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Economic migration, social cohesion and development: towards an integrated approach

Economic migration, social cohesion and development: towards an integrated approach

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Published by Council of Europe
In the final declaration of their 8th conference, the European ministers responsible for migration affairs committed to promoting and protecting the human rights of migrants, with special attention to gender equality and the rights of women; to strengthening dialogue and co-operation between receiving, transit and origin countries, particularly within Europe; and to promoting coherence at all levels (international, national, regional and local) between migration, development and integration policies.
The ministers also agreed to manage economic migration with a view to promoting economic and social progress in receiving, transit and origin countries; to enhance social cohesion by improving the integration of migrants and persons of immigrant background and the re-integration of migrants who return to their countries of origin; and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and persons of immigrant background to development in receiving and origin countries and their involvement in co-development programmes.
This report was prepared to support the ministerial debate during the conference. It presents the main aspects and characteristics of migration in the member states of the Council of Europe, analyses policy challenges raised by contemporary migration and identifies an integrated policy agenda.
In the final declaration of their 8th conference, the European ministers responsible for migration affairs committed to promoting and protecting the human rights of migrants, with special attention to gender equality and the rights of women; to strengthening dialogue and co-operation between receiving, transit and origin countries, particularly within Europe; and to promoting coherence at all levels (international, national, regional and local) between migration, development and integration policies.
The ministers also agreed to manage economic migration with a view to promoting economic and social progress in receiving, transit and origin countries; to enhance social cohesion by improving the integration of migrants and persons of immigrant background and the re-integration of migrants who return to their countries of origin; and to strengthen the contribution of migrants and persons of immigrant background to development in receiving and origin countries and their involvement in co-development programmes.
This report was prepared to support the ministerial debate during the conference. It presents the main aspects and characteristics of migration in the member states of the Council of Europe, analyses policy challenges raised by contemporary migration and identifies an integrated policy agenda.

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Published by: Council of Europe on Oct 26, 2010
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Executive summary
Migration is a central theme in contemporary European policy because it isintrinsically connected with the most formidable challenges facing Europe:development, economic growth and productivity, demographic change, main-taining social security systems, ensuring social cohesion and interculturaldialogue, and upholding human rights and the rule of law.This report was prepared as a main reference for the 8th Council of EuropeConference of Ministers responsible for Migration Affairs. It presents the mainaspects and characteristics of migration in the member states of the Councilof Europe, analyses policy challenges raised by contemporary migration andidentifies an appropriate and integrated policy agenda.The introduction and the first chapter on migration and economic and socialwell-being review the reasons for the growth of economic migration, its scaleand characteristics and its impact on the economies of member states, as wellas on their policies and practices.The second chapter on migration and development discusses the impact of migration on the development of countries of origin and destination. It iden-tifies the main challenges for strengthening the contributions that migrationmakes to development, including return of skills, remittances, investment bymigrants in countries of origin, co-development and the role of diaspora, aswell as noting some of the negative consequences, such as “brain drain”.The third chapter on migration and social cohesion
 
identifies the main policyissues regarding equality of treatment and integration of migrant workers andtheir families, and policies and practices to promote social cohesion.The fourth chapter describes an integrated policy agenda and examines the spe-cific policy factors necessary to effectively regulate migration. It identifies themain policy components of an integrated approach and outlines the roles of gov-ernment and non-governmental stakeholders in implementing this agenda.
1. Competence of the Council of Europe
The Council of Europe has a unique role, competence and capacity in address-ing migration. Its European Committee on Migration (CDMG) includes partici-pants from all member countries. It represents the full spectrum of migrationexperiences, from those of primarily origin countries to those of primarily
 
Migration – Thematic report 
12destination countries as well as transit countries, with many member coun-tries today being all three. The composition of the committee reflects thebreadth of government institutions charged with addressing migration con-cerns, including ministries of immigration, labour/employment, interior orhome affairs, foreign affairs, integration and others.This composition is unique in the world and, in particular, allows policy devel-opment and elaboration in the Council of Europe to take account of distinctnational migration experiences and diverse branches of government in address-ing migration and its consequences.The CDMG and its various working groups facilitate the building of relation-ships of trust and mutual co-operation with and between the operationalinstitutions and actors of the member countries.Over the last two decades, the CDMG has conducted studies, developed rec-ommendations, contributed to the elaboration of normative standards anddelineated policy guidance covering most issues of migration governance.Many of these policy lines were subsequently endorsed by the Council of Europe conferences of ministers responsible for migration affairs, thus givinga political impetus at the highest level to ensure their implementation bymember states. The evolution of policies in many member states demonstratesthat Council of Europe policy guidance has been especially relevant to shap-ing consistent national policies and to encouraging co-operation among mem-ber countries.Other bodies of the Council of Europe address migration issues. The EuropeanCommission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) is tasked with combatingracism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and intolerance from the perspective of protection of human rights; its 2008 annual seminar focused on discrimina-tion and integration regarding persons of immigrant origin. The current Councilof Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, serving in an independent capac-ity, has given particular attention to rights of migrants as a major theme underhis mandate.The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) plays an impor-tant role, particularly through its Committee on Migration, Refugees andPopulation. This committee elaborates policies for the protection of the rightsof migrants, refugees and displaced persons and the improvement of their liv-ing conditions and also proposes political solutions consistent with the human-itarian values of the Council of Europe. Recent PACE resolutions and recom-mendations are listed in the report.
2. Challenges for Europe, economic well-being,development and social cohesion
International migration in Europe is characterised by a growing number of short-term, long-term and permanent migrants. On the one hand, this is the
 
13consequence of higher international labour mobility in the globalisation eraresulting from changing needs and structures of national labour markets andincreasingly internationalised labour demand and supply.On the other hand, Europe needs migrants today, and many countries in theregion will need even more in future in order to meet changing labour marketrequirements, to counter workforce decline and population ageing and to helpsocial security systems stay in balance. Immigration is clearly a palliative attimes of labour shortages in host countries.Evidence shows that immigration generally has positive effects on economicgrowth and employment. However, it is only one factor in solving the chal-lenges of demographic, labour market and economic changes in Europe.Migrants often have high motivation for hard work, success, earning and sav-ing. Their productivity is often higher than among local workers in similaroccupations and positions.The fundamental policy challenge today is to capitalise on this and to ensureeconomic and social benefits from international migration. Current migrationtrends are primarily about facilitating labour and skills mobility through dem-ocratic means and regulatory instruments while avoiding overemphasis onrestrictive control measures.The free movement of goods, capital, technology and services facilitates eco-nomic integration processes and interconnection. However, destination coun-tries continue to implement restrictive provisions on the movement of people,as do certain countries of origin. A central policy challenge is therefore to rec-oncile economic pressures that encourage constraints on the protection of human and labour rights for foreign workers in order to sustain labour costcompetitiveness with the need to uphold equality of treatment and non-dis-crimination as guarantors of labour market coherence, workforce productivityand social cohesion.A major policy conundrum for governments is how to confront widespreadadverse public perceptions, opinions and resentment against foreigners, par-ticularly migrant workers, especially where they are commonly portrayed ascompeting for scarce employment and housing, unfairly or illegally drawingon public welfare resources and associated with criminality.For Europe, migration undeniably presents new challenges for integratingimmigrants economically and socially. The aim must be to have immigrantsgenuinely participate in the labour market, the economy and society. Properintegration in the host country helps strengthen identity, promotes civic par-ticipation and increases social cohesion.The overarching goal is to achieve a comprehensive, integrated and credibleapproach to regulating migration with a pan-European relevance. Equally atissue is the generation of the political will, social partner co-operation and
Executive summary 

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