New Ways for Migration Control : The possibilities and need for sustainable migration policies

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Refugee movements and migration are nothing new. They have historical roots. The demand for skills and labour and the search for jobs and opportunities has resulted in a flow of people across many parts of the world. In order to implement more orderly and just migration regimes, a shift towards more planned and transparent policies is needed. In the literature we find that there is tension between different principles on which migration policies should be based and can be justified. While well-managed migration may foster progress and welfare in origin- as well as destination countries, its mismanagement may put social cohesion, security and sovereignty at risk. Using both moral and practical arguments we find, on the one hand that it is said that migration hurts the political, cultural and economic stability of a society and migration policies therefore should be restrictive. On the other hand we find statements that these arguments are not valid enough to put restrictive policies in place and that they are even false, since controlled migration can attribute to cultural and economic growth. Given the increasing reports about demographic imbalances and skill shortages in Dutch society I wanted to contribute to this debate, by first providing an overview of what is already known on this subject and secondly provide a constructive evidence-based addition to the debate about the restrictiveness of migration policies in a mutually beneficial way. In an ideal system for migration management all interests are taken into account and moral and practical considerations are weighed. Morally, migration should be restricted if there are valid concerns about the most vulnerable in society. Practically, it should be seeking to be beneficial for all agents in the field of migration. The case study shows that the demographic and economic need for migration is pressing and that current migration policies are not effective enough to address these problems. This is mainly because there is too much focus on protecting the receiving society for any possible negative effect of migration. Societal security and welfare migration are the biggest concern and an emphasis is visible in migration policies in addressing these concerns. At the same time people fear a decline in welfare because of economic downturn and a greying population. There is a discrepancy about what society wants and what society needs. We see that immigration policy is not just about making commitments about society but also about making commitments for society. A start towards a more inviting migration policy is made in The Netherlands by the introduction of the Modern Migration Policy Act. We see that migration that is market-driven rather than politic-driven can be beneficial for all actors in the field of migration and there is a tendency to move in this direction. I conclude that we are seeing a shift in migration policy. The motive of migration is becoming more important than origin. Freedom of movement is an important part of migration policy, but only for the economic viable. Decentralising (parts of) the migration policy is possibly the best way to face future societal issues. This is because the business sector can make a strong case for migration, and would benefit from even more unrestricted migration. A private-public partnership seems to be a viable option for The Netherlands to establish a migration policy with more attention for the freedom of movement without arousing the society’s fear about security or welfare migration. The foundation is already laid down in the MMPA. At the same time the private sector needs the public sector to implement more flexible migration procedures and give them more responsibilities in the process, giving them more freedom to pick and choose when it comes to employers.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen