Towards a Joint Agenda in Migration Policy: Managing Migration in Germany and the United Kingdom
On February 21, GMF’s Migration and Society Program co-organized a British-German expert roundtable on migration policy, bringing together 30 high-level officials, policy experts, academics, and thought leaders to discuss opportunities and challenges of immigration policy in Germany and the United Kingdom. The event took place at the British Embassy, was funded by the British Foreign Office, and was put together by the Aston Centre for Europe at Aston University, Birmingham. It was kicked off with a reception featuring German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière and the British Home Secretary Theresa May.
Immigration and integration are significant and hotly discussed issues in the public debate in Germany and the U.K. alike. Both countries have large and well-settled immigrant communities and have, despite differing historical contexts, similar challenges of citizenship, integration, and also control of immigration inflows. Germany and the U.K. show a growing convergence of adopted policy responses, albeit with a different focus; whereas the U.K. focuses on stricter controls, further restrictions and caps of immigrants inflows, Germany’s focus is on attracting specific migrant groups to compensate for shortages in the workforce and for the country’s economic benefit, e.g. high-skilled workers. The British and German publics though – as the rise of populist parties shows – are still very sensitive to the issues and both governments are struggling with the fact that the costs of immigration are more easily visible and immediate, whereas the benefits of immigration can only be measured in a longer-term perspective. The round table brought together leading British, German, and European experts on the issue. It was a follow-up to a first successful bilateral policy seminar held in London in March 2013.