Increasing migration diversity requires a new policy agenda

Migration patterns in Western European countries have changed fundamentally. Increasing diversity by origin and in length of stay affect social cohesion at the local level and require a novel policy agenda. In its newly published book ‘Migration diversity and social cohesion: reassessing the Dutch policy agenda’, the WRR provides empirical evidence that increasing diversity affects social cohesion and shows policymakers which initiatives work when responding to the increasing diversity in cities, towns and neighbourhoods.

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Image: ©WRR

Fourfold increase in diversity

The Netherlands, on which this book mainly focuses, has become a dynamic migration society in which people from all parts of the world live side by side. The numbers arriving here continue to increase and there is also greater transience as more and more migrants leave again after staying only temporarily. Increasing diversity in the Netherlands takes four main forms:

  1. Greater diversity by origin: Most immigrants to the Netherlands in the last century came from neighbouring countries, from former Dutch colonies, from Morocco or from Turkey. Since the end of the Cold War, however, they have been arriving from all parts of the world.
  2. Greater diversity by length of stay: More and more immigrants are now just ‘passing through’ the Netherlands. This is another clear change from what we were once used to. Dutch society appears to be increasingly one of ‘transient’ migration.
  3. Greater diversity by motivation and status: There is also now much greater variety in terms of people’s reasons form migrating and their socio-economic status.
  4. More geographical diversity: Today’s newcomers are not distributed evenly across the country.

Strategic direction and actionable advice

In recent times, policymakers have grappled with ways of responding to this increase, which has resulted in a plethora of policy initiatives, some more effective than others. This book offers both a sense of strategic direction as well as more specific, actionable advice. It brings together a mixture of policy areas that touch upon issues of diversity, immigration policy, education, and labour policy.

The WRR pleads that there should be appropriate reception and civic integration facilities for all new arrivals, be they highly skilled professionals, asylum seekers, family migrants or people moving freely within the European Union. Local authorities have a key role to play in this respect, but need support in doing so.

The book ‘Migration diversity and social cohesion: reassessing the Dutch policy agenda’ can be downloaded free of charge (as an ebook) or can be ordered as a deluxe hardcover book via the Springer website.

Springer Book Series: Research for Policy

In this series, we publish internationally relevant studies of the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy. Many of the cross-cutting issues that affect Dutch policymaking, also challenge other Western countries or international bodies. By publishing these studies in this international open access scientific series, we hope that our analyses and insights can contribute to the policy debate in other countries.

More information about the Springer Series can be obtained here.