Citizensof the EU can freely cross borders within the EU in search of opportunities forjobs work and education, a better standard of living, or even for something astrivial as a more desirable climate. Germans work in the finance sector inBritain and Luxembourg, young Romanians work in fast food chains in Germany,Spaniards study in British universities, and Germans retire in sunny Spain.
Comprisingof a total of 27 countries with a population of more than 500 million, theEuropean Union is currently the world’s best research laboratory on legal,transnational migration.Thecontinent of Europe has been a witness to a long history of internal migration such flows often occurred in response to theconstant shifts of economic and geopolitical power between Europe’s constituentnation states.PostSecond World War, Germany granted refuge to millions of refugees from regionsformerly part of Nazi Germany, while large numbers of Finns and Poles had torelocate to the Western parts of their countries. These internal immigrantinflows played a crucial role in the economic expansion of Europe, and changeda lot of ethnically homogeneous countries into multi-ethnic societies. By the1980s, former “temporary” guest workers from other European Nations had turnedinto permanent residents, who then aided further entries from their origincountries.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the fall of the USSR and the collapseof the Berlin wall triggered a large flow of workers from Eastern & CentralEurope to Western Europe, countries in Southern Europe such as Spain PortugalItaly and Greece, started to become net immigration countries. The recent enlargementof the EU caused a huge amount of migration flows from the new EU countriestoward the rest of the European Union. Poles migrated to the UK andIrelan,Italy and Spain saw large scale settlement of Romanians &Bulgarians.
But due to the Great Recession, immigration flows into manyEuropean countries slowed down significantly.Thetopic of discussion today in all immigrant-receiving countries is that what hasbeen the economic performance of immigrants and how have these countries faredin providing the necessary conditions to ensure the assimilation of these immigrants?Second, what have been the consequences of immigration for the natives in thehost countries?