Immigration experts want changes to EU immigration laws

Wed, 2006-04-19 07:08 PM

European immigration experts are saying the EU should adopt immigration laws similar to Australia's, New Zealand's and Canada's where selective skilled immigration has been introduced.

The experts told the German newspaper Deutsche Welle, the European Union needs to adopt a new policy on immigration that would "selectively" open borders to deal with the influx of immigrants.

The paper says that many EU politicians believe that the 64 million people from poorer, non-EU countries who have found a home in the EU are sufficient.

Some European countries have immigration policies in place favouring skilled immigrants the opportunity to immigrate. These countries include the UK, Germany and France.

The French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy said, "We do not want to any destitute immigrants (in France), but only those who are especially equipped to contribute in significant and lasting ways to the development of France in the world."

With increased competition from developed countries to snare skilled foreign specialists, human rights and development agencies fear that a "brain drain" will occur in poorer countries.

An aspect of immigration that Europeans fear is immigrants will be taking away jobs from their respective domestic labour force. Ulla Mikota of the federation for third world aid policy of German non-governmental organisations, says the EU should be realistic.

"The threat is not about workplaces, because many illegal immigrants are unable to get work. There are many more illegal immigrants living on benefits than on earnings from work," said Mikota.

"We live in the time of globalisation and the liberalisation of markets and it's quite normal that people move around, not just from poorer nations. Europeans have to learn to see immigration not as a menace but as a chance," said Mikota.