultures and values, and thus ease adaptation and integration.

    Educate both migrants and host populations to foster mutual understanding of their respective cultures and values, and thus ease adaptation and integration.

    Educate both migrants and host populations to foster mutual understanding of their respective cultures and values, and thus ease adaptation and integration.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Require and support migrants’ investments in learning the language of the destination country; and expand language education in origin countries.

    Require and support migrants’ investments in learning the language of the destination country; and expand language education in origin countries.

    Require and support migrants’ investments in learning the language of the destination country; and expand language education in origin countries.

    Polity, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    For medium- to high-skilled migrants, design migration policies to align their skills better with the labor market needs of the destination country. To this end, allow for direct private sector ...

    For medium- to high-skilled migrants, design migration policies to align their skills better with the labor market needs of the destination country. To this end, allow for direct private sector and pr ...

    For medium- to high-skilled migrants, design migration policies to align their skills better with the labor market needs of the destination country. To this end, allow for direct private sector and private employment agencies’ involvement based on internationally recognized recruitment standards and principles.

    Polity, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    To support investments in human and social capital and to foster integration, allow labor migration to be long-term or even permanent, and provide clear and transparent rules for a path ...

    To support investments in human and social capital and to foster integration, allow labor migration to be long-term or even permanent, and provide clear and transparent rules for a path to permanent r ...

    To support investments in human and social capital and to foster integration, allow labor migration to be long-term or even permanent, and provide clear and transparent rules for a path to permanent residency.

    Polity, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    For low- to medium-skilled migrants, host countries should adopt temporary or circular labor migration programs in sectors with transient or cyclical skill shortages. But they should prevent the exploitation of ...

    For low- to medium-skilled migrants, host countries should adopt temporary or circular labor migration programs in sectors with transient or cyclical skill shortages. But they should prevent the explo ...

    For low- to medium-skilled migrants, host countries should adopt temporary or circular labor migration programs in sectors with transient or cyclical skill shortages. But they should prevent the exploitation of workers and ensure their return to origin countries after a set period through simple repatriation rules and compulsory saving schemes where payout is contingent on the migrant leaving the host country.

    Polity, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Pursue an inclusive citizenship policy: encourage naturalization, remove inappropriate barriers to citizenship and acknowledge dual citizenship to foster integration and strengthen democratic participation.

    Pursue an inclusive citizenship policy: encourage naturalization, remove inappropriate barriers to citizenship and acknowledge dual citizenship to foster integration and strengthen democratic particip ...

    Pursue an inclusive citizenship policy: encourage naturalization, remove inappropriate barriers to citizenship and acknowledge dual citizenship to foster integration and strengthen democratic participation.

    Polity, Civil Society

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    Migration, Integration and Identity

    1. Tipping the Scale in Favor of Desire Migration is often debated along the lines of fear and desire. One important obstacle to integration is the fear that immigration will reduce employment and wag ...

    1. Tipping the Scale in Favor of Desire Migration is often debated along the lines of fear and desire. One important obstacle to integration is the fear that immigration will reduce employment and wages in the country of destination. In fact, international studies on this topic show that immigration has only a small impact on wages and employment. And in the long run, migration has a positive impact on economic growth because immigrants increase the human capital of their destination country. Thus one way to improve the integration of immigrants is more transparency about the positive economic impact of

    Polity, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    Contracted Temporary Migration (CTM)

    Contracted temporary migration (CTM) will ensure that the workers come for a limited period of time and return home at the end of that period. This will increase integration, decrease resistance to mi ...

    Contracted temporary migration (CTM) will ensure that the workers come for a limited period of time and return home at the end of that period. This will increase integration, decrease resistance to migrates (decreasing the threat to national identity), increase networks within and between countries (international trade), increase both benefits to source countries (diffusion of knowledge) and destination countries in the short run. Contracted temporary migration will enable migrants to consume ethnic goods at low cost. When people are temporary residents it is easier for the local population to accept them. Limiting the number of migrants working in a specific

    Polity, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    Educating (preparing) the migrants and the host country population

    In order to decrease the probability of friction between migrants and the local population it is important to educate both (those that wish to migrate and the local population) so that each side will ...

    In order to decrease the probability of friction between migrants and the local population it is important to educate both (those that wish to migrate and the local population) so that each side will better understand the other and be prepared for changes. Immigrating from one culture to another is not easy. Migrants leave their home country with its culture and values and immigrate to a new country with a different culture and different prospectus of values. It takes time to learn the new values and understand the behavior of the local population. Adapting takes time. During the learning

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    Migration

    The GES process has identified the broad issues that frame the challenges that migrant transnationalism is facing. Despite the well articulated benefits for both source and destination countries negat ...

    The GES process has identified the broad issues that frame the challenges that migrant transnationalism is facing. Despite the well articulated benefits for both source and destination countries negative perceptions stubbornly underpin attitudes of social resistance to migrants. While the business community recognises the importance of migration it has tended not to engage. It therefore has relied on policy makers, NGO’s and the academia to make the case for migration and to take the issue forward in an increasingly difficult environment marked by growing social resistance and persistent un- and underemployment in many receiving countries. Taking the issue forward

    Business
    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    Migration, Integration and Identity

    1. Destination countries should abstain from demanding an exclusive identification of immigrants and their descendents with the destination country culture and society. Governments should recognize an ...

    1. Destination countries should abstain from demanding an exclusive identification of immigrants and their descendents with the destination country culture and society. Governments should recognize and actively communicate the benefits of cultural diversity and “migrant transnationalism”. Among immigrants many identify with both their host country and their country of origin and sustain enduring ties between origin and host countries. This “migrant transnationalism” is reflected in an increasing importance of return or circular migration, strongly increasing flows of remittances and a growing engagement of diasporas in the economic and political development of their countries of origin. The continued identification of migrants with

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Background Paper

    Background Paper
    Symposium 2011

    Migration, Integration and Identity

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society