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'Migration forces policy makers to shape up'

27 Feb 2013, 14:20

Published: 27 Feb 2013 14:20 GMT+01:00

Day after day, media reports and our minds are filled with the plight of people fleeing - be it from war, conflict, hunger or threat.

But there is another side to people's mobility. Of the world's approximately 900 million migrants, it is estimated that more than 90 percent move in search of better jobs and other opportunities.

The movement of people across borders and labour markets is a powerful engine for growth and development. As ministers responsible for migration and development cooperation, we want to promote this form of mobility.

Two months ago, Sweden assumed the chairmanship of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), a leading arena for discussion of global migration issues.

At the same time, work is also under way on the post 2015 development agenda that will carry forward the work begun with the current Millennium Development Goals. The work includes an important discussion on how migration can be used to increase freedom and eradicate poverty.

Today, we are jointly hosting a seminar on the impact of migration on global development, at which some of the world's foremost experts in the area will be discussing this issue.

A very concrete example of how migration drives development is the billions of dollars in remittances that migrants from low-income countries send home to their families around the world. Every year, millions of people move to work in countries where wages are higher than in their home countries, sending money home to their relatives.

The World Bank estimates that these financial flows amounted to $400 billion last year, and they are expected to rise by about 7 percent per year in the years ahead. They represent the second-largest source of financial flows to low- and middle-income countries.

These remittances are three times the size of international development assistance and in some countries they account for a large share of the total GDP. This money gives many families in the migrants' home countries the chance to go to better schools, get enough to eat and enjoy a better life.

How can we ensure that financial flows such as these function as smoothly as possible and benefit people living in poverty in the best possible way? We hope to be able to achieve better solutions through the Global Forum on Migration and Development.

Migration is a means to achieve not only economic development but also improved social development. We have both met colleagues from other countries who have expressed their concern about seeing more and more young and educated people moving to other countries in search of a better life.

Around the world, people are moving from societies where the environment prevents them from reaching their full potentials, to countries where better policies have led to better conditions.

Migration puts pressure on policy makers worldwide, who are forced to compete to entice talented people to remain within the country's borders.

When people migrate, new ideas and thoughts can move across borders, compete with each other and find new platforms. Entrepreneurs from different countries can meet and learn from each other.

There are many examples of people who did not find the right environment for innovation in their countries of birth, but who could accomplish great things when they were able to test their ideas in new countries.

Around the world, many countries are choosing to close their borders more tightly, both to keep citizens in and to keep others out. But countries can cooperate and solve the challenges that may arise as a result of migration and lack of development.

Forums like the GFMD, which Sweden is now chairing, play a key role in this kind of cooperation. It is essential, both for our sake and for the rest of the world.

Gunilla Carlsson, Minister for International Development Cooperation

Tobias Billström, Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy

Your comments about this article

15:38 February 27, 2013 by HungarianAmerican1975
How many more ways can you lable asylum, refugee or immigrant? It's time Europe closed her borders to non-white immigration and focus on increasing the already dangerously low birthrate of ethnic Europeans!
15:55 February 27, 2013 by occassional
Suicidal and naive policies Sweden, which you will regret.
16:04 February 27, 2013 by Chuck_Norris
^ ^ ^ ^ Disregard the troll above me.

Having said that, I don't understand WHY does Sweden's immigration policy is focused on accepting refugees with no skills or cultural similarities and deny hard-working skilled Europeans and non-Europeans. It buffles me.

Because of this non-sensical policy, non-thinkers like the individual above me on number 1 comment make stupid misinformed comments they do not understand themselves. If he is Hungarian and American, even if caucasian, Hungary not long ago was non-EU and American.. some people....
16:10 February 27, 2013 by muscle
@HungarianAmerican1975

Based on your suggestion, i would like to see what happens when you want to break away from the next in line dominating economic power, china!

I would also like to see how many sweds would want to stop immigrating to china for jobs.
16:19 February 27, 2013 by suprkynu
I can see here racists comments whom deosn't like to work. Let the immigrants and asylum seekers get the apportunity if you guys like sitting and watchng tv the whole day.
16:49 February 27, 2013 by muscle
@Chuck_Norris: You are right.

I guess the govt wants to create a labour force, that can be exploited in future. Hence, decreasing the cost of employees . Its just a guess. Thus, any unskilled and ill-equipped person who can be exploited is better than someone who has skills and can thus move to another country!
17:31 February 27, 2013 by Freelife
Skilled immigration ye?

* Sweden want Swedish speaking experts in computer science, medicine etc. to IMMIGRATE to Sweden, funny! :)

Skilled immigrants demand respect, money, personal growth and no-discrimination. Is Sweden ready?
17:36 February 27, 2013 by Rishonim
@Chuck_Norris, of course you are right. One thing Swedes dislike the most is someone intelligent and skilled in their own backyard. They need to feel superior, they need to be the boss at work, giving that they don't get that chance at home. Consequently, they bring in all these people not only without any sort of education, but also without any basic work-skills.
18:02 February 27, 2013 by RobinHood
Why is draining a third world country of its home-grown talent a good thing?
19:13 February 27, 2013 by muscle
@RobinHood:

I dont think anyone would want to leave their country just like that. No one wants to be standing in the middle where the new hosts will not completely acknowledge him or her to be their skin nor the former country would accept him or her to be completely its own citizen. There are always issues related to security, economy which forces people to search for better place. In other words, in order for them to survive it gets necessary for them to move out.

Yes, people from developed countries should not be allowed to move out as THEY dont have major reasons related to their survival!

I can not comment on refugees, as according to the govt me you and majority of us are immigrants. As Noris has stated above, skilled labour should be the criteria instead of skin color! (I know you didnt say anything about skin color)
19:44 February 27, 2013 by dizzy09
i don't understand why a lot of people here are against unskilled immigrants, these are people running away from conflicts regions of the world.The problem is not with them but the society that fails to accept them when compared to a country like the united states. A lot of us use google, and Apple products and less they forget these were children of jewish and syrian IMMIGRANTS. Beside i don't really believe you have to be educated to make a difference in a society. And before some people on this forum start attacking me, YES I am also a student at a Swedish university...I mean, what has happen to our compassion? maybe when some of you face conflicts in your life and you find doors being shut in your face maybe then you would understand what some of these people go through.
20:35 February 27, 2013 by RobinHood
@muscle

You seem to have missed my point.

Talented people are hard to find. Fortunately for Sweden there are plenty of talented people here already. Why encourage talented people to abandon their home countries and move to Sweden?

These people are desperately needed to help turn their third world countries into first world countries. Doctors, engineers, professors all have great value in a third world economy. Of course if they really want to leave, that's up to them. But Sweden shouldnt encourage them. The moral thing to do is encourage them to stay where they are and make a success of their own country.
22:29 February 27, 2013 by Kronaboy
@RobinHood

It's cheaper to hire a doctor from India than to train one for yourself, also if you hadn't noticed the education standards are very poor across EU and N America; and then there is the OAP time bomb which has started in Sweden and is about to start in the rest of EU and North America and not enough of the next generation to replace tax payers that are about to retire.
01:23 February 28, 2013 by Enjoyourlife
@dizzy09, the truth is unskilled immigrants are a burden to the society. If they go to school, they can become skilled but, unfortunately the majority do not finish school. They stay at home and make a lot of babies. Most of those doing the cleaning here are from Asia and subsaharan Africa excluding Somalia. How many muslim women have you seen cleaning? The are busy pushing at least two kids in the pram. Moving from shop to shop spending money from benefit. Others are busy burning offices.

I agree with the section about remittance. They are a lot here who have removed their families from poverty.
02:51 February 28, 2013 by kaa977
Low birth rate and long life expectancy mean that Sweden will simply need to either raise taxes or get more tax payers. There are always going to be people who can't or don't want to work. Controlled migration is one of the solutions.

The suggestion that skilled people should stay in their own home countries and help develop them is laughable. These people will end up "wasting" their skills and education. These migrants will help more their home countries by sending remittance money from overseas.

If "Western" people have no problems with buying goods made cheaply in the third world countries and thus exploiting these people, why do they feel so strongly about exploiting the skills of these people in their own backyard? Whether you like it or not, the rick countries will always use the poor countries, one way or another.
06:49 February 28, 2013 by Camlon
Kaa977: First off, I really doubt that somewhat low birth rate is very disastrous. It would for instance mean less pressure on the housing market. You would now be able to buy a house in Stockholm for 1M SEK instead of 5M SEK.

Also, Sweden does not have a pro-skilled immigration policy. Sweden has a pro-unskilled immigration policy. Actually the number of work visas issued to people outside EU has been about 2000 - 5000 per year. And not all of those are skilled. While total immigration from outside EU is 60K.

If this really was about getting more workers, then Sweden would restrict its liberal asylum laws, and make it easier to come to Sweden on a work visa.
09:10 February 28, 2013 by robban70226
There is no question that high skilled inmigrants are required to keep Sweden moving ahead, The ruth is that the educational level of the Swedes is way below the international Standards.

The problem here is how to accet immigrants tha can contribute to the society and keep out the ones that ae comming here by the thousands just to lie of the social benefit and become social leaches.

The Educated Swedes leave the country to work, The educated immigrants studying here are not allow to stay, bur the unskilled ones are welcomed to get a free check from us the taxpayers, something dont make sence here.. But in the other side Sweden in a cuture of paradoxes and appearances..
09:45 February 28, 2013 by Rishonim
Sweden has a lot of skilled immigrants looking for work with no avail. Try chatting it up with some of the many taxi drivers and you will find they posses a high level of education (doctors, economist, etc). I met a guy from Ghana with an industrial design degree from Central Saint Martins doing menial work to make ends meet. I asked him how about moving back to England or somewhere else? Well, he said, he is here because his girlfriend doesn't want to live anywhere else.
10:31 February 28, 2013 by Max Reaver
@RobinHood

I wouldn't generalize like that. I speak on an individual basis here. There are people who simply cannot stay in their native country due to various reasons. It might be more so in the developing world than the developed. Be it political persecution, war, natural disaster, financial meltdown, social instability, family matters or whatever reason. Therefore, you will ALWAYS find talented people who have to live away from home. The policy makers need to face this as a fact rather than relying on wishful thinking. From there on, if the policy of the host country is shaped in such a way that utilizes the maximum potential of such talented individuals, it's win-win for everyone. The host will benefit, the immigrant in question also finds opportunities of personal development and fulfillment.
11:59 February 28, 2013 by flyintiger
I know a swede, a friend of a friend, one day on his way to work, he saw a bunch of arabs and somalians sitting around in the park enjoying themselves in the middle of the day. He saw that and said to himself, why the F am I have to go to work and paying the taxes for these effing people? He turned his car around and go home, his boss called later and asked why he is not at work, he told his boss "FU I quit", that was 3 years ago and he is not working ever since. You got the point people?
12:50 February 28, 2013 by chocolatebear76
@flyintiger

Nice story,i'm LMAO
21:03 February 28, 2013 by ctinej
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:27 March 1, 2013 by ZZTop
With more than half a million people already on the dole, Sweden won´t be needing more unskilled workers for the next 50 years. We have plenty of people able to do menial jobs, and excellent opportunites for those who wish to study and improve themselves. Experts from abroad are one thing, but those are a small group and net contributors to Sweden. But we should be able to train our own people to be the best in the world.
14:51 March 2, 2013 by RobinHood
@Max Reaver

I have no doubt that, as you say, the host country and a well-educated immigrant will both benefit from a move from a third world country. But the third world country most certainly will not. That is my point. Only that!

A third world country that incessantly has its best talent cherry picked and leeched by mega-rich Sweden and others, will for ever more, remain a third world country with all the poverty and strife that goes with it. Always dependent on massive amounts of first-world foreign aid, used to sustain those that came in second place and below in life's lottery.

Perhaps the third world might benefit from a little less focus by Sweden on what is good for Sweden, and a little more focus on what is good for the people of the third world left behind to struggle on.

As I clearly wrote before, there are those who want to, or have to, abandon their own country. I was clearly not referring to those people. I was and am referring to those talented people who are actively head hunted by Sweden from the place where they are most needed, and can do most good (the third world), by a first-world, mega-rich country that has more than enough talent of its own. Or would have, it it took the trouble to educate its own people properly.

It seems remarkably immoral to me.
15:13 March 3, 2013 by flyintiger
I have an idea, how about create the jobs first and then talk about bring in more workers, how about that huh? EU unemployment is 12% and gowing, what the f is these loons are talking about anyway?
07:41 March 4, 2013 by Camlon
RobinHood: If Sweden tried to attract qualified immigrants it is not going to change the emigration numbers from third world countries. If someone is determined to leave, they will find a country willing to take him. So there is no problem in taking qualified immigrants.

Also, the reason they leave is because they can't get provided in their home country. If you are highly educated in a third world country and get a good job, then why leave. There is normally a glut of qualified workers in third world countries, hence if someone very qualified leave it just means more opportunities for the rest.

There has been plenty of emigration from China. Still growth rates in China are very good.

You know what really would benefit third world. Stop trying to be compassionate fools, and deal with your own issues. No country has ever been dragged up by Swedish help, as Sweden has no clue what makes a country rich and a country poor. So the opposite is true. Sweden should focus more on its own issues and stop trying to be the saviour of the world.

If you need to leave your country, I hardly think Sweden is the first country to leave to. Its actually very hard to get into Sweden, and only the richer poor can afford getting to Sweden. The ones who really need help can't afford going to Sweden.
10:37 March 4, 2013 by Max Reaver
RobinHood: I won't disagree with your moral stance. But to be realistic, I must agree with Camlon.

Sweden is not mega-rich, it's one of the weakest countries when it comes to brain-drain from the 3rd world. The biggest headhunters are undoubtedly the English-speaking countries, most prominently USA. By actively discouraging the talented immigrants from staying, you end up encouraging them to move the countries that drain even more. This doesn't help the 3rd world in any way, since the countries that drain the brains mostly are also the biggest exploiters of the 3rd world. If you swap the word "Sweden" in #24 for USA, then we have an agreement.

To make the point that home countries cannot provide for the talented immigrants, here's one example. A Chinese girl I met in Uppsala graduated with masters degree in biology. Her expertise is in evolutionary biology, within this field there is nothing she could get in China (which is why she came to Sweden for master in the first place). She wanted to work as a PhD in Sweden, then the professor who offered the position postponed the offer indefinitely, making it impossible to stay. Now she's doing her PhD in Switzerland. If she were to go back to China she may end up teaching biology in middle school and she's way overqualified for that.
13:48 March 4, 2013 by flyintiger
I have been to china and the usa, and to be honest, I can't not tell which one is more like the third world anymore. But one thing for sure that the chinese cities are newer, cleaner and much much more safer. China also has more airports and they definitely more advance than the antiquated usa. One other thing is that the chinese goverment definitely knows how to take out the trashes, so people can walk freely day or night without fear of the criminals. Not like some countries that intentionally importing criminals for the fun of it, and we all know which and which don't we?
20:56 March 4, 2013 by Grokh
sweden needs to close borders to asylum and middle eastern ppl. and focus on taking care on the ones that are already here. as well as focusing on skilled immigration
14:46 March 6, 2013 by pcs
@HungarianAmerican1975

What more do you want. Europeans have populated Canada, North & South American, Australia and New Zealand.

If you are not happy with the ever-changing face of Europe, there is always the moon. It's very white you know!
16:25 March 8, 2013 by Zedman
People talk of skilled, unskilled, racism etc. basically Sweden has gone arse about face with their policies i am an aerospace engineer, But since coming to Sweden, i plant trees and labour on a drilling rig. when the work stops i have to leave the country, leave my house my belongings, my friends, i have nothing in my home country to return to except an old caravan in a field. I ended up like this because i am English, when i came here to work and set up home i had no idea how impossible it is to get a personal number for EU citizens. and without that you are nothing. Sweden is hypocritical and racist against other EU states.
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