Migration policy – What it is, definition and concept

The migration policy of a country refers to the set of laws, regulations, policies and decisions that the Government of a State makes regarding immigrants residing in that country.

Migration policy is part of the set of policies carried out by a State. Migration is one more, and refers, in general, to the set of decisions that a certain government makes in relation to foreigners who live in the country or who intend to do so in the future.

But, in the same way, we are not only talking about policies focused on immigration, but they also have to do with emigrants and with internal movements that occur in the same country. In fact, there are some countries where freedom of movement and residence are quite limited for their own citizens.

These policies can be either very harsh and restrictive or, on the contrary, quite lax. This depends on numerous factors, such as the type of regime that is established in the country; the labor needs of the host market; the ruling party; the crime rate; or the culture and character of its population.

Types of immigration policy

Migration policies, in general, can be classified into two broad types: open or restrictive:

  • Open: These are typical of countries whose legislation on foreigners is very lax and permissive. They tend to be more typical of democracies in autocratic countries. They are also very present when the host country has labor needs in its labor market. If the ruling party is more open to immigration, generally the conditions for them to enter will be lower. It also helps that the local population is open and tolerant, as is generally the Latin or that of some European countries.
  • Restrictive: They are opposed to those described above. Restrictive immigration policies impose strong conditions on people who live in a country other than their own. Dictatorships often impose strong requirements, even for the emigration of their own inhabitants, as is the case in countries such as Cuba or North Korea. If the country’s labor market does not need external workers, it will also be more difficult to emigrate to another country for work reasons. Contrary to the previous case, if the ruling party has a very aggressive discourse against immigrants, it will be more difficult to enter or obtain nationality. The same happens with the citizens themselves, if it is not an open society, the stay in the foreign country can become quite complicated.
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Objectives of migration policy

Policy development in this area generally has the following objectives:

  • Establish the requirements and conditions in which foreigners enter the national territory.
  • Develop measures that favor the integration of immigrants.
  • Establish agreements and conventions between companies and countries to acquire workers.
  • Develop the necessary conditions to acquire nationality.
  • Limit the entry of potential criminals, such as terrorists.

Migration policy of Mexico

When talking about the migration policy of a country, it can be done by exposing specific measures or trends or directions in which you want to go. According to the website of the Government of Mexico, the country shapes its immigration policy through three directions:

  • Policy Directorate for the Protection and Integration of Migrants: This seeks to develop plans and programs that help the protection and integration of migrants.
  • Policy Directorate for Migration Regulation and Control: It is the one that dictates the requirements and needs of Mexican migration.
  • Directorate of International and Interinstitutional Relations: Its function is to participate in national and international meetings and publicize the migration agenda of Mexico.

Migration policy of the European Union

Although each country takes its own measures regarding migration, the European Union also proposes general guidelines that its members must follow. This is because the Union involves integration on many levels, such as the economy with the market and the common currency, or collaboration for common security and defense.

The main lines of action of the EU are the following:

  • Legal migration: Demands the creation of a framework for legal migration, such as training, integration, work or family reunification.
  • Irregular migration and return: It is demanded to create a coordinated action to fight against the networks of illegal migrant smuggling and to manage the crisis in the Mediterranean.
  • Control at external borders: The EU helps its members in areas such as sea rescue or external border control.
  • Asylum: The EU created the SECA to help asylum seekers due to the refugee crisis.
  • International cooperation on migration: The Union, to improve its response to migration, collaborates with other countries outside it.
  • Schengen area: There are no borders between member countries, which facilitates mobility for both leisure and work reasons.
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