Global “robbing people”? Changes in Immigration Policy

  On November 15th, the world’s population broke through the 8 billion mark, crossing a historic milestone. The United Nations report pointed out that for poor countries, the rapid population growth caused by sustained high fertility rates is both a manifestation and a cause of their slow development. But for some developed countries, people seem to be far from enough, and “lack of people” is one of the reasons for their sluggish economic growth. Simultaneously with the global population breaking through 8 billion, the immigration policies of many developed countries are in full bloom, and a global competition for “grabbing people” has quietly kicked off.
  The era of great turmoil and great change in history is often also a period of great population flow. But what is different from history is that today’s population flow is more conspicuous and influential, as some countries compete to attract high-quality population for the sake of economic development and international competition. Of course, there are also anti-immigrant impulses manipulated by populist politics. In the foreseeable future, changes in the immigration policies of major countries in the world and their implementation effects are likely to become an important factor affecting the stamina of national development.
Fancy “grabbing people”

  ”In my opinion, the problem is very simple. Canada needs more people.” On November 1, Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced a historic new immigration policy goal – to absorb 1.45 million new immigrants in the next three years. Immigrants, the amount is 465,000 in 2023, 485,000 in 2024, and 500,000 in 2025.
  Fraser said at a news conference near Toronto on the same day that in order to meet the needs of the labor force and rebalance population trends, Canada “must continue to increase its population.” It is worth noting that five days before the announcement of the new policy, the latest data released by the Canadian census showed that immigrants accounted for 23% of Canada’s total population. That means one in five Canadians is an immigrant, the highest proportion since Canada gained self-government status in 1867.
  If the plan is realized as scheduled, by 2025, the proportion of Canadian economic immigrants will exceed 60%. In addition, the Canadian government will also build a “fast track” system to speed up the status processing for new immigrants engaged in industries with labor shortages such as medical care, manufacturing, and construction.
  ”Canada’s immigration expansion model is worth learning from the United States.” On November 14, the “Washington Post” article stated that Canada has a relatively effective immigration system that can respond reasonably to its economic needs, while the United States does not. The article wrote that before the Trump administration’s southern border wall and immigration persuasion policies such as “Remain in Mexico”, Biden, who declared during the campaign that he would legalize the status of “more than 11 million illegal immigrants”, Two years in the White House have failed to deliver on promises, one of which has been Republican antipathy towards immigration, which has stalled the bill in negotiations in a divided Congress.
  But even so, the United States still selectively increased the quota of employment-based immigration green cards in fiscal year 2023, adding 60,000 new cards on the basis of 140,000 in previous years. Short term and fast.
  The same increase is also Australia. On September 2, Australian Home Affairs Minister Claire O’Neill announced during the Work Skills Summit in Canberra that the permanent immigration quota cap for this fiscal year will be increased from 160,000 to 195,000. Among them, the skilled immigrant visa quota has increased significantly from 79,600 to 142,400. The permanent immigrant visa allocation, which was once split evenly between family-based and skilled migrants, will now also prioritize skilled workers.
  ”Australia’fortress’ is trying to become a country of immigrants again.” The report of “Nihon Keizai Shimbun” pointed out that due to the strict epidemic prevention measures of the Australian government during the epidemic and the lack of help for temporary immigrants and international students in Australia, Melbourne lost its More than 60,000 people were killed, and Australia was dubbed an impenetrable “fortress”. But before the pandemic, Australia had the second-largest temporary migrant workforce in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and almost half of Australians were first- or second-generation migrants.
One in five Canadians is an immigrant, the highest proportion since Canada gained self-government status in 1867.

  In the battle of “snatching people”, many countries have found another way to open new visa channels for immigrants and broaden their immigration targets. On November 2, French Labor Minister Olivier Dussop said in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde that the French government will introduce a “residence permit for workers in short supply of occupations” to help industries that have difficulty recruiting workers. Dussop said that the bill is expected to be implemented in the first half of 2023, and the government hopes to promote the professional integration of immigrants. For example, he wants to end the six-month ban on working asylum seekers in law, under certain conditions.
  The United Kingdom launched the issuance of the “High Potential Talent Visa” (HPI) on May 30. In order to improve the UK’s global competitiveness by attracting overseas high-skilled talents, the visa will be open to bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral graduates from 50 institutions on the “Global Top University List” published by the British government, allowing graduates of these universities Obtain a visa to live and work in the UK directly without a job offer, without sponsorship fees paid by UK employers. China’s Tsinghua University, Peking University, Hong Kong University and other universities are among them.
The pain of “lack of people”

  Although there are endless means of absorbing immigrants, the focus of “snatching people” is not “ordinary people”, but immigrants with skills. As early as 1997, Stephen Hankin of McKinsey & Company put forward the concept of “global talent war”. He believes that the most important corporate resource in the next 20 years will be “smart, sophisticated business people with technical knowledge, global acumen and operational agility”.
  For some countries, labor market undersupply will be chronic. According to the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 10.7 million jobs in the U.S. were unfilled in September 2022. In the retail industry, there are approximately 792,000 vacancies, yet the number of unemployed in this industry is only 614,000 (October 2022). In other words, even if every unemployed person in the industry were hired, there would still be 180,000 vacancies.
  In Germany, a shortage of skilled workers has begun to hurt the economy. Labor shortages affected 49.7 percent of companies in Germany in July, up from April’s record of 43.6 percent, according to August data from the Munich-based IFO Economic Institute. Without enough workers, industry giants such as Airbus, BMW and BASF have had to cut production, which the IFO predicts will cost the German economy $85 billion a year.
  Why is there a shortage? Rachel Gressler, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a US policy research institution, pointed out that one of the fundamental reasons is that population aging is still a long-standing structural problem. Randstad Group, one of the world’s largest human resource service companies, pointed out in the “Labor Shortage” report released in May this year that the global aging population will continue to increase in the next few decades. It is estimated that by 2030, 1 in 6 people in the world will be 65 or older, and by 2050, this number will double.

  Take the United States as an example. As the largest labor force group of the “baby boomer” (those born between 1946 and 1964) enters retirement, an average of 10,000 Americans reach the retirement threshold of 65 every day. Accelerate the process of people’s retirement.
  Simultaneously with the aging of the population, many developed countries are facing the bottleneck of a continued decline in the birth rate. The Randstad report notes that the combination of the two problems means that fewer people will be able to work. According to the UK Center for Population Change, the birth rate in England and Wales fell to 1.6 in 2021 and could fall further to 1.45 by 2023. According to the analysis of the British “Financial Times”, if the UK cannot find a balanced, growth-oriented immigration strategy, the situation may become even worse.
  South Korea, which has been at the bottom of the world in terms of fertility rate for many years, is facing another decline in its total fertility rate in the second quarter of this year. According to the “June Population Trends” released by the Korean Statistics Office on August 24, the annual total fertility rate is expected to drop to 0.7 this year. If the predictions come true, South Korea will once again set a new record for the lowest birth rate in the world. Lee Sang-lim, a demographer at the Korea Institute of Health and Social Affairs, warned that without comprehensive intervention, South Korea could experience a severe labor shortage by the mid-2030s, and within three or four generations, the population could shrink. will drop sharply.
  Although increasing immigration cannot solve all problems, it is indeed the best choice to alleviate the shortage of labor force. For example, in the United States, new immigrants are often young, willing and able to fill positions that Americans do not want or cannot take. According to the Mexican research institute Colegio de la Frontera, the migrants deported at the U.S. border are overwhelmingly male and overwhelmingly young, with nearly 90 percent aged 15-39 and 65 percent aged Between 15 and 29 years old.
  According to the agency’s report, among those deportees who have worked in the United States, their occupations are very diverse. Somewhat ironically, these occupations overlap significantly with current high-demand occupations in the United States. For example, about 60% work in construction, about 20% work in services (such as food), almost 10% work in industry, and 8% work as technicians and administrators.
  In addition to promoting the development of the working-age population, the OECD report also believes that immigrants often come to the new country with skills, which can contribute to the development of human capital in the receiving country and contribute to technological progress. According to the immigration research organization “New American Economy”, 45% of the world’s top 500 companies were founded by immigrants and their children, and these companies employ more than 10 million people worldwide.
  According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 43% of immigrants to the United States are college graduates, but only 29% of native Americans have a bachelor’s degree graduation rate, and the STEM (Science, Technology, More than half of the degrees in engineering and mathematics are given to international students, and about half of the applicants for the H-1B temporary work visa have a master’s degree or above from an American university.
Without enough workers, industry giants such as Airbus, BMW and BASF have had to cut production, which the IFO predicts will cost the German economy $85 billion a year.

  ”The U.S. education system has not produced enough domestic graduates with corresponding skills.” A 2020 report by the U.S. Center for Security and Emerging Technologies also pointed out that about 40% of the workforce in the U.S. semiconductor field are foreigners. The number of foreign-born students in relevant graduate programs has almost tripled since 1990, but unfortunately, current immigration policies make it extremely difficult for companies to retain this talent.
anti-immigration impulse

  More doors are opening, and some countries have chosen to close them. On October 15, Sweden tightened its immigration policy even further with the appointment of the far-right Sweden Democrat Ulf Kristösson as the new prime minister. Sweden has always been regarded as the most generous country in Europe to all kinds of immigrants, including refugees. The total number of immigrants in 2016 was 1.63 million, accounting for about 17% of its total population. However, the previous open attitude also brought trouble and anxiety to Sweden. In an article titled “The Death of the Most Generous Nation on Earth,” Foreign Policy columnist James Trabb argues that even the most benevolent nation has its limits.
  A stark contrast is that since Sweden opened up to immigrants, its crime rate has continued to soar, and it even became Sweden’s number one problem for a time. Over the past 20 years, Sweden’s level of gun violence has gone from being one of the lowest in Europe to one of the highest, worse than Italy or Eastern Europe, according to a report by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention. “The increase in gun homicides in Sweden is closely related to the criminal environment in socially deprived areas,” the report said. “Many immigrants from Somalia, Eritrea, Morocco and North Africa engage in drug trafficking and use of explosives.”
  For newcomers, they The happiness index of the country also lags behind the Swedes, and the gap is very large. According to a study by the Iranian-Swedish economist Tino Sanandaj: “In Sweden, foreign-born persons account for 53% of long-serving persons and 58% of unemployed persons; 77% of child poverty in Sweden exists in the Families with foreign backgrounds, and 90 percent of the suspects in the shootings had immigrant backgrounds.”
  Even more worrying for policymakers, Swedes’ views on immigration have also plummeted. According to a poll conducted by Swedish media in 2015, 70% of Swedes were in favor of immigration at that time, but a survey by Ipsos in 2020 showed that 60% of Swedes were in favor of reducing immigration, and 2/3 of them were in favor of immigration. Wants to set a fixed cap on the number of immigrants admitted each year.
  Whether it is for immigrants or countries that absorb immigrants, the accompanying prominent problem is how to integrate. How can society accommodate more races and cultures? How should immigrants integrate into the new environment, or should they be “assimilated”?
  Even in open-door Canada, half of Canadians still believe that too many immigrants “cannot accept Canadian values.” In the United States, whether the values ​​of the host country can be accepted, or whether it can be “assimilated”, is a persistent theme in the public debate on immigration policy. As early as 1891, U.S. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts argued that immigrants “brought into this country hard-to-assimilate people who have little commitment to American standards of civilization.” Similar views can also be heard today from the mouths of former President Trump and Republican politician Marco Rubio.

Melbourne, Australia, July 14, 2022, citizens waiting to board a tram

  But in the view of Professor Ran Abramicki of Stanford University, “assimilation” is a false proposition. After studying the immigration wave from 1850 to 1913 (then there were more than 30 million European immigrants), he wrote that if the state continued to base its immigration policy on the belief that “immigrants are always immigrants, immigrants retain their old ways of life and keep a certain distance from mainstream culture”, that would be a mistake too. He argues that the evidence already shows that “assimilation” is real and measurable, and that over time immigrants become more like natives, while new generations develop a unique identity as Americans.
45% of the Fortune Global 500 companies were founded by immigrants and their children, and these companies employ more than 10 million people worldwide.

  On the political level, the idea that “immigrants cannot integrate into society” has become a tool for populists to promote anti-immigration policies and achieve personal political will. In October this year, Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s far-right Northern League party, became Italy’s deputy prime minister and minister of infrastructure and sustainable transport. The analysis of the Yale University Review of International Studies pointed out: “Salvini has successfully used social media and populism to create a dichotomy of ‘us and them (immigrants)’, between native Italians and those ‘foreigners. “Create a split between the Italians.” The above-
  mentioned article stated that Salvini often used simple phrases such as “Italians first” and “Italians first” to fan anti-immigration sentiment, blaming immigrants for Italy’s economic downturn, And built a “Trump-like” cult of personality around himself. According to the Pew Research Center, during Salvini’s tenure as deputy prime minister and interior minister from 2018 to 2019, there was a marked rise in anti-immigrant sentiment among ordinary people. In 2018, 35% of Italians listed immigration as one of the two most important issues facing their country, an increase of 17 percentage points from 2014 and a much higher increase than France (6 percentage points) and Spain (3 percentage point).
  For some developed countries, “robbing people” is the need for national development, and anti-immigration also has social and political soil. The pull of the two forces will eventually be reflected in changes in immigration policies. But no matter how it changes, the advantages of these countries in absorbing immigrants will not change in the short term. What’s more worth pondering is, what does this mean for the vast number of developing countries?