Flooding Across Borders? Are Environmental Problems Causing International Migration?

Nearly 30 years ago, the term “environmental refugee” came into regular use, and today’s incarnation – the “climate change refugee” – continues to provoke popular and political interest. Using the term “environmental/climate refugee” to describe people who move for environmental reasons (e.g. drought, flooding, pollution, natural disasters) has, however, sparked numerous debates. The disputes are partially related to the fact that the legal definition of a refugee does not include protection for people displaced by the environment. In addition, it can be difficult to disentangle environmental from other motivations for migration, such as economic and political ones. Continue reading

Occupational Mobility of Immigrants in Advanced Countries: How Do They Fare Between Home and Host Countries?

It is widely recognized that the performance in the labour market is a key element of the economic and social integration of immigrants in host countries. Thus, it is no surprise that the occupational attainment of immigrants and its evolution over time has been the focus of considerable attention in the academic literature. Whereas most of the empirical studies on this issue tend to compare the occupational mobility of immigrants with that of native workers, a particularly interesting alternative approach is to examine the occupational mobility of immigrants between their home and host countries.

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Fertility in England and Wales – The Possible Role of Changes in the Timing of Childbearing Among the UK-Born and Immigrants

Over the last decade England and Wales has seen an increase in the total fertility rate (TFR) from a low of 1.63 in 2001 to 1.9 in recent years. While the TFR measures the current quantum of childbearing it can be influenced by changes in the timing of childbearing. Potential drivers of the increase in the TFR include increasing fertility among older women, increasing fertility among women in their 20s and possible influence from government benefits (e.g. tax credits and maternity and paternity leave) (ONS, 2013).

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Less is More When it Comes to Migrant Rights

[This is a revised version of an article originally published at The Conversation http://theconversation.com/less-is-more-when-it-comes-to-migrant-rights-18811.]

Earlier this month, the UN General Assembly debated the global governance of international labour migration. This meeting was particularly timely, following reports of numerous deaths among Nepalese workers on World Cup construction sites in Qatar. But as they gathered in New York, policymakers once again overlooked one of the hardest questions in this debate: how to manage the trade-offs in immigration policy between openness to admitting migrant workers and some of the rights migrants are granted after admission.

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Is it Possible to Accurately Measure Migration?

A few days ago, Britain’s premier right-wing tabloid, the Daily Mail, ran a story entitled ‘Disney World can keep better track of its visitors than Britain’. The story reported on a recent report by a group of British MP’s criticising the inaccuracy and bluntness of the UK’s migration statistics produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS, the UK government’s statistical bureau). Even for relatively experienced demographers, the report was startling in its findings. For example, the International Passenger Survey (IPS), a voluntary survey for travellers entering and leaving the UK, generated samples that were estimated to be around 0.6% of total migrants. This sample size is barely useful for social scientific research, let alone basing government policy on. Continue reading

Policy Paradigm Shift: The Need to Consider Human Capital and not Just Population Growth in Evaluating Population Trends

The twentieth anniversary of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) is approaching. As a strategic meeting around world population issues is in preparation (ICPD beyond 2014), this is a good  time to review past achievements and define new challenges. The UNECE countries of Europe, Central Asia, and North America constitute a globally relevant laboratory in which much can be learned about population trends and the relationship between policies and outcomes that may subsequently play out in other parts of the globe.

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Fears Mount About Romanians and Bulgarians in Britain, but What Have We Learned from Past Enlargements?

The Coalition Government’s agenda to reduce migration will be challenged next year when Bulgarians and Romanians will become the latest EU workers allowed to come to Britain. Bulgaria and Romania (E-2) officially joined as EU member states in 2007. But the two countries are still outside the Euro zone and the Schengen region that allows free movement of workers from one EU member state to another. European integration in the last twenty years has shown that it is easier to freely move capital, goods and services, rather than people. The so-called “fourth freedom” of the EU demands the free movement of workers and is deeply engrained in the community ethos. But reconciling EU principles with national agendas has been a juggling act for national governments. UK policy-makers will be watching and waiting with baited breath in six months’ time when restrictions on 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians in the UK labour market will be lifted on January 1, 2014.

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