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Warum Europa eine neue Einwanderungswelle braucht


Stefan Theil, Europakorrespondent des Magazins Newsweek, hat eine Titelgeschichte geschrieben, die ins Herz unserer Debatten zielt: „Europas Wahl: Entweder Immigration nach amerikanischem Muster betreiben und profitieren oder sich davor verschließen und wie Japan enden“.

Die Zahlen, die Theil nennt, sind alarmierend. Europa zieht 85 % der unqualifizierten Migranten weltweit an, aber nur 5 % der hoch qualifizierten. Der Familiennachzug verstärkt das Problem noch, und man kann ergänzen: das Bildungswesen ebenso. Der Ausweg daraus ist nicht die Verrammelung der Festung Europa, die ohnehin nicht funktionieren würde, sondern eine rationale und aktive Einwanderungspolitik.

Aber jeder Politiker, der sich heute pro Einwanderung profilieren wollte, müsste suizidal sein. Eine fatale Falle:

For decades, most European countries have kept immigrants at the margins—making it exceedingly difficult for professionals and skilled workers to enter while letting in unskilled guest workers and refugees to take low-rung factory jobs that have long since moved to Asia. With many labor markets locked against newcomers, immigration also shifted to illegal channels. As a result, in the early 2000s, Europe, according to the commission, attracted 85 percent of the world’s unskilled migrants but only 5 percent of the highly skilled ones—while the United States, by contrast, snagged some 55 percent of this more desirable catch. Because immigration works largely through existing networks—immigrants bring in their families and attract peers—such past mistakes will shape things for decades, says Thomas Liebig, an immigration specialist at the OECD in Paris.

All this stands in sharp contrast to countries such as Canada, Australia, and the United States, which have adopted smarter immigration policies and enjoyed an immediate payoff. At the onset of the economic crisis, Ottawa briefly considered slashing immigration quotas. In the end, however, it decided to do the opposite and grab a bigger share of highly educated migrants with such measures as fast-track residency for skilled arrivals. As a result, though they have lost some ground recently, immigrants to Canada are still twice as likely to hold doctorates or master’s degrees as native Canadians.

Europe needs to follow this lead and recognize that avoiding the problem won’t solve anything. This is not to say that the concerns of politicians in London, Paris, or Berlin are unfounded. Statistics show that immigrants in countries such as Germany, for example, commit more crimes (though not because they’re foreigners but because they’re more likely to be poor and uneducated). But erecting a wall against them won’t work; it will only shift more migration into uncontrolled conduits. Unlike Japan, Europe is no defendable, homogenous island. It is surrounded by the exploding populations of Africa and the Middle East. Its huge existing immigrant populations will continue to find ways to bring in family members even if governments try to stop them.

Europe’s leaders should therefore start by publicly making the case both for continued immigration and better integration, explaining to their constituents how newcomers strengthen a country and are especially critical to the continent. Skilled workers are vital to keeping European businesses and public services running. And contrary to popular fears, they usually don’t increase the risk of native unemployment. They are also the first to lose their jobs in a downturn, and hence act as a buffer for the rest of the population.

A smart policy would redouble integration efforts, making sure the downturn doesn’t cause Europe’s minority populations to fall further behind. Sweden has been one of the few countries worldwide recently to increase spending on such programs, such as language and vocational training, and more states should follow its lead. Second, governments should shift immigration policies to make Europe more attractive to skilled migrants by opening the door in professions where shortages exist, by cutting red tape that makes it difficult to get foreign diplomas recognized, and by persuading more of the foreign students at European universities to stay. And third, governments should seek to decrease welfare dependency, possibly by limiting access by migrants.

(Aber wie macht man das? Limiting access – ohne gegen die Verfassung zu verstossen?)

Alles lesen.