Immigration in the 21st century: facts and misconceptions

As the financial crisis has begun to impact heavily on the real economy, immigration has become an increasingly emotive issue in the industrialised world. Rich country politicians – not least in the UK – are eager to introduce ever tougher policies, and borders have been considerably tightened. But migration has the potential to enrich the lives both of migrants and of the communities in which they live, and the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors that drive excessive migratory flows are frequently the result of global policies that urgently require reform. They cannot be addressed, or controlled, by adopting a fortress mentality or a narrowly nationalistic rhetoric, both of which are extremely counter- productive in terms of social cohesion, economic efficiency and human well being. Susanna Mitchell will outline the facts of the situation and discuss their implications. She is a fellow of nef, the new economics foundation, and has a long background working on international development, with a recent focus on migration issues.