By Jeenn Lee Hsieh
>To what extent will migration from the developing world to the developed world become a social and political issue in the 21st century?
Most immigrants move from one country to another for economic reasons. Job opportunities and better incomes are major pulling factors. In this new century, the tide of migration from the developing world to the developed world seems to be rising due in part to globalization. While the phenomenon is considered to be largely beneficial to the host country, migration has grown into a social and political issue worthy of international attention.
Some social changes are inevitable when a country is confronting an increasing number of foreign workers, often from countries of different customs and faiths and living styles. But the social problem that makes news is that local workers are losing jobs to foreigners who are hired at much lower wages. That may cause unemployment rate to be up. This being the case, not everybody is happy about labor imports, despite the fact that foreign workers usually come to fill the gaps in labor shortage. Accordingly, sentiments of discontent are growing in some areas, particularly where illegal immigrants are seeding social unrest. Furthermore, anti-immigrant activists choose to take to the streets, protesting. It is as if a time bomb were about to explode anytime soon.
It can be imagined that an explosive social problem can easily turn into a political issue. At Parliament, for instance, opinions are divided over policies about the wisdom of relaxed immigration policies supposed to benefit many sectors. As a result, new and unfriendly measures are often introduced, making political sense of labor-related problems ranging from social security to housing to medical care. In some extreme cases, illegal immigrates are forced to leave as a drastic measure in tune with political voices.
Every aspect being considered, the picture is different in developing countries that are losing elite and skilled workers to the developed world. This situation is more than a social and political issue. Opportunities and money drive talents away from poor countries, leading to brain drains. Economically, it is an irony that poor countries are helping rich countries.