Posts Tagged

Migration

The Indian Government’s initial response to Covid-19—a stringent nationwide lockdown which commenced with an intimation period of only “four hours”—was hailed by the World Health Organisation as “timely and tough.” However, this international acclaim overlooked the disastrous result of the rushed lockdown on India’s migrant workforce. For them, the restrictions imposed by the lockdown has endangered their access to healthcare, housing, food and social security, which has further pushed their lives in precarity. Immediate action is needed from the Central Government to tend to their current needs and provide them with long-term economic stability. Statistics of Migrant Labour in India  As per the census of 2011, India has approximately 453.6 million internal migrants. From this, the migrant workforce is estimated to be around 100 million. The Economic Survey of 2017 estimated …

From 2016 to 2020, China has been carrying a five-year project of hukou reform, granting urban hukous to rural-to-urban migrants. The hukou system was initiated in 1958 to control the movement of the Chinese population. Each Chinese citizen is assigned either a rural or urban hukou, depending on their residency. It is noteworthy that Chinese citizens cannot hold both a rural and urban hukou simultaneously. This has caused major problems for the estimated 262 million rural workers in urban areas nationwide. The five-year project has sought to convert rural hukous to urban ones to help rural Chinese to succeed in urban areas.  As the project comes to an end, it is important to analyse whether hukou conversion – loosening the requirements to change a rural hukou to urban hukou – is conducive to rural Chinese citizens’ educational and social success, …

The rival camps are taking shape. Organisations have been launched, slogans road tested and logos commissioned. While no one knows when the EU referendum will take place, everyone has decided it’s time to make their case. A couple of weeks in, and the similarities between the Leave and Remain camps are as as striking as the differences. Both are quick to underline their patriotism; both go out of their way to emphasise British strength. No one, not even in the ‘remain’ camp, seems particularly fond of the European Union. And – perhaps most importantly – both campaigns are profoundly divided. On the ‘leave’ side, we have Leave.EU and Vote Leave, run by Matthew Elliott of Taxpayers Alliance fame. While the …

Migration and free movement are among the top questions in the debate about the UK’s relationship with Europe and the approaching membership referendum. In a country where most migration has traditionally come from outside Europe, EU migration now makes up almost half of non-British immigration to the UK. Following five years of policies designed to reduce immigration, quarterly statistics released at the end of August showed net migration reaching the highest level on record, taking the government ever further from its goal of reducing net flows “from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands.” The combination of renewed debate about EU membership and the difficulty reducing UK immigration have led to discussion about whether leaving the EU will reduce …

The Mediterranean Sea is today’s most dangerous border between countries not at war with each other. Just last week, 300 persons departing Libya on four rubber dinghies have gone missing at sea, after drifting for days without food and water. News reports in the past six months have regularly commented upon the rising number of persons disembarking on Italy’s coastline – benefiting from its search and rescue operation Mare Nostrum. Despite the increase in new arrivals from 33,000 to 200,000, the life-saving mission has now been discarded. Italian policy makers believe Mare Nostrum is as responsible for overcrowded reception centres as it is for the rising number of persons risking their lives at sea. But is it truly to blame for the surge? Because more than 50 per cent of arrivals are either Syrian or Eritrean, news commentators have provided some other potential explanations. Some point to the protracted conflict in the Middle East, whilst others highlight the strain on neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq in continuing to receive thousands of Syrian refugees. “Poverty in Africa” is mentioned occasionally, and for the better informed, an oppressive military regime and indefinite conscription in Eritrea are to blame. Yet these supposed ‘causes’ of the latest wave in irregular migration to Europe are speculative at most and have in fact been ongoing for many years now. The irregular and mixed movement of persons across borders is arguably the most pressing international issue of our time, second perhaps only to terrorism. Yet the response of nations is too often reactionary and punitive towards individuals making the move, causing policies like Mare Nostrum to be cut short. By pinpointing the multiple ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ factors at play in the regions concerned it is possible to generate fresh insight on the debate on South- North migration. ‘Push Factors’ For Syrians and Eritreans on the move, the situation at home is the key reason for flight. In Syria, there are immediate threats to life, regardless of which side of the conflict you are on. In Eritrea, an oppressive military regime and a lifeless economy force several thousand to walk across its land borders every month. Ruthless and indiscriminate conscription waves can also augment departures, as can changes in border surveillance, including the reported end to the notorious ‘shoot to kill’ policy.

Over a month ago, Labour leader Ed Miliband gave a much-trailed “major” public address on the topic of immigration. After Labour had largely remained quiet about the issue in the first two years of the Coalition government, Miliband touted his speech as the first step in a new conversation, and offered extensive apologies about Labour’s past policies on immigration in a bid to begin to rehabilitate Labour’s public image in this policy area. The apologies seemed to attract most of the headlines. Commentary from the political right welcomed this admission either wholeheartedly or with considerable scepticism (Daily Mail headline: “…What Sick Hypocrisy”). Commentators on the political left argued that Miliband should not have apologised for Labour’s record, disputed his claim …

The majority of today’s nation states have adopted largely restrictive asylum policies whereby not everyone with a ‘well-founded fear of prosecution’ and on sturdy legal grounds are granted asylum. As a result, there is a trend towards privileging asylum seekers with ‘exceptional’ claims, something that scholars see as problematic. This post discusses these problems and the counter-productive nature of an asylum system where ‘exceptionalism’ is privileged. Within restrictive asylum systems, specific narratives are often required of asylum seekers to ensure a successful claim. To this end, asylum seekers often adapt or embellish their claims to fit the specific criteria.  This was revealed in The New Yorker’s story on Caroline, a young African immigrant without papers who was applying for asylum …