The issue of immigration is rarely out of the headlines, and 2015 was no exception. Here we round up ten of our most popular articles on the topic this year, ranging from GP waiting times to international trade, from support for UKIP to the refugee crisis. To view all our articles on immigration, click here.
1. It is the perception of immigration levels, rather than actual change in local areas, that explains the UKIP vote
Is there evidence that UKIP support is channelled by local concerns about the influx of immigrants? Juta Kawalerowicz shows that the UKIP vote is not actually driven by experience of change in local areas. Instead, the UKIP vote is correlated with the perception of levels of immigration.
2. How people identify with their country matters for whether or not they will perceive immigration as a threat
Perceived threats to one’s national identity can explain a lot more about why people worry about the impact of immigration. In particular, those who identify with their country in an ethnic-cultural sense are more negative to immigration than those who have a civic national identity. Clara Sandelind explains.
Migrants’ access to the NHS is part of an ongoing debate in the UK, with the Home Secretary recently arguing that it is “obvious” that migration has an impact on the availability of NHS services. Looking at the impact of immigration on NHS waiting times, Osea Giuntella, Catia Nicodemo and Carlos Vargas-Silva explain that services in areas with a rising migrant population actually have reduced waiting times.
According to polling by Ipsos-MORI, immigration has topped the economy to become the most important issue for British people. Empirical research on the labour market effects, however, finds little overall adverse impact of immigration. Jonathan Wadsworth examines the evidence.
5. Positive contact or “white flight”?: why whites in diverse places are more tolerant of immigration
New research by Eric Kaufmann finds that local diversity does lead to more tolerant white attitudes and this is not the result of ‘white flight’. The results suggest that, as more locales become diverse, there will be more interethnic contact and more positive white attitudes to outgroups.
What is lost in the debate about refugees, which has hitherto focused on numbers, is a proper discussion about integration. In this article, Jenny Phillimore examines the steps that might support a two-way integration process.
Labour and the Conservatives are both proposing to employ a tougher approach to immigration if they win the election. But, as Alice Bloch and Sonia McKay explain in this article, there are limitations to ever more punitive approaches to control.
8. We have been overlooking the relationship between immigration and international trade in services
The volume of international trade in services has grown rapidly over recent decades and, in fact, has outpaced growth in goods trade. Over the same period many developed countries experienced rapid growth in immigration.Gianmarco Ottaviano, Giovanni Peri andGreg Wright argue that while many studies have analysed the link between immigrants and trade in goods, the link between immigrants and trade in services is almost unexplored. Due to the customer-specific information required for the provision of services, this link may be particularly important.
Immigration is one of the key issues in the context of the UK’s EU membership referendum, with several politicians advocating a shift away from free movement within the EU toward an Australian points-based system for managing immigration. But would such a system help or hinder the UK economy? Randall Hansen writes that while the system has a mixed record of success in Australia and Canada, it would be unlikely to meet the UK’s economic needs.
Immigration detainees in the UK face the largest detention estate in Europe, with physical infrastructure and regimes of surveillance and control adapted from penal institutions. Because the UK has no time limit on stays in detention, the psychological harm to detainees can be serious. An upper threshold would go some way to correct this deficiency and its harms. Consideration must also be given to replacing detention altogether with non-custodial, community-based programs of assisting, monitoring, and humanely shepherding migrants through their status regularisation processes, writes Stephanie Silverman.
(Featured Image Credit: Icars CC-BY-NC 2.0)