Seven Migration Myths


Last month Professor Hein de Haas from the University of Oxford and Maastricht University published an insightful article entitled “Human Migration: Myths, Hysteria and Facts”.

These myths include both right- and left-wing conceptualizations:
1. We live in times of unprecedented mass-migration
2. Immigration restrictions reduce the number of immigrants
3. Immigration policies have become more restrictive
4. Development in origin countries will reduce emigration
5. Migration leads to ‘brain drain’
6. Migrants steal jobs and threaten the welfare state
7. Migration can solve the ageing problem

It is worth reading the full article, which disproves these seven commonly held beliefs.

I would also suggest another myth: “Migrants are dangerous and criminals”. A large level of rhetoric implies that “we”, the citizens, should fear migrants. I would argue that this discourse is mainly disseminated by politicians and the media, often without sufficient evidence for such claims. As certain types of migration (such as unauthorised migration or trafficking) is deemed to be illegal, people are criminalized for migrating without permission. However, this does not necessarily mean that migrants are dangerous individuals. Of course some migrants are criminals and involved in criminal and dangerous activities, but let’s not forget that so too are non-migrants or “normal” every-day citizens!

Perhaps the key message of the article by Hein de Haas is that we must examine migration with balance and move away from hysteria, fear, and panic.