Who Are We Allowing in? Who Are We Trying to Keep out?

This is episode seven 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.

To receive the full series right to your inbox, sign up for this course on our website.


Given the public debate on migration today, one might assume that countries around the world have become or are becoming more restrictive on migration. Yet, these policies are not actually more restrictive; rather they reflect a global class system, says Hein.

In this episode, Hein investigates how and to what effect destination countries decide on which migrants to accept, as well as which migrants they work actively to keep out.

Recommended Reading

Check out this map to see how EU countries have opened their borders to refugees, as per their labour needs at the time.

This Bloomberg article on Spain’s massive labor shortage (of a certain type), despite 5 million unemployed.

An individual is three times more likely to be admitted to Harvard than to be admitted to the U.S. as a refugee, says Embrace Refugees, a project on the gruelling asylum application process.

Even Japan, a long-time foe of immigration, is coming around to a selective policy for a certain type of worker, says this article from The Japan Times.

This case study from Hein’s book The Age of Migration further explores the decisions Japan must make, concerning migration policy.

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. 


What is Migration Matters?

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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