Since World War II immigration to and within Europe had emerged. This is mainly due to the different aspects that affect immigration, such as political, economic, social and environmental factors. Immigration occurs both on an international and national level, where the migration can be voluntary or forced; usually with the aim of permanent settlement in the adopted country. Population movements from place to place range in scale and distance. Some movements are continuous and regular, such as voluntary retirement moves from UK to Spain. Other movements may be one-off and permanent, due to forced migration such as refugee movements in former Yugoslavia. There are different kinds of Immigration that have cropped up since World War II in Europe. This essay will explain and analyse the cause of this such as the push and pull forces and ‘Lee’s model’. Case studies relevant to this will be discussed, such as the ‘guest worker in Germany’, the political immigration of the ‘Russian Jews to Isreal’ and the forced migration in Kosovo.

The causes of international migration are mainly because of push and pull factors; both voluntary and non-voluntary. ‘Push forces’ are pressures which persuade a person to move away from an area and might include the impact of natural hazards, low wages or poor schools. ‘Pull forces’ are those which attract the migrant to a particular destination. ( N/D). They fall into five categories: physical, demographic, economic, social and political factors. Examples of ‘push forces’ branch from ill health, natural disaster, harsh climate, inaccessibility, to unemployment, poverty, heavy taxes, civil unrest, ethnic cleansing…etc. Examples of ‘pull forces’ are a hazard-free environment, family or ethnic ties, high living standards, better salary, good welfare services, freedom of speech, propaganda…etc.

However, there is a much more detailed theory to why people immigrate, which is known as ‘Lee’s model’. It sees the places of departure and arrival as possessing a series of attributes. Each person perceives these attribute another way, depending on individual characteristics such as age, gender, marital status, socio-economic class and education. Some of the attributes of the present location will be regarded positively and they will persuade the person to stay put. Others will be seen negatively and will encourage migration. Others will be perceived neutrally and so have no influence on the decision- making process. Lee’s model introduces another modification to the simple push-pull model (Warn.S & Naish.M, page 139). This answers the question to why immigration takes place.

Europe, in fact the whole world experiences forms of migration. This stems from internal migration which is moving to a new home within a state, country, or continent, and external migration which is moving to a new home in a different state, country, or continent. There is also the form of emigration, which is Leaving one country to move to another (e.g., the Pilgrims emigrated from England), and immigration, which is moving into a new country (e.g., the Pilgrims immigrated to America). There is also population transfer, when a government forces a large group of people out of a region, frequently based on ethnicity or religion. This is also known as an involuntary or forced migration. Another form is encouraged migration (also called “reluctant” or “imposed” migration). Individuals are not forced out of their country, but leave because of unfavourable situations such as warfare, political problems, or religious persecution.

The movement of Russian Jews to Isreal illustrates a clear example of voluntary immigration. In 1950 (after World War II), the parliament of the newly-established state of Isreal passed a law that gave Jews anywhere in the world the right to enter and settle in the country. After that, Jews from all over the world decided to return to what they regard as there ‘spiritual home’. One of the largest flows of voluntary immigration was from the former Soviet Union. In a period of 25 years, no less than one million Russian Jews made the move. Since Jews in the former Soviet Union were largely regarded as rebellious, authorisation to migrate to Isreal was generally not too difficult to gain (Warn.S & Naish.M, page 143).

Following the end of World War II, the West European economies first had to incorporate refugees for economic reasons. By the end of the 1950s, these countries began to meet part of their growing demand for labour by recruitment in several Mediterranean countries: first in Italy, Spain, Portugal, and former Yugoslavia, and later in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Turkey (Fassmann.H & Munz.R, page 7). The case study that will be discussed in detail will be on the ‘Turkish guest workers in former West Germany’. This started in the 1950s and was caused by the very successful rebuilding of the West German economy after the Second World War. An immense number of new jobs were created. Job vacancies rapidly surpassed the national labour supply, so the government was required to persuade the recruitment of foreign labour. In particular, people were needed to fill poorly-paid, unskilled occupations. Turkey, along with a number of countries in southern Europe, was happy to supply the much-needed low-priced labour.

For a time the agreement worked well, with benefits being obtained by the Turkish immigrants, the West German economy and those parts of Turkey supplying the guest workers. However, with the economic recession of the 1970s the German manner changed. A ban was placed on the employment of foreign workers, yet the arrival of Turkish immigrant’s persisted. In the 1980s grants were offered to convince Turks to return home. Even greater pressure was put on them in the 1990s with the reunification of Germany. This has given a problematic view on society, since the German criticise the Turks for not becoming part of German culture. They are seen as keeping themselves to themselves; preserving their own culture, keeping their Turkish citizenship, occupying poor housing and straining social and welfare services (Warn.S & Naish.M, page 144).

In the early 1970s the employment of foreign labour in the countries of Western Europe reached its maximum; in this case West Germany as well. There are different approaches towards the “foreign” migrants from the German population. Progressively more negative views of foreigners or foreigner topics also serve as key indicators that immigration has become more prominent politically. Although most analysis agrees that a considerable proportion of German respondents consider their answers carefully, to avoid giving the politically incorrect answer (Herbert 1990). Attitudinal surveys taken over time occasionally results in some people providing answers that seek to hide antiforeigner views, but still show a strong view that Germans believe that foreigners should return to their homelands; which may indicate xenophobia (Chapin, 1997, page 54). In a recent report online, the author states that the level of racial intolerance in Germany has become evident that it even intervenes with one of the largest global Sports events: “Several xenophobic attacks have sparked a debate in Germany about so-called “no-go zones” for non-white soccer fans visiting the country during the Word Cup. Neo-Nazis also want to use the tournament to raise their profile ( 2006)”. On the economic and social factors, statistics show that since the continuous and rapid increase of foreigners from 1992 to 1995 which raised the population of Germany by 3% which is approximately 2.4 million ( 2007), at the same time unemployment had also increased from 6% to 9% (Chapin, 1997, figure 3.1). This shows a clear pattern, due to the explosion of foreigners- mainly immigrants- the result was a large cost for the German economy. Because of this it had created many black markets and criminal activity; coincidently with the population erupting from around 1987, crime had also increased by 20% ( 2004). However these figures are may be vague, invalid and based on assumption. But the facts remain that immigrants and foreigners have created an upset to the German economy and population.

Immigration since the 1980s was still expanding rapidly. The largest category was family reunion (60%) in some countries. The EU estimated that 4 to 7 million ‘illegal migrants’ arrived to Europe in the mid-1980s. In Italy, there was an increase of 300,000 in the mid-1980s to 1.25million in 1998. However these are just assumptions since there is no count for an illegal emigrant. So why was there an increase in asylum seekers, illegal migrants? It can be argued that this is due to the end of the ‘Cold War’, regional conflicts, or more labour market requirements for low-skilled workers. Because of this, it results in constrains on government where they are limited by pressure groups e.g. NGO’s and business e.g. manufacturing and agriculture. This stimulated illegal immigration.

Compared to Germany, immigration to the UK evidently can be clarified by the pattern of fortunate relations. In 1990 about 930,000 foreign nationals were working in the UK. The labour force survey from which this statistic has been taken lists both foreigners in the UK and ethnic and non-white minorities. In 1992 about 60% of the UK’s 1.9 million foreign residents were immigrants from African or Asian countries (former colonies). Immigration to the UK from other European countries is reasonably low; labour migration from former Yugoslavia or Turkey, for example, has been practically nonexistent (Fassmann.H & Munz.R, page 18).

Labour migration leaves consequences. In 2004 Poland and a few other East European countries joined the EU. Since then, roughly 175,000 East European (mainly Polish) economic migrants per year and 500,000 by the year 2008 had settled ( 2009). For the migrants, the UK was the country of destination which meant they were the host; this affected the UK in both advantageous and sustainable ways. With the large quantity that quickly emerged it then put pressure on housing, social services, education and on the police force. Additionally, unregistered migrants did not pay taxes, crime and human trafficking increased. UK workers were thoroughly annoyed with being replaced by migrants that don’t mind being paid half as much ( 2006). However, it was the British economy that benefited out of this; gaining economic growth. Unemployment rates dropped rapidly due to the seasonal, low-skill required jobs that were being taken up. This is because migrants had come young, productive and ready to work ( 2008). This also helps the UK since it reduces the impact of ageing population by decreasing dependency ratios. Such a transaction will also affect the country of origin too. Poland had lost out on a lot labour since most of their skilled workforce left (“Brain drain”) i.e. a quarter of doctors left and engineers as well. They have also lost much of the young and energetic section of society. This leads to an ageing population and increase dependency ratio. Nevertheless, Poland still benefit from lower crime rates, unemployment also drops and best of all due to remittances; where those that immigrated send money back to the home country.

Forced immigration happens when people flee their country because of an immediate threat to there health; then are considered refugees because they seek refuge in another country. Despite the Iron Curtain, a quantity of 13 million people was able to leave their East European homes countries between 1950 and 1992. The concept of the Iron Curtain represents the ideological and physical border that splits Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1991 ( N/D). Recently, with the separation of Europe starting to dissolve and the Iron Curtain falling, East-West migration has resumed on a larger scale. This development is also clearly reflected in the number of refugees. In 1983 there were just 76,000 asylum seekers in 14 European OECD countries; three years later the figure had tripled ( 2005). Due to the heavy flow of refugees and asylum seekers, it is playing a major role in European migration.

Because of this, it resulted in wars in Croatia and in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1991-93 and ethnic repression of Serbia in Vojvodina and Kosovo. The Serbian strategy was to rid the province of its Albanian connection by ‘persuading’ those of Albanian stock to emigrate to Macedonia or Albania. In 1999, the Albanians forced migration continued. Fears of more genocide by the Serbians, in retaliation for the air strikes, drove tens of thousands of ethnic Albanians to flee the country. The number of asylum seekers and refugees from former Yugoslavia in central and western Europe had increased rapidly and by 1993 it reached 700,000 (UNHCR data). In 1992 some 680,000 people asked for asylum in the EU and EFTA countries; 438,000 of them in Germany (UNHCR data; United Nations/ECE, 1993).

In 1992 more than 60% of those who applied for asylum in Western Europe did so in Germany. In 1992, out of the 438,000 people who applied for asylum in Germany, less than 5% were successful. On the other hand, many other asylum seekers stay on as de facto refugees; which are those in practice, but not officially established ( N/D). In the past, repatriation was not enforced on a large scale. Since 1993 Germany’s restrictive Asylum Law has led to reduced numbers of applications. Germany has also been particularly affected by the surge of ethnic Germans from East seeking resettlement. In 1990 about 377,000 and in 1991 another 397,000 such ethnic Germans arrived in Germany, representing a tenfold increase compared to 1985 (Fassmann.H & Munz.R, page 10).

Western European workers are ageing, Western European women are increasingly contributing into the labour force, and young Western European generations have considerably improved their level of schooling. As these three tendencies prolong, Western European economies will increase their demand for services once provided by women at home and young workers with low education, while the supply of workers willing to provide them will shrink. Just as there is a secular tendency of rich countries to shift their productive specialisation from agriculture and manufacturing into services, there is also a shift in the productive specialisation of western economies within the service sector. As education and average age increase, rich economies specialise in services concentrated in managerial and analytical skills rather than manual and physical ones.

So in conclusion, even if income per capita enhances, rich economies still demand personal services using manual and physical skills. At the same time, close neighbours of Western Europe, such as countries in North Africa, the Middle East and in part of Eastern Europe, have younger, less educated labour forces potentially attracted by the higher productivity and wages of Western Europe. The possible ‘gains from trade’ look obvious, older educated Western Europeans should specialise in human capital intensive services (education, finance, health care, business services and research) and ‘outsource’ some of the personal, manual-intensive services (health aides, personal care, food preparation, transportation, construction) to younger, less educated foreigners. The issue is that, as those services are ‘non-traded’, such outsourcing would require less educated, younger foreigners to be allowed to work in Western Europe. Immigration, in a word, would be the way to reap the benefits from specialization; benefiting both the host country and the migrants. But even the mention of greater mobility across borders produces very strong and alarmed reactions; not from just a few eccentric politicians but the general public in most of Western Europe ( 2008).

Word Count: 2530



Chapin, D. (1997) Germany for the Germans? Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.

Fassmann, H. and Munz, R. (1994) European Migration in the Late Twentieth Century. Aldershot: Edward Elgar Publishing Company.

Warn, S. and Naish, M. (2001) Global Challenge. Essex: Pearson Education Limited.