In Europe, globalisation has contributed enormously to the increased number of people relocating abroad. In the early 2000’s some estimations placed the number of people living abroad at about 170 million. Today this number has skyrocketed to a staggering 260 million. The promise of a better future and greater opportunities is undoubtedly one of the key factors that contributed to this radical increase in migration.
The media present this increased level of migration generally in a sensational way and predominantly focuses on people migrating as a result of poor living conditions in their own countries, i.e. people fleeing Syria as a result of the continuing war there. This undoubtedly has changed the perception people have of migration, especially in the EU.
Contrary to the views in the media, the interactive map above focuses on people “on the move” and who are classified as “highly skilled”. The first section of the map is about the number of people living abroad, categorised by their skill level. In the pop-up boxes that appear whenever you click on a country, you can see the percentage of low, medium, and highly skilled workers who have relocated to that particular country.
The graph below the interactive map shows in more detail where highly skilled staff originate from and shows the percentages who were born in the country, how many have relocated there from another EU state, and how many have migrated from a non-EU country. This is interesting as it clearly shows the “friendliness” EU member states have towards skilled non-EU migrants, which can be perceived as an indicator of the level of open-mindedness in that country.
The third and final section focuses on Switzerland, a country generally associated with migration mainly for their income tax rates, which vary from canton to canton and are generally very favourable. Switzerland is currently very interested in attracting skilled migrants from all over the world, and the final section offers some clear insights on migration to Switzerland, like the possibility of staying for longer periods of time than three months if you’re a EU citizen just by filling in a registration form and applying for residence permits.
Based on insights from the European Commission, this map shows trends such as Poland welcoming a higher proportion of highly skilled migrants than the UK, but, in terms of numbers, the UK is still the most attractive relocation destination for highly skilled migrants. However, when you look at the total number of migrants, Germany has taken in the most.
The question now is: will the UK lose her status as most favoured destination for highly skilled migrants now Boris Johnson, who favours Brexit, has become Prime Minister of the UK? Will Germany, the second most attractive destination for highly skilled migrants, replace the UK as the perceived “land of opportunities” in Europe?
The data also indicates that politicians have failed to explain the benefits of migration to their respective citizens. Instead of promoting Europe, they have focused on narrow, nationalistic issues and lost sight of the bigger European picture.
The increasingly nationalist attitude in Europe also has had a big impact on the mobility of highly, medium, and low skilled workers. People simply don’t feel welcome anymore and move on to other countries or return to their own countries.
Statistics give us the chance to form opinions based on concrete facts. And that’s, in essence, what this map aims to do, to give a more plausible and comprehensive context to an informed opinion of the migrant situation in Europe.
Nicola Clothier is CEO of Accurity GmbH, an employment service provider which operates in Switzerland. Nicola graduated with Honours in English Literature from Stirling University and has more than 20 years of experience in providing employment services.