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10 myths on migration

16 March Mar 2016 1033 16 March 2016
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With the EU-Turkey migration deal set to go ahead in the next few days in Brussels, CONCORD Europe has released a report outlining the top 10 most commonly believed myths on migration and development.

Myth 1: More development leads to less international migration

Many research studies have proven that it is not those that rank amongst the poorest that migrate internationally. This is simply because people lack the means to do so.

In fact, research shows that in the short and medium-term, socio-economic development tends to stimulate international migration.

Myth 2: Irregular migration to Europe can be reduced through development aid and cooperation

The primary aim of development aid is to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty. However, making the reduction of "irregular migration a primary goal of development aid implies choosing aid-receiving countries based on the fact that they are migrant-sending countries, rather than based on their development needs.

Following this logic, Haiti, the CAR, and Cambodia would find themselves with less development aid, because their presence on Frontex statistics on irregular migration are low - this being despite the fact that they are amongst the least developed countries in the world.

Myth 3: Most migration takes place from developing to developed countries

There are an estimated 232 million international migrants across the world today - this is 3% of the world's population.

However, statistics show that most international migratory movements take place between developing countries. In fact, only 1/3 of international migration takes place from the Global South to the Global North.

Myth 4: Migration hampers the development of countries of origin

Statistics show that migrants contribute significantly to the development of both their countries of origin and destination, through transfer of skills, money, values, technology, and governance models.

Migrants sent over 440 billion dollars to their families and friends in 2015. Another prime example that debunks this myth is in the healthcare sector, where for example 24% of nurses trained in Ghana are working abroad.

Myth 5: Migration benefits only the individuals who migrate and not their countries or communities of origin

Remittances are considered to be the best-known link between migration and development. By supporting daily consumption, they contribute to the economy of the country of origin, and increase investment in the social sector.

For example in 11 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, a World Bank survey showed that remittances "have helped reduce poverty and social inequalities levels."

Myth 6: Countries of destinantion do not benefit from migration

2/3 of international migrants are workers. According to the OECD, migrants accounted for 70% of the increase in the workforce in Europe over the past 10 years. Not only that, but migrants contrbute more in taxes and social contributions than they do in benefits.

Myth 7: In an increasingly competitive global economy, Europe should only accept highly skilled migrants

In most European countries, the sectors where labour shortages have already been felt are currently relying on low-skilled migration. Empirical studies show that low-skilled immigrants successfully integrate into specific sectors of the economy, without "stealing" jobs from native born workers.

Myth 8: Influx of immigrants undermines European identity and values and leads to a clash of cultures

History reminds us that migration is a key part of human civilization. Our alphabet comes from the Middle East. Our numbering is based on the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. Culture is in constant evolution, and there is a plurality of cultures in Europe that have been forged in contact with other peoples. Who says that our culture should freeze in time?

Myth 9: The EU is facing a migrant invasion because of its generous admission and reception policies

It is actually extremely difficult for non-EU migrants to access social benefits in destination countries. Access to social benefits is often subject to very strict rules, and whilst most irregular migrants do work, have pay slips and pay tax and social security contributions, they do not enjoy any of the rights attached to it. Furthermore, there is no statistical evidence to prove the existence of a so-called "magnet-effect" phenomenon in Europe.

Myth 10: Europe cannot accept any more migrants

A key figure states that 1 million refugees and migrants represent 1 refugee/migrant out of 1000 EU inhabitants. In Germany and Sweden - the countries were most migrants are heading to - the figure remains at far less than 1% of the national population.

Only 6% of the 4 million Syrians fleeing conflict have sought refuge in Europe: 1.1 million are currently in Lebanon, and South-South migration is far more common than South-North migration.

To read the full CONCORD report, click here

Photo Credits: Getty Images

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