Migration - UK the History of Humanity Essay

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Migration - UK

The history of humanity is also the history of migration, according to professor Harzig and colleagues. The original Homo sapiens migrated out of East Africa and spread slowly across the world (Harzig, 2009, 8). Essentially, migration is the cross-border activity that individuals carry out in order to relocate for a number of potential purposes. The five basic aspects of migration are as follows: a) migration "within a cultural group" that seeks different geographic locations for purposes as varied as hunting or marriage; b) migration of "segments of a cultural group into new, unsettled areas" is called "outbound branching" or "filiation migration"; c) "colonization migration" involves moving into already settled areas to "establish rule over the peoples" that are already there (think conquest); d) "whole-community migration" is that dynamic when a group's survival is being threatened or "neighbors [are] becoming destructive" and it is time to move; and e) "cross-community migration" relates to peaceful moves into "another group's social space" or "involuntary transport of slaves or captives" (Harzig, 10).

The Sociology on Migration: How is Migration a Problem?

Authors Stephen Castles and Alastair Davidson explain that the concept of citizenship has not truly been a topic of great interest until recent years. However that has been changing, the authors contend, as some states have revised their rules regarding access to citizenship of migrants, for children of migrants, and other minorities that find their way into states. Changes in government leadership have had a profound effect on how citizenship is interpreted and what policies towards citizenship and migration are to be instituted.

Ideally, the authors assert, "all the inhabitants of a territory" should be integrated into the "political community," and they should enjoy "their political equality as citizens" (Castles, et al., 2000, p. 2). That said, it is also true that "relatively few nations match this democratic ideal" today albeit between the 17th and 19th centuries the political systems of nation states "were astonishingly effective, in both internal and external terms"(Castles, 3). The political systems "facilitated the integration of diverse groups into cohesive populations," Castles goes on, In the meantime, globalization has ushered in changes to the nation states as the rich have become richer, there are more poor people, and in many instances "the middle classes [have been] eroded" in "virtually all the older industrialized countries," including of course England (Castles, 5).

The key aspect of globalization as it applies to the topic of migration is that it has "undermined the ideology of distinct and relatively autonomous national cultures," Castles explains (7). These national cultures were always a "myth" in any case because "virtually every nation-state has been made up of ethnic groups" and those groups had their own traditions, languages, points of origin and cultural values (Castles, 7). Today, that person from an ethnic group is an "Other" until he or she can become a citizen. Another product of globalizations is a key theme of this paper: because of the "rapidly increasing mobility of people across national borders" populations have become "more heterogeneous and culturally diverse" but cultural diversity and "social marginalization" are frequently linked (Castles, 8). This dynamic has led to the creation of ethnic minorities with "…disadvantages and relatively isolated positions in society," Castles continues.

A cogent question presented by Castles is being asked worldwide by scholars and leaders pushing for democratic policies: "Can these Others be submitted to a process of acculturation… which will reduce them to nationals and thus qualify them for membership in the nation-state?" (9).

Migration in the United Kingdom -- Issues, Policies

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) published a white paper called "Migration and Development: Achieving Policy Coherence" in which the author discusses the tensions linked to the development community in the UK (Department For International Development -- DFID). Despite "several years of concerted efforts," author Sriskandarajah explains, the UK development community has not been able to "mainstream" the concept of migration into its development policy agenda (Sriskandarajah, 2008, 17). What the author is alluding to is that there is a "persistent… lack of consensus in DFID on prioritizing this issue" and indeed it goes farther than that. "There remains a lack of coherent thinking" throughout the British government on the issue of migration, Sriskandarajah explains (17).

The principal obstacle to what Sriskandarajah calls "greater institutional coherence" in the UK is the tension between policymaking and development; the two are the responsibility of "different departments" that are governed by "different interests" (17). In other words, the domestic agenda takes precedence over development commitments and even when the two departments agree to be cooperative and open, "they may have different objectives" (Sriskandarajah, 17). Development policy is made by DFID, and asylum and migration policy by the Home Office. The development (DFID) group is certainly interested in seeing to it that "remittances reach the poorest" while the finance ministries in the UK have an understandably high priority for "legalities" (Sriskandarajah, 17). The author asserts that more leadership from the centre of UK government is needed while the nation deals with the challenges in "making migration more development friendly" (Sriskandarajah, 18).

Migration in the United Kingdom -- Statistics

The UK migration statistics use the "Long-Term International Migration" definition (LTIM) for migrants that move from their previous country into the UK "for a period of at least a year" (www.ons.gov.uk). And according to the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) -- as of August, 2011 -- some 575,000 people immigrated into the UK from January to December, 2010. In that same year (2010), the ONS estimates 336,000 individuals emigrated from the UK, a decline since December 2008, when some 427,000 individuals emigrated from the UK.

The estimates of people migrating "…to the UK for a definite job is at its lowest since March 2004"; that number is 110,000 for the year January 2010 to December 2010, the ONS reports. This number has been on the decline since 2008, when it reached a "peak" of 168,000 people coming into the UK with a specific job opportunity having been offered. Emigrants moving out of the UK in the year 2010 for "work related reasons" was at its lowest for three years (179,000).

Meanwhile, the data relating to applications to live, work, and study in the UK includes the issuance of 495,499 visas in the year January 2010 to December 2010. That is slightly down from the year 2009 (496,769). In the year 2011 (up through June, 2011) a total of 158,180 work-related visas were issues -- which is an increase of just 2% from June 2010 (154,621). The visas that the UK issued to those wishing to study in the UK were 358,388 from June 2009 to June 2010 (ONS).

Another document published by the ONS shows that the number of individuals seeking asylum within the UK ("excluding dependents") was "27% higher in the first quarter of 2009 (8,380) than in the first quarter of 2008 (6,595). As to those individuals that were removed ("or departed voluntarily") from the UK in the first quarter of 2009, there were 15,840 in that category (ONS). That figure was down 6% from the first quarter of 2008. The number of people that were granted "settlement in the United Kingdom…rose by 10% in the first quarter of 2009" (44,870) compared with the first quarter of 2008 (40, 635).

When it comes to UK legal residents that were born in other countries, the top five (ONS, 11) are India (627,000); Poland (475,000); Republic of Ireland (425,000); Pakistan (416,000); and Germany (275,000). As to British citizens moving within the UK in the year 2008 (January to December), the ONS reports that England had "a net outflow of 10,700"; Scotland had a net inflow of 5,200; Wales had a net inflow of 3,600; and Northern Ireland had a net inflow of 1,900. The inflow to the city of London from without the UK was 172,500 in the year 2008. That said, London had an outflow to other regions in the UK of 55,900 (ONS).

The UK 2011 Census -- Supporting Information

Given the firestorm of public outcry regarding the scandalous hacking into personal phone technologies by British tabloid newspapers, the citizens of the UK understandably have great concerns about the privacy of the data that the government keeps on them. According to UK Census Director Glen Watson: "I can reassure the public that their census records are secure…the claim that hackers got in looks like a hoax and our investigation concluded that there is no sign of any suspicious activity" (Watson, 2011).

The British government is so intent on knowing how many citizens live within the boundaries of England -- how many people, how many migrants, what changes there are from year to year -- that those who don't comply with the census (who fail to make a census return) face a fine up to 1,000 (pounds British). "Where people refuse to complete their form a formal investigation is undertaken… a court hearing, a criminal record and a fine of up to…[continue]

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