How Much Does Global Inequality Drive Migration?

This is episode three of our course Migration 101. In this course, we’ve teamed up with Hein de Haas, one of the field’s leading scholars, to tackle some of the most commonly asked questions related to migration. After watching his videos, you’ll have a fundamental understanding of the realities surrounding today’s debate on migrants and the refugee crisis. We recommend Migration 101 as a primer for other Migration Matters courses.

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PART 3/10 OF MIGRATION 101

We often think that poverty is the main driver of migration, that most of the world’s poor would leave their homes for a life elsewhere. But it’s not that simple, says Hein. In this episode, he explains the connection between the demand for migrant labour in developed countries and migration to those countries. He also challenges the common assumption that welfare benefits in wealthier states drive immigration.

Recommended Reading

A review of net benefit or burden of migration by the OECD says migration is a necessary and substantial source of labour for leading destination countries.

Agricultural workers, factory workers, waiters, and other low-skilled workers are identified as occupations experiencing a labour shortage in this report by the EU Commission.

Oxford University’s Migration Observatory has broken down actual vs. perceived access to welfare benefits of migrants from EU states on their website. You can also access the full study here.

This video titled “The Biggest Idea in Development That No One Really Tried” by development expert Michael Clemens provides some food for thought on the links between labour mobility and international development.

Hein de Haas

Hein is Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. He was a founding member and director of the International Migration Institute at the University of Oxford. He is a co-author of The Age of Migration, a leading textbook in the field of migration. You can find more information and free downloads of his publications on his website. He also maintains a blog – we recommend this entry titled “Human migration: myths, hysteria and facts“.

Sign up now for our newest course, A Migrant’s View, here. It’s a bit different than our other courses, focussing on both research about so-called “origin countries” (where migrants and refugees come from) and stories of arrival, waiting, and return. And don’t miss our next course on integration and diversity in Europe! Sign up here to receive the full series once it’s finished. 

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Migration Matters was founded in January 2016 to address the public’s biggest conundrums and fears surrounding migration and the so-called refugee crisis.

Our free video-based courses break down commonly held preconceptions about migration and offer nuanced and solution-oriented perspectives from leading thinkers in the field: researchers, practitioners, as well as migrants and refugees themselves.

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