2016 was a landmark year for immigration policy reform globally, due in large part to ongoing displacement among regions of the Middle-East, Eastern Europe and Africa. The more stable countries which both economic immigrants and refugees continue to flock to have had different responses to this new pressure. In some ways, immigration has been the biggest topic of the previous year, shaping new political factions and landscapes for 2017.
#10 Migrant Remittance on the rise
As migrants join the labour market in their new country they make money. Many then make preparations to send a portion of their income back to families which have remained in their country of origin. According to Pew research, remittances reached nearly $600 billion worldwide in 2015 and continue to surge.
#9 Strain on host country resources
Smaller nations, notably those in Europe with lower populations, taking in fleeing refugees from Syria and other war-torn regions, are finding their resources under strain. With insufficient housing and social services available for thousands of new arrivals, they find themselves in race to supply basic needs to all.
#8 Migration levels higher than ever before
The amount of international migrants has grown considerably over the past five decades from around 79 million in 1960 to nearly 250 million in 2015, constituting a 200% increase. In 1960, 2.6% of the world’s population did not reside in their country of origin. In 2015, that share was 3.3% and the figure continued to increase into 2016/17.
#7 Changing immigration polices
Due to the fluid nature of global immigration and social pressures from both sides of the political spectrum several countries have found their immigration policies in a state of flux while Canada, Australia and many others have proposed sweeping changes.
#6 Competition for skilled immigrants on the rise
As birth rates decline in countries like Germany the population can be seen to be aging and may need to rely increasingly on skilled immigrants moving in. Countries such as Australia have already begun updating their requirements to provide easier access for single, skilled individuals to immigrate.
#5 Pressure on the unity of the EU
With many citizens of EU member countries taking an unfavourable view of immigrants from poorer or war-torn countries, it is becoming increasingly difficult for politicians to defend their adherence to EU immigration and refugee requirements. This very issue led directly to Brexit.
#4 Population projections shifting
Using the United States as an example; from 1965 and 2015, 59 million people immigrated to the country. Taking all their descendants into account, the population of the U.S is 72 million higher than it would have been otherwise. This effect is taking place across Europe as well with a population drain being the reverse effect on immigrants’ countries of origin.
#3 European Right Wing Resurgence
Roughly half of the native populations of countries in Europe do not view the new immigrant surge as being a positive force for their country or culture. This has caused a drastic spike in support of right-wing political parties in the region, which typically promise stricter border control and immigration policies.
Running on a platform of tight border control and open hostility towards Mexican and Muslim immigrants, Donald Trump became President-Elect in late 2016. He has since made several attempts to dramatically alter the immigration policy of the U.S with varying degrees of success.
Running almost entirely on an anti-immigration platform, right wing politicians in England managed to push for a public referendum which ultimately saw the UK withdraw from the EU. This resulted in schism with deep and ongoing political and policy ramifications which are still unfolding.