Which countries do not restrict immigration?

Europe's borders

Germany is currently the most important European immigration country. 74 percent of immigrants in 2012 came from other EU countries. In contrast to public perception, which is dominated by reports of southern European immigrants, Poles, Romanians, Bulgarians and Hungarians were the largest groups of immigrants. Only then did Greeks, Italians and Spaniards follow. [1] Immigration from Russia and other CIS countries has fallen sharply, the excess emigration to Turkey increased between 2011 and 2012 (from 1,735 to 4,147 people) (see Table 1 in the PDF version). While the emigration surplus to Switzerland is well known and is also being discussed with a view to the high-cost German doctors who emigrate there, the balance with Turkey has not yet penetrated the public consciousness. In February 2013, for example, Turkey was described as the "country of origin of considerable migration to Germany". [2] This does not correspond to the facts, because in the past few decades both the immigration and emigration figures between Germany and Turkey have become smaller and smaller. They now only make up about one percent of the population of Turkish origin in Germany.

Europe is experiencing a re-Europeanization of migration, more precisely an EU-Europeanization. The free European migration area - a phenomenon unique in the world - unfolds its internal dynamics, while immigration from outside remains restricted. In all European countries this has the first consequence that there is an emigration surplus among their own nationals. This also applies to attractive immigration countries such as Switzerland and Luxembourg. In active immigration countries, this emigration surplus is offset by increased immigration, especially from economically weaker countries. However, these countries are in danger of losing their population and, in conjunction with the Europe-wide decline in the birth rate, of falling into a demographic downward spiral. In Latvia, for example, there is only one immigrant for every 28 emigrants (see Table 2 in the PDF version).

Migration trends and labor market dynamics since 2004

When the EU accepted ten new members in 2004, an experimental situation arose. Only three countries - Sweden, Great Britain and Ireland - immediately opened their borders to workers from the new Member States. Due to the geographical proximity to Poland and the Baltic States and the high per capita income, one could have assumed that Sweden would become a main destination for the incipient labor migration. The opposite was the case. There was a strong wave of migration to Great Britain and Ireland - far more than the British government had anticipated. "1.5 million have come to the United Kingdom from the new EU member states since May 2004. (...) They are young and work for low wages in the low-wage sector, even if they are highly qualified." [3] British employers now prefer Polish ones Workers because of their "reliability" towards the British. [4] So this migration is leading to the dequalification of well-trained workers and the shedding of low-skilled workers in the UK.

Migration to Sweden, on the other hand, remained low. It rose from 1,134 people in 2003 to 2,521 in 2004 and finally to 7,540 in 2005 and then fell to 4,399 people by 2011; this does not include return migration. [5] On the other hand, in Sweden the income of the EU workers is the same as that of the native population. So there were no low wages, job downgradings and displacement, but there was also too little migration. [6]

In 2007 Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU and again an experimental situation arose. Sweden opened its labor market again, as did Finland, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Portugal and Spain. [7] Great Britain and Ireland did not participate this time. Again, immigration to Sweden was very limited. It rose from 348 people in 2006 to 2457 in 2007 and then fell to 1828 by 2011; returnees are not counted here either. The extent of immigration remained so low that Sweden opened immigration beyond Europe on December 15, 2008 under the same conditions. Since then, workers can be recruited worldwide if they are employed on the same terms as locals - a unique opening in principle.

The effects were different in southern Europe. Today over 900,000 Romanians live in Spain, one million in Italy. In both countries, Romanians are the largest group of foreigners. Male immigrants in Spain mostly work in the expanding construction industry, women often in household-related areas. Employment niches formed even more strongly than in Great Britain, in which more and more migrants were concentrated and wages tended to fall. Migrants in southern Europe were more employed in informal economic sectors than in Great Britain. [8] On the one hand, these areas were very receptive and made it possible for newcomers to gain a foothold in the country. On the other hand, by their nature they are unregulated, insecure, unprotected and open to exploitation. With the large number of migrants willing to work, the labor market continued to change in favor of potential employers.

The migrations followed the different logics of the existing social systems and reinforced the respective characteristics and dynamics. In the regulated Swedish system, the trade unions were able not only legally but also factually to ensure that migrants were employed on the same terms as local workers. 90 percent of employees in Sweden work under a collective agreement, and there is a strong egalitarian consensus in Swedish society. The labor and social system thus remained stable, and there were no incentives for companies to employ skilled workers at lower qualification levels. Sweden, however, did without so-called cheap work, which in many other countries gives companies and consumers extra advantages, for example through unsecured employment in the service sector to cheap restaurants. Sweden is seen as a well-functioning example of the effectiveness of internal controls [9] following the abolition of border controls in the open EU. The system is based on the high level of union membership of around 70 percent, the high level of collective bargaining coverage of around 90 percent (for comparison: in Germany around 20 percent of employees are members of a trade union and 60 percent fall under the scope of a collective agreement) and the openness of the Scandinavian societies for transparency through to disclosure of income.