Speakers at a session on “The age of great immigrations” held as part of the sixth Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade” yesterday made a call to explore immediate ways to check uncontrolled immigration from certain parts of the world, notably in North Africa, to some European countries, especially France.
Initiating discussions, Yazid Sabeg, chgairman and general director of communications and systems `in France suggested imparting education among younger generation of immigrants about the problems a migrant likely to encounter in new situations, encourage the development of countries from where emigrants come from and thus trying to reduce the immigration to the maximum, if not to the “zero” level, as he called.
He also recalled some recent disturbances in France over the issue of immigrants and felt that most of them were because of severe cultural differences between the natives and immigrants. He attributed the happenings to the slight demographic changes emerged in the population in recent times. “While the population of Europeans showed a decline, there was a slight growth in the population of migrants in recent years,” said Sabeg. However, the speaker said that everyone living in France has a legitimate place in the system in France and migrants were very much assimilated in the society.
Talking later, Herve Le Bras, a demographic specialist from France pointed out similar level of migrations that took place from South American countries to USA but said immigrants interests were somewhat well protected in USA.
While pointing out the positive aspects of immigration to Europe, Bras said as much as $167 billion were remitted in 2005 to countries from where emigrants come from, he said. “There was about 50% growth in such remittances in just one year and it has contributed to useful developments in the industrial scenario in those countries that have received the money,” he said. Bras felt such receipts would eventually check the rate of immigration to countries, now favoured by emigrants.
Bras also highlighted the qualitative changes that have witnessed in the migration scenario all over in recent years. “While earlier migrants used to be unskilled workers, now, mostly it’s better-skilled people who migrate,” he pointed out. However, he said such a situation is no solution but only gives way to further problems.
Talking later, Wesley Clark, of USA recalled that while in 1950, there were only 75 million migrants, now the number is risen to 200 million. “While it is a brain drain for the countries of emigrants, it is a brain-gain for those who receive immigrants,” he said.