The Key termAmong the major advantages of the European Union is the free immigration policy that opens up the borders of member states to citizens to move freely between member states in search for job opportunities, education and other benefits. This provision has the highest usability among the citizens because of the physical mobility of people that becomes evident in schools, work places and even streets and residences. The free immigration is particularly interesting because it allows easier movement of labor, technology and know-how over large distances to countries in need of them in the EU. However, it is the litmus test for the success of the Union in light of recent views by citizens of member states that receive more immigrants than others, leading to employment and social welfare pressure.
The European Union policy on immigration was shaped by the need for the integration of the job market in the member states for better working conditions and economic development. Education and labor were the two main motives to create a common pool of work and education, promoting development based on the exchange of skills continentally. Directives were passed in member states to act as a guideline for regular immigrants in short work contracts, and those seeking permanent residence to integrate with family. In the Immigrant Crisis of 2015, in which refugees were fleeing conflicts in North Africa and the Mediterranean region, a humanitarian crisis prompted the revision of policies to have a wider mandate over irregular immigrants on repatriation and transit in a safe and international standards compliant way. Despite the lack of tolerance for refugees from outside the EU, the member states are pledged to accept immigrants from other states without fail. This has become the greatest challenge in keeping the union intact in the face of a huge discomfort among some member states (EUR-Lex).
The issue of immigration and its impact on the European Union member states has had a great impact on the job market, especially low-level jobs and high level jobs in technology and the economy, even though opinions are divided on economic impact. In the United Kingdom, the country which has received the largest numbers of immigrants from the EU member states, the debate led to the call for leaving the union, in the Brexit referendum vote. The predominant argument has been that an influx of immigrants causes higher job competition and increases the unemployment rates while lowering the wage levels (John, 2013).
In the article Is Immigration a Reason for Britain to Leave the EU? John Springford talks about the many benefits of EU immigrants on the United Kingdom economy. He talks about the working nature of majority of these immigrants, who end up paying more taxes than the natives, while using up less state benefits and public services. The nature of immigrants is that they end up creating jobs due to their added demand in the market, and contribute positively to making the economy more productive by providing competitive labor. The labor that is imported into the country comprises two major divisions, namely the high-end and the lower-end jobs, which are directly responsible for more industrialized and high tech production (Tamara & Georgia, 2012).
Due to the increased population of working citizens, the demand for housing also goes up as the young, working class immigrants create families and start looking for places to settle their young families. This also raises the need for services such as lower levels of education, for which the government is responsible, even though the cost to government is far outweighed by the contribution in form of taxes paid. On education, it is worth noting that a huge population of immigrants in the UK are students in the world class universities, some of whom stay over upon finishing their studies, and others who return home once they graduate (John, 2013).
In conclusion, the article states that the issue of immigration is not an evil to the United Kingdom, and the country would still need to import labor even after leaving the EU, but not being a member might make this labor too expensive or unavailable. The British nationals living elsewhere in the union may also find themselves disadvantaged with less friendly guest governments and more expensive benefits such as healthcare and education. Despite receiving the largest number of immigrants from other member states, the author shows that the United Kingdom was better off with the free movement of people, capital and goods, as it improves trade benefits for the country as a producer (Ruhs, 2015).
The European Union was formed to create a united market for member states’ goods without prohibitive tariffs that existed before, consolidating the more than 400 million combined population of Europe. Its nature was a mutually benefitting trade bloc that allows workers to move around freely in search for better jobs and education, among other benefits. The litmus test for it would be the tolerance for immigrants in new countries, in light of increased competition for services and jobs. The working rights granted to immigrants in the new country leads to disenfranchisement of the more conservative, making it the greatest test for the EU integration efforts. The article addresses the concerns of UK citizens that their jobs were being taken away, and instead showing that the integration was strengthening the economy by increasing the working population and the taxable population, with a considerably lower increase in public benefits costs.
In other articles, scholars have continued showing that the net contribution of immigrants is far greater than the government obligational costs to cater for them. The statistics indicate job creation as a result of immigration as opposed to joblessness, the economy was also revived by the higher quality of jobs and the opening up of the economy by expatriate investors and entrepreneurs coming up with new business ideas and creating new jobs.
- EUR-Lex. (n.d.). A Common Immigration Policy for Europe. Access to European Union Laws. Retrieved from eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=URISERV%3Aj10001
- John S. (2013). Is Immigration a Reason for Britain to Leave the EU? Centre for European Reform. Retrieved from www.cer.org.uk
- Ruhs M. (2015). The Labor Market Effects of Immigration. The Migration Observatory. University of Oxford. Retrieved from www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/the-labour-market-effects-of-immigration/
- Tamara J. & Georgia M. (2012). Immigration in the EU: Policies and Politics in Times of Crisis 2007-2012. European Union Democracy Observatory. Robert Schumer Center for Advanced Studies, Florence. Retrieved from www.eui.eu/Prjects/EUDO/Documents/2012/Publications/EUDOReport5.pdf/