Migration and Integration

Common Challenges and Responses from Europe and Asia

Both Asia and Europe are facing common problems in terms of demographic change, the need to rebound from the economic crises and worries about their attractiveness in light of projected needs for legal migration. Some in Europe are even expressing concerns that the EU is losing ground in the “global war for talent”. This makes legal migration both a battleground for the best and brightest, but also an opportunity to go beyond continental solutions to migration and foster genuine cooperation so that both continents can reap the rewards.

In order to contribute to the understanding of current challenges and implemented solutions, this publication includes papers with perspectives from Europe and Asia. What are the migration and integration policies as well as present challenges in these countries? What can they learn from each other? How do they try to facilitate migration and make it a beneficial process? These and other questions will be addressed by this publication.

The first paper by Brenda S.A. Yeoh and Miriam Ee analyzes regional approaches within the ASEAN framework. It discusses the migration regime in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on low-skilled and undocumented migrants. The authors argue that the attempts to establish a regional framework are hindered by the economic diversity, the preference for value-adding high-skilled migrants and the “ASEAN way” of doing things.

Yasushi Iguchi looks at the migration trends and policies in Japan. He shows that, despite economic improvements in neighbouring countries, Japan has remained attractive to immigrants, who move not only to the big cities, but also the countryside. In the context of a missing national integration policy, Iguchi introduces several local initiatives which might fill this gap.

Leong Chan-Hoong, Patrick Rueppel and Danielle Hong discuss the migration and integration policies in Singapore. Being one of the few traditional immigration countries in Asia, Singapore has a comparatively comprehensive approach to migration and integration.However, recent public discussions have led to some tightening of the open-door policy in the city state.

Dong-Hoon Seol takes a closer look at migration policies in South Korea. Once a major sending country of migration, the Republic of Korea’s economic transition has transformed it into a receiving society. Various immigrant groups are analyzed in this paper and the interaction between locals and immigrants is of particular interest.

Ferruccio Pastore and Ester Salis provide a comparative overview of the European policy landscape in the field of labour migration. They focus on six key countries, comparing the decade before the current economic crisis with recent developments. They highlight the heterogeneity among EU Member States and illustrate how the crisis has resulted in an opening process in some countries and more restrictive approaches in others.

Claudia Finotelli analyzes how the successful labour migration regime in Spain was changed by the economic crisis. After providing an overview on recruitment mechanisms and instruments, she argues that efficient migration management does not only depend on well-designed admission policies.

Monica Quirico discusses the migration policy in Sweden. Often considered as a success story, the paper examines changes in the Swedish migration approach over the past years and addresses the supposed increasing feeling of xenophobia as a consequence of the economic crisis.

Camilla Devitt takes a closer look at the migration regime in the United Kingdom, which is clearly biased towards skilled workers. In particular, the enlargement of the EU in 2004 had a huge impact on the British labour market. After discussing the policies targeting certain groups of migrants, the strengths and weaknesses of the approach are considered.

Yves Pascouau analyzes the attempts at integration policies at the EU level. The paper takes into account the fact that the EU has no harmonizing function in this policy area, but uses soft tools to establish a de facto EU approach. The author shows that such attempts are, to a certain degree, successful in forging some convergence.

Birte Steller addresses migration management in Germany. The illustrated changes in recent years show the reform of the German integration policy and the importance that understanding and dialogue plays in it. The paper examines a possible way to achieve benefits for sending and receiving countries.

Giovanna Campani discusses the multi-stakeholder approach to integration in Italy. The paper shows how the topic influenced domestic politics and how the local authorities, who are mainly responsible for integration, deal with it. She argues that the public sector relies on the private and non-governmental sector to implement successful integration policies.

Tineke Strik looks at integration policies in the Netherlands. The paper illustrates the impact integration requirements have on migrants of various backgrounds, and argues that recent cuts in the provision of integration courses and emphasizing of the migrants’ responsibility to integrate can, however, impact the earlier successes.


Patrick Rüppel


Singapore, January 15, 2014