Migration introduction

 

    Big movements in history

    Big movements today

    Why do people move?

    How should we treat immigrants?

Fact sheet

Big movements in history

People have always been on the move across the globe, sometimes in small groups, sometimes in vast hordes. Think of

    the Phoenicians colonising the coasts of the Mediterranean in 900-700 BC, 
   the Jewish dispersions at various times in their history,
   the Viking invasions of Europe, Iceland and India in the eighth to 10th centuries;
   the Crusader campaigns against heretics in Europe and Muslims in Palestine in the 11th to 13th centuries;
   The Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan sweeping across Asia on horseback in the 12th and 13th centuries.

In more modern times:

   The dispersal of Huguenots from France in the 17th century,
   The forced shipment of over 12 million people from Africa to become slaves in America in the 17th to 19th centuries,
   The waves of migration from Ireland to North America in the 19th century.


Big movements today

Since World War II

   the thousands of displaced people who moved across Europe immediately after the war to find relatives, to return to their homes,
   The large numbers of immigrants to the UK from Commonwealth countries, and to France from North Africa,
   The Vietnamese who in open boats fled to all corners of the globe in the late 1970s
   The migrant workers from Eastern Europe to other countries of the European Union after 2004,
   Most recently migrant workers seeking to escape conflict in North Africa
 

Why do they move?

   In some cases it is for adventure
   Mostly it is because of the search for work, and escape from famine, wars and persecution. 
   Also because of environmental disaster, the results of climate change, and because the labour market has become international or global.

People can move more freely from one country to another than in the past and numbers on the move are increasing.


How should we treat immigrants?

In the main sections of this module we shall be considering how we treat people who move from one country to another. We shall be looking at them in two groups, the refugees and asylum seekers who are moving against their will. And economic migrants who move, mostly because they want to, to look for work or for a better life.

  Refugees and asylum seekers

The kinds of questions we shall be asking are

   How did they get here (the UK)?
   Do we have to accept them all?
   Can’t we just send them back?
   What will happen to them if we send them back?
   Are there any laws protecting them?
   How do we decide which ones can stay?
   Can they then stay for ever?
   Do they just live on benefits?
   What do we gain by letting them stay?
 

 

Economic migrants

The kinds of questions we shall be asking are

   Can we just let everyone in and hope they will find work?
   Will they be able to sign on for benefits if they can’t find work?
   There over two and a half million British people unemployed. Shouldn’t they get priority for jobs?
   Will these new migrants fit in easily in a new country?
   Will they bring new ideas and skills that that will benefit all of us?
   What if they want to settle here for good and become British citizens? Do we have room for them?
   What are the most important things they need to become British citizens?