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The Efficiency of Immigration and Integration Policies

From: Population Review
Volume 50, Number 2, 2011



In this paper we present a brief comparative analysis of the various immigration and integration policies adopted over the last decades by the main countries of immigration. This analysis is conducted from the point of view of the efficiency of these policies, that is, by relating the objectives and the means of the various immigration policies to the results they produced. Besides possible political objectives, three main types of objectives may be considered: economic, demographic and humanitarian (family reunification and providing a shelter to refugees). The discussion on the means refers to the capacity to control the level and the structure of immigration flows, and therefore to the opportunity of adopting a system allowing for the selection of immigrants (quotas, point system). Reviewing the literature devoted to the economic and demographic consequences of immigration, one is led to the conclusion that these consequences are marginal. The assumptions on which most immigration policies are based, namely that immigration is beneficial to the economy and may solve the demographic problems of the receiving country, are not empirically validated. Immigration policies should focus on humanitarian objectives and on the integration of immigrants.

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