This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Europe Gets Even Less Immigrant Friendly

A report out today from the Associated Press details the various ways in which European nations have been making life ever harder for immigrants (in this case, legal ones) to get a job. The lead is about Italy, which now requires that workers demonstrate a knowledge of the Italian language before they can be issued a work permit.

Some immigrant advocates worry that as harsh economic times make it harder for natives to keep jobs, such measures will become more a vehicle for intolerance than integration. Others say it's only natural that newcomers learn the language of their host nation, seeing it as a condition to ensure they can contribute to society.
So far, Italy is only giving a gentle turn to the screw. Cojochru and other test-takers described the exam as easy. No oral skills were tested.
But the story from Italy is just the tip of the iceberg.
In Austria, terms are tougher. There, where native speakers have been sometimes known to scold immigrant parents for not speaking proper German to their children, foreigners from outside the European Union need to prove they speak basic German within five years of receiving their first residency permit. Failure to do so can bring fines and jeopardize their right to stay.
Since 2005, would-be citizens and permanent residency holders have been asked to prove their command of "Britishness" by answering multiple choice questions, in English, on British history, culture and law, from explaining the meaning behind the fireworks-filled Guy Fawkes Night, to knowing which British courts use a jury system.
Britain's government has pledged to dramatically cut immigration, and the language requirement is effectively a tool to put a cap on the number of newcomers, said Sarah Mulley, an immigration expert at the Institute of Public Policy Research, a London think tank.
Home Secretary Theresa May, who aims to cut immigration to below 100,000 by 2015, said language tests will help weed out those who don't plan to contribute to British life. She has singled out spouses seeking marriage visas to join English-speaking partners as a particular concern.
A major concern in Europe mirrors some of the discussion heard in the United States--a sense among the older native-born population that the culture is slipping away because there are too many foreigners.
In 1990, immigrants numbered some 1.14 million out of Italy's then 56.7 million people, or about 2 percent, according to the state statistics bureau, ISTAT. At the start of this year, foreigners living in Italy amounted to 4.56 million of a total population of 60.6 million, or 7.5 percent, with immigrants' offspring accounting for an ever larger percentage of births in Italy.

No comments:

Post a Comment