Refugees and Asylum seekers

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1 Description of the migration movement
2 Causes of migration
3 Consequences of migration
4 Reactions on migration

Conflicts in more far-away areas caused refugees to come to Europe. When Western powers interfered in these conflicts for example in response to the communist threat, they felt particularly obliged to provide shelter for some of the refugees.

The interference of Western troops in Vietnam created a stream of refugees towards rich Western countries. In 1973, refugees from Chili were allowed to come to Western Europe. More and more found shelter in Western Europe or the United States.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PERIOD:

Demography and economy:
The oil-crisis in 1973 caused major economic problems in the rich countries in Western Europe, causing unemployment and a decrease in investment. Industries had to be closed down or were replaced by the labor of countries with lower wages, often located in Asia. Especially people with little or no education lost their jobs and had to rely on social security instead, resulting in high costs for society.
The countries in the Third World, however, also suffered from this economic crisis because they were dependant on the Western countries. Population there continued to grow and famine worsened conditions in many countries. In comparison, the economic conditions in the Western countries remained far better than elsewhere.

Politics:
There were more refugees than ever because of the interference of the superpowers in local conflicts all over the world. Fighting states and internal conflicts caused political refugees, often due to the continuing strong role of nationalism whereby people with the same nationality wanted to have their own independant state. After the collapse of the communist dominance in Eastern Europe in 1989, all kinds of conflicts between nationalities arose.

EFFECT OF CHARACTERISTICS ON MIGRATION:

Demography and economics:
Because of the still growing gap between rich and poor countries, the stream of migrants from Third World countries towards rich industrialized countries did not stop; in fact it even increased in magnitude. It became harder however for migrants from these countries to enter the rich countries, as regulations were sharpened and procedures became more complicated. While political refugees were allowed to stay, economic refugees were forced to return to their own country. Some economic refugees entered the countries on an illegal basis and still tried to make a living. International migration became the point of controversy between the owners and the robbed. Facts on these migrants can be found below the heading: people towards rich countries.

Politics:
The conflicts in the world caused an ever growing stream of refugees, most of which stayed in the Third World and found a safer place to stay in a neighbouring country. At the start of the seventies, there were 5 million refugees while that number is currently approximately 20 million. Many refugees came, for instance, from regions of conflict such as the horn of Africa, Southern Africa, South-East Asia and Central America. Only in special cases did the Western world provided shelter for larger groups of them, as they did with the Vietnamese boatpeople and the refugees from Yugoslavia.
Not only did the South produce many refugees, but so did the East. People that lived under the communist regimes in Eastern Europe tried to escape to the West and were considered political refugees up until 1989, at which point they were suddenly free to go. Many tried to find happiness in the West, which continues to tighten its borders to these refugees because of economic crises and outright xenophobia. Due to the large number of foreigners living in these countries as a result of the guestworker-politics, people became more and more hostile to foreigners. Under pressure from the natives in the receiving countries, governments developed strict politics on immigration. Although it is difficult to draw a line between economic and political refugees, governments did try to do just that and refused to see the problems of the economic refugees. The already mentioned characterisation also holds for the mix of politically and economically affected refugees: International migration has became the point of controversy at issue between the owners and the robbed. Facts on these migrants can be found below the heading: political refugees.

1. DESCRIPTION OF THE MIGRATION MOVEMENT

1.1 Who were they and where did they come from: Ethnic origin, geographical background, religion, adults, men or women, special qualities?
Western Europe
UK, Germany, France
Netherlands

* 1965 - 1994: Refugees came to the Netherlands from: Hungary: 3300, Poland: 2350, Czechoslovakia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Uganda: 300, Chili: 1070 and Portugal. {Luc}
Belgium, Nordic countries

Southern Europe
Spain, Portugal, Italy , Greece

Eastern Europe

* 1945-1992: European East-West migrants can be classified as 'ethnic' migrants. But many of the 'ethnic' migrants were taking the opportunity to leave their home country for economic or political reasons. (survey,472)
* 1945-1997: About 10% of all European East-West migrants can be classified as political refugees and asylum seekers. In most cases the migration streams were linked to political crises and conflicts in the countries of origin: 1956 Hungary, 1968 Chzechoslovakia, 1980 Poland, 1990 Albania, 1991-1993 Yugoslavia. Less than 15% can be classified as labour migrants or as dependent family members of labour migrants. (survey,474)
* 1845-1990: The main countries of origins within the framework of European East-West migration were the former GDR, Poland, former Yugoslavia, the former USSR and other countries, mainly Bulgaria and Romania. (survey,475)
* 1990s: People from Romania and Bulgaria went to Germany. {Sieny}
Poland
Yugoslavia
* 1950s/1960s: In the 1950s and early 1960s emigration from Yugoslavia primarily involved two groups: first, Muslims of Turkish origin and Muslims of Slavic origin from Bosnia and Sandjak; second political opponents of the Tito regime. (survey,476)
* 1992: People fled from former Yugoslavia (Bosnia).
Russia
* 1989 - 1991: Jews left the former Soviet Union.
* 1989 - ...: Many were on the move in former Soviet areas.

South America
Argentina, Brazil, Mexico
Chili

* 1973: People left Chili.

Africa
North Africa South Africa
West Africa

* 1990s: People from Ghana went to Germany. {Sieny}

East Africa
* 1990s: People from Ethiopia went to Germany. {Sieny}

Asia

* 1960s and 70s: Vietnamese and Cambodians came to Europe.
* 1990s: People from Pakistan went to Germany. {Sieny}

1.2 How did they travel: transport, circumstances of travelling?

1.3 When?

1.4 How many?

* 1970: A total of 2.5 million refugees worldwide.
* 1970s: Thousands of refugees went to Europe. {Con}
* 1972 - 1990: More and more refugees came to Europe. Countries of the EEC: 1972: 13.000, 1982: 85.000, 1988: 290.000, 1989: 349.000, 1990: 375.000.
* 1989: France: 60.000 refugees, 1991; 50.000, 1992: 29.000. {Leq}
* 1992: A total of 18 million refugees worldwide lived in a place away from home.
* 1994: Worldwide: 20 million refugees.
* 1994: About 40 - 50 million people lived outside their native country.
* 1994: An estimate of 80 million migrants worldwide.

Eastern Europe

* 1950-1992: Between 1950 and 1992 the documented number of European East-West migrants was about 14 million people. (survey,472)
Poland
* 1950-1993: Some 3 million ethnic Germans immigrated to their 'mother' country, most of them from Poland. (survey,472)
Yugoslavia
* 1989-1994: 700,000 refugees from former Yugoslavia fled to western Europe. The other 4.3 million refugees and displaced persons are still living in the states that emerged from the break-up of Yugoslavia. (survey,476)
Romania
* 1950-1993: Some 3 million ethnic Germans have immigrated to their 'mother' country, most of them from Romania. (survey,472)
Russia
* 1950-1991: Some 1.5 million people emigrated from the USSR. (survey,477)
* 1950-1993: Some 3 million ethnic Germans have immigrated to their 'mother' country, most of them from USSR. (survey,472)
* 1989 - ...: Many people were on the move in former Soviet areas. 250.000 - 300.000 Armenians left Azerbaïdjan, 160.000 - 220.000 Azeris left Armenia. 50.000 Meskhs were chased out of Azerbaïdjan. 300.000 Russians left the former Soviet areas, especially Azerbaïdjan and Tadjikistan. 500.000 people from Nagorno-Karabach fled to Azerbaïdjan.

1.5 Permanent or temporary?

1.6 Where did they go to and where did they stay?

* 1989-1994: Of more than 4 million refugees, between 500,000 and 600,000 are currently residing in different European countries. Germany, Switzerland and Sweden are the main receiving countries. (survey,288)

Eastern Europe

* 1948 - 1989: People left Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to go to the West. Total at least: 8.7 million people.
* 1945-1990: Receiving countries of East-West migrants were: Germany (68% of all East-West migrants), Israel (8%), Turkey (7%), USA, Austria. (survey,477)
Poland
Yugoslavia
* 1950s/1960s: Muslims from Yugoslavia went to Turkey, while political refugees headed for western Europe and overseas. (survey,476)
* 1992: People fled from former-Jugoslavia (Bosnia) to Western countries including Germany. {Sieny}
Russia

South America
Argentina and Brazil
Chili

* 1973: People left Chili. and went to Western European countries like the Netherlands. To the Netherlands: 1000.
Mexico

Asia
Vietnam

* 1960s and 70s: 2000 Vietnamese went to Austria. {Con}

2. CAUSES OF MIGRATION

2.1 Circumstances that favoured migration

* 1950-1992: The large majority of East-West migrants belonging to ethnic or religious minorities were and are backed by a Western nation or a well organized lobby. The two most obvious cases are those of Jewish and ethnic German emigrants. (survey,472)
* 1970s: In the early 1970s, European states were implementing a fairly open policy with regard to aylum seekers. (survey,496)

Eastern Europe

* 1949-1997: In the constitution of the FRG, an article was included saying that ethnic Germans were allowed to settle in the FRG and to obtain German nationality. (Maas migration,258)
* 1989: The fall of the Berlin Wall and the perestroika stimulated migration of Germans from Eastern Europe to Germany, but not only ethnic Germans went to Germany. (Maas migration,261)
Poland
Yugoslavia
* 1960s-1989: Since the late 1960s Yugoslavia was the only communist country whose citizens had the right to emigrate. (survey,474)
Russia
* 1970s: The USA and some western countries applied political pressure to ease the restrictive Soviet emigration policy. (survey,477)
* 1989 - 1991: Many Jews left the Soviet Union because before 1989 had often not been allowed to leave. Things changed after the communist regime became more democratic.

2.2 Circumstances that hindered migration
Western Europe

* 1980s: In the mid-1980s, formerly liberal policies became increasingly restrictive. (survey,496)
* 1988: The Ad Hoc Immigration Group, including all twelve members of the EU, was established to prepare conventions. Restrictive rules were made during these conventions. (survey,497)
* 1990s: Currently, only applicants who satisfy the narrowest interpretation of the Geneva Convention definition, i.e. those with a well-founded fear of persecution on grounds of race, religion, political opinion or belonging to a particular social group, will be considered. (survey,497)
* 1990s: The combination of visas and carrier sanctions makes it most difficult for genuine refugees to reach Europe and apply for asylum, condemning them to remain in their country of origin often in the face of persecution and even torture.
UK
* 1990s: Today refugee policy within the UK: non-white refugees are treated in a similar fashion to non-white labour migrants, the idea of 'burden sharing' in which the UK accepts a quota of refugees only if others agree to do the same; and the policy of putting in place limited duration and specific centrally planned reception and resettlement programmes for quota refugees within the UK. (survey,331)
Germany, France Belgium, Nordic countries
Netherlands
* 1990-1997: The Dutch government takes a very restrictive stance on accepting refugees. (mass migration,122)

Eastern Europe

* 1945-1989: The cold war and the iron curtain significantly reduced European East-West migration, but did not bring the flow to a complete halt. (survey,472)
Poland
Russia
* 1950s/1960: In this period it was almost impossible to emigrate from the USSR. (survey,477)

2.3 Direct causes of migration
Eastern Europe
Poland
Hungary

* 1956: The Soviet invasion of Hungary and the Suez crisis in 1956 caused a peak in the flow of Hungarian refugees and politically motivated British immigrants to Canada. (survey, 264)
Yugoslavia
* 1989-1994: The civil war in former Yugoslavia caused the most extensive problem of refugees and displaced persons that Europe experienced since the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. (survey, 288)
Czechoslavakia
* 1968: The crisis in Czechoslovakia in 1968 resulted in the admission of a number of refugees. (survey, 265)
Albania
* 1991: After multi-party elections in March many Albanians fled the country. (European migration,135)
Russia

South America
Argentina andBrazil
Chili

* 1973: After a coup d'état many people left Chili. {Con}
Mexico

Asia
Vietnam

* 1960s and 70s: Vietnamese and Cambodians left their countries due to political instability. Some of them were invited into the Netherlands. {Con}

3. CONSEQUENCES OF MIGRATION

3.1 Short term consequences
Positive consequences
- for the migrants (first generation)
- for their new environment / native born
- for the country they left

Western Europe
Germany
- for the country they left

* 1989: In 1989 the mass emigration of some 181,000 people before the fall of the Berlin wall and another 218,000 thereafter largely contributed to the collapse of communist rule in East Germany and to German unification. (survey,476)
UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Nordic countries

Negative consequences
- for the migrants (first generation)
- for their new environment / native born
- for the country they left

3.2 Long term consequences
Positive consequences
- for the migrants (second and third generation)
- for their new environment
- for the country they left

Western Europe
- for their new environment

* 1970s: Because of the large number of refugees that came to Western Europe, those countries became multi-cultural. These countries also tried to decrease migration by making stronger rules on immigration. {Con}
UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Nordic countries

Negative consequences
- for the migrants (second and third generation)
- for their new environment
- for the country they left

Western Europe
- for their new environment
1989: In the European Community, there is no member state with fertility rates above replacement; in 1989, two-thirds of total population increase was accounted for by net migration. (European migration,122)

4. REACTIONS TO MIGRATION

4.1 Reactions of the receiving society to the immigrants
- official reaction
- reaction of the common people

Western Europe
UK
- official reaction

* 1960s: The ensuing shock (after the migration of a sizeable number of non-white acute refugees) to the national psyche resulted in dramatic changes to Britain's immigration policy, refugee admission policy and refugee resettlement policy. (survey,336)
Germany
- official reaction
* In 1974 German authorities stopped issuing labour permits. The German government hardly ever gave newcomers the German nationality.
- reaction of the common people
* 1974: Many German natives showed their anti-foreign attitude in elections. {Sieny}
- reaction of the common people
* 1990s: Homes for refugees in Germany and homes of immigrants were often the target of hostile actions.
France
Netherlands
- official reaction
* 1980 - 1989: The government in the Netherlands constructed a minority-policy. The first group to receive its own policy were the Moluccans, after which other groups followed. The groups were stimulated to keep their own culture alive, but also motivated to integrate. Children received special hours with education in their own language and culture; an issue about which discussion grew since some thought this would only stigmatise the children and work against integration. Others claimed it would support integration because it strengthened their self esteem. Unions did not fight for the rights of foreigners, because they often were not members and as such did not fall under the unions' responsability. The government first victimised the foreigners, yet later they were treated more strictly. Many people believed in the necessity of forced integration.
- official reaction
* 1990s: The Dutch government opened the hunt for illegal employees. The penalties were raised and people had to identify themselves before they were allowed to work somewhere. The government ceased special policies and accentuated that everyone had to take care of him or herself. Only extra education efforts which were in place in order to get foreigners back to work remained. {Tin}
- reaction of the common people
* 1980 - 1989: People were afraid that Muslim fundamentalism would settle in the Netherlands. Extreme right-wing politicians gained followers and even entered parliament. The foreigners were blamed for everything that went wrong, even the failure of the minority-policy. {Tin}
- reaction of the common people
* 1990s: People in the Netherlands reacted very hostily towards refugees and illegal workers. People were afraid of a real foreigner-invasion. Because of events like the Gulf-war, breaking down of the iron curtain, ever growing population in Africa and the formation of one Europe people got scared every foreigner would come to Europe and be able to stay there just like that.
- reaction of the common people
* 1990s: Racism in the Netherlands still grew, also in politics. Foreigners were the scapegoats for crime, unemployment and everything else.
Belgium
Nordic countries

Southern Europe
Spain
Portugal
Italy
- official reaction

* 1986: A law was passed on 30 December 1986 granting an indemnity to all foreigners living in Italy. (mass migration, 280)
- official reaction
* 1990: On 20 Frebruary 1990 another law was passed, containing provisions for political asylum, the entry and residence of non-EC citizens, the legalization of the position of non-EC citizens and stateless persons already in State territory. this law gave those who had entered the country illegally another chance to legalize their position. (mass migration, 281)
Greece

4.2 Reactions of the immigrants to their new environment
- integration / assimilation
- maintaining their own identity
- differences between first, second and third generation

Western Europe
- integration / assimilation

* 1973 - 1990: Immigrants in Western Europe tried to integrate and assimilate, but they also wanted to maintain their own religion, culture and customs. Therefore islamic schools and mosques were built in this part of Europe.
UK
Germany and France
Netherlands and Belgium and Nordic countries

IN SHORT

Political conflicts all over the world have caused an ever growing stream of refugees (growing from 5 to 20 million or even more during this period), some of which attempt to enter a rich Western country and of which only small number succeed. The rich countries however feel like they are overflowing and, with the occasional exception such as the adoption of refugees from former Yugoslavia, increasingly close their borders. The Western European countries have become xenophobic fortresses that would rather not let in any foreigners whatsoever.

 
 

Dr. Marlou Schrover