Attitudes towards Migration Essay

Submitted By Edward-Morgado
Words: 1457
Pages: 6

Attitudes to migration are a controversial and progressively central focus in the public policy discourse. Castles and Miller (2009) noted that ‘population movement have always been part of human history’ and there has been a major change in migratory patterns in Britain since the 1970s. Many sociologists argue that throughout the world the numbers of refugees and asylum seekers increased considerably. Haralambos and Holborn (2000) pointed out that in 1980, there were estimates of 8.2 million refugees worldwide; by 1992 the number of refugees increased enormously to around 20 million. Over this period many people fled from war torn countries, like Afghanistan, Uganda, Namibia, Lebanon, Argentina and Chile. In Europe, there were also large population movements due to the collapse of communism (Sales, 2007). In fact, Castles and Miller (2009) asserted that there has been a ‘globalisation of international migration’. It is well documented that during the 1980s and 1990s many parts of the world had witnessed substantial movements of people. Sales (2007) argues that labour migration was often regulated by rigid control of migrant workers and the exclusion of settlement and family reunion, and the denial of worker’s basic rights. Britain is an ethnically diverse and cosmopolitan nation, due to migration. In effect, Richardson (1990) argues that Britain has a long an ethnically diverse population, pointing out that:
“ The early Roman invaders encountered a mixed population of Britons, Picts and Celts, and when the Romans finally withdrew from these shores in 410AD the succeeding centuries witnessed a series of forays and scattered settlements by varied groups of Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes and Vikings. This diversity was significantly enhanced by the arrival of the Normans”. (Richardson, 1990, vol.6)

Public attitudes towards migration are, nevertheless, vital for modelling immigration policies. Sales (2007) argue that Immigration policy is concerned with exclusion and inclusion of people defining ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ in relation to entry to the nation state and the access of non-citizens to rights within that state, leading the course by which non-citizens may acquire citizenship status (Sales, 2007).
Brah (2005) argues that citizenship rights in Europe are presently corroborated by a racial division amongst citizens, denizens (individuals with recognised residential and civic rights but a ‘Third country’ nationals) and migrants (individuals with limited rights). In Britain, subjects from the former colonies were initially given full citizenship rights. However, Brah (2005) points out that these rights have been tirelessly eroded since 1948 through the introduction of preventive immigration policy. Many commentators assert that the history of migration control in the United Kingdom is a perpetual reminder of how common sense racism became institutionalised into the governmental politics of the post-war era. Refugees and asylum seekers are erroneously seen as economic migrants rather than individuals who are forced to migrate due to war and political persecution.

Indeed, research carried out by Koser (1997) found that among Iranian asylum- seekers in the Netherlands the choice of asylum destination was largely deter- mined by knowledge of host country asylum policy or smugglers rather than by social networks. With increasing restrictions on exits from asylum producing countries and entry into European countries, asylum-seekers are becoming more dependent on human smugglers or traf®ckers (Morrison 1998). Certainly among refugees in Newham, only 20 per cent came to Britain as a result of family connections while more than two thirds (68 per cent) said that they came to Britain because they had no choice. The initial reason for Britain becoming the country of asylum in¯ uenced whether or not respondents would have preferred a different asylum desti- nation. In total, 44 per cent said that they would have