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Analyzing the Migration Trends in Central European Countries

Nowadays, every country experiences the great impact brought by the increasing trend of international human migration. It has been noted that European countries are among the top countries which have high statistics relating to migration. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have recorded the ongoing change in migration statistics and trend. From 1997 to 2001, inflows of foreigners in European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland reached 1, 896 thousands.

This number rose to 2,616 thousand in 2002. For net migration, EEA and Switzerland recorded a 2.5 m igration per 1,000 inhabitants during 1997 to 2001 which rose to 3. 5 in 2002. Moreover, asylum seekers was also noted high in EEA and Switzerland taking into a count of 387 thousand in 2001 and 421 in 2002. It is also important to note that the two regions have increasing population due to migrants acquisition of European and Swiss nationality (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], 2004). For the purpose of identifying the trend of migration in Central Europe, two of the region’s countries are chosen to be evaluated. These countries are Austria and Germany.

However, in order to take the full grasp of the situation in these two countries, it is important to give a picture of the immigration trend in the whole continent of Europe. Since humans are mobile beings, migrations from one region to another have already been observed as early as the period of Homo Erectus. Reasons for early migration include expansion of territory, adaptation and hunt for edible food sources (Adler, 2003). Unlike the trends during early periods, modern migrations are caused by urbanization, search for job opportunities and flight of refugees.

Billions of agricultural workers from rural regions left the countryside in exchange of better opportunities in the cities. The existence of large industries in urban regions opened the doors of many job opportunities needed by almost all individuals to earn a living. Looking at this phenomena, it is observable that industrialization has indeed encouraged human migration. It was noted that in the early twentieth century, transnational labor migration has recorded an average of three million migrants per year.

In addition, both domestic and international conflicts which often resulted to social and political unrests caused individuals to migrate from their territory to another boundary to seek for security. In the present time, globalization causes great impact on the flow of migration both on the developed and the developing countries (Adler, 2003). Migration Trends in Europe Until World War II, migration trend in Europe is characterized by the increasing number of nationals moving out from their European country to seek asylum in the New World or United States.

Moreover, increased in emigration during this period was noted in economically depressed areas as more and more people moved to more developed regions. For example, Ukrainian and Polish workers left their country for mining and steelworks jobs in Germany and France; Italians went to seek better jobs in Switzerland or France; and Irish nationals moved to British industrial cities for high paying jobs. Until the end of 1960s, European countries continued to experience high rate of emigration as opposed to the negative rate of immigration (Bonifazi, 2008).

In 1970s, European regions have experienced a positive net migration wherein the recorded migration was at three million. In 1980s, Central and Eastern European countries have manifested important new developments thus migration rose to 4. 8 million and 11. 4 million in the 1990s (Bonifazi, 2008). Those countries emerged as centers of attraction thus becoming the new promised land for migrants from another country or continent. More and more tourist destinations were developed in Central European countries, not only as part of state development but also as part of tourism projects aimed at boosting European countries’ economy.

Since 1989, Central European countries have shown explosion on their labor force (OECD, 2004). The increase in labor force is not only brought by the increasing nationals who are able to land a job but also by the growing numbers of migrant workers seeking for greener pastures in European countries. The World Health Organization reported that “since World War II, European countries have experienced a vast international movement of persons: political refugees, labor migrants, immigrants from the colonies” (cited in Adler, 2003, p. 7).

To further boost migration, in November 2004, the Council of the European Union has drawn a migration policy relating to integration of foreign nationals. As a result, more and more foreigners are migrating to European countries as nationals from Third World countries have been granted the right to residency(Bonifazi, 2008). Migration Trends: The case of Austria and Germany Among the countries in Central Europe, Austria and Germany are noted to be on top of the list considering migration statistic. Following the fall of the Berlin wall, both Austria and Germany recorded high rates of positive net migration.

Among the factors that affected the transformation of migration, both in size and direction, in these two countries include economic transition, political changes and ethnic conflicts. In Austria, during the 19th century, migration was caused by social change forces such as urbanization, proletarization and industrialization. Labor force mostly composed of migrant workers flooded Austria from late 19th century to early 20th century. However, “residency rights” for foreign migrant workers was not yet realized.

Residency rights was tied to citizen’s municipality birth thus those who were not granted of this right would be expelled from the country. Such situation limits international migration in Austria in the early 20th century. In terms of emigration, Austria experienced drastic immigration during the same period as Viennese tend to emigrate to Germany, Italy, Switzerland and to the American continent. During the World War I, Austria became a host county for 310,000 “non-German” refugees thus migration trend shifted from labor to asylum.

Between 1919 and 1937, approximately 80,000 Austrians migrated to Palestine, Soviet Union and Germany. At the end of World War II, around 1. 4 million foreigners composed of slave laborers, war refugees, prisoners of wars, foreign workers and ethnic Germans from Eastern European countries migrated to Austria. While prisoners of wars and civilian foreigners were repatriated to their countries, approximately 500,000 displaced persons permanently settled in Austria. After the World War II, when Austria had experienced economic development, the country opened its industries to millions of laborers around the world.

Thus, during the late 1900s, Austria became a resident place for migrant workers and their families as regularization of employment status were granted both on legally and illegally employed foreigners. As a result, the number of foreign citizens in the country grew from 344,000 in 1988 to 690,000 in 1993 (Jandl and Kraler, 2003). Yet, the following years after 1990, Austria begun to limit immigration activities by implementing different migration policies. In 1990, the government imposed a quota system for foreign employees.

During the first year of its implementation, the quota was set to 10 percent; however in 1994, after country’s accession to the European Economic Area, the quota was reduced to 9 percent. In 1992, the Alien Act was implemented regulating the entry and residency of foreigners regardless of their reason for migration. In 1993, the Residence Act was drawn which established contingents for residence permits of migrants. However, in 1997 these acts were merged into single law known as a Alien Act which offers foreign integration before immigration.

Another act, the Naturalization Act, was passed in 1998 whereas a migrant foreigner may acquire citizenship after a period of 15 years provided that he succeeded a good integration. Since then, Austria’s immigration policy has been characterized “by ambivalence, a mood manifested in measures that both welcome and restrict immigration” (Jandl and Kraler, 2003). This trend in Austrian migration activity explains the result of the country’s migration statistic as presented below. Net Migration (per 1000 population) 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 Austria7.

69. 99. 14. 20. 40. 30. 50. 21. 12. 52. 22. 2– Germany16. 37. 59. 65. 73. 94. 93. 41. 10. 62. 523. 32. 7-*Data obtained from OECD factbook 2005, p. 19. Germany, on the other hand, was perceived as an emigration country during the 19th century. Many workers, particularly from Poland, have found jobs in mining and steelworks sector of German industry. During the World War II, millions of foreign workers were forced to work in the heavy manufacturing sector of Germany. After the World War II, German’s immigration history was characterized by ethnic inflows and reunification.

Between 1945 and 1949, approximately 12 million refugees sought asylum to Germany. Refugees are either German nationals or ethnic Germans from Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland. Their integration was immediately settled because of their ethnic origin. Meanwhile, between 1945 and 1961, approximately 3. 8 million Germans migrated from East Germany to West Germany. However, due to the construction of the Berlin Wall, this migration flow was lessened, thus recording around 400,000 human movement between 1961 to 1988.

At the end of 1980s, the immigration of ethnic Germans known as Aussiedler from eastern Europe had dramatically increased, whereas between 1950 and 1987 there are about 1. 4 million Aussiedler from Poland, Romania and Soviet Union who moved to West Germany. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, travel restrictions to Germany ended which resulted to the reunification of additional three million ethnic Germans between 1988 and 2003. Numbers of arrivals max out nearly half million in 1990. Meanwhile, following such peak, German government begun to take initial measures to moderate the returns by establishing a quota system.

From 1993 to 1999, the quota of ethnic German returns was set at 225,000 people per year and was later reduced to 103,000. Between 2000 and 2001, returns were reduced to roughly 100,000 people per year and in 2003, it was at only 73,000 people per year. The remaining ethnic Germans must first prove that they are experiencing discrimination due to their race in order to immigrate to Germany (Oezcan, 2004). This trend explains the migration statistic of Germany as presented in the table above. Meanwhile, migration of non-German citizens started in the mid-1950.

Due to economic recovery, Germans experienced labor shortage thus the government signed a series of bilateral recruitment agreements with Italy (1955), Greece (1960), Spain (1960) Turkey (1961), Portugal (1964) and Yugoslavia in 1968. From then, the population of the guest workers in Germany begun to flock in the country. In 1960, migrant foreigners totaled to almost 686,000 which is equivalent to 1. 2 percent of the German population. Until 1973, foreigners contributed to the increasing German population, particularly to the country’s labor force.

In 2003, the number of legally resident foreigners reached to approximately 7. 3 million or 8. 9 percent of German population. With regard to migration policy the country imposed a bill known as the new citizenship law. In addition, Germany also introduced a “green card system” particularly for highly qualified information technology experts. The unrestricted migration policy in Germany caused illegal immigration yet the government is still on its way of attracting qualified workers to satisfy their demands in the labor market (Oezcan, 2004).

Conclusion Although the migration trend in Germany and Austria is quite similar when it comes to historical origins, the two countries have different cases that contribute to the cause of increasing and decreasing migration. The Austria migration trend is characterized as open-close-and-slightly-open. During wars, the country welcomes refugees and guest workers. After the period of recovery, Austria started to implement migration policy to restrict international immigration and emigration.

Presently, the country has again opened its door to immigrants yet with few restrictions based on the migration policies being implemented in the country. On the other hand, Germany’s migration history started during the World War II whereas thousands of emigrants from nearby countries flocked in Germany to acquire jobs. Another important consideration in the history of German migration is that unlike Austria, German migration was mostly brought by ethnic German inflows and re-unification.

Presently, while Austria is looking for ways that would help them reduce the numbers of international migration, Germany is still encouraging foreigners to work in their country by offering automatic citizenship or green card to highly qualified workers. References Adler, L. L. (2003). Migration: Immigration and emigration in international perspective. Westport, Conn. [u. a. ]: Praeger. Bonifazi, C. (2008). International migration in Europe: New trends and new methods of analysis. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Jandl, M. and Kraler, A. (2003). Austria: A country of immigration? Migration Information Source.

Retrieved June 29, 2009, from http://www. migrationinformation. com/Profiles/display. cfm? ID=105. Oezcan, V. (2004). Germany: immigration in Transition. Migration Information Source. Retrieved June 29, 2009, from http://www. migrationinformation. org/Profiles/display. cfm? id=235 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD]. (2004). Trends in international migration: Annual report. OECD. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD]. (2005). OECD Factbook, 2005: Economic, environmental and social statistics. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

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