The criminals in the house of commons passed the UK government’s illegal migration bill last week.
The bill will prevent most migrants who enter the UK by small boats from claiming asylum in the UK. Instead they will be detained and some of them deported to Rwanda to claim asylum there instead. Rwanda agreed to a five year trial of this plan recently.
British courts ruled the Rwanda Plan illegal because it breaches article three of the European Convention on Human Rights (1).
Rwanda’s asylum policy is not as strict as the UKs. There is a higher chance some genuine claims for asylum will result in deportations back to countries of origin.
This means more people will be returned to countries where they risk death, imprisonment or other inhumane treatment.
The UK has not deported any migrants to date because the bill is currently not legal. However the government is appealing this decision.
Relevance to A-level sociology
This material is relevant to the crime and deviance module. It is an example of a state crime, by virtue of the British state going against international human rights.
It is also an example of the limits of globalisation. Here we have a nation state restricting the free movement of people. This is globalisation in reverse.
It is also possible to apply critical victimology to this case study. Asylum seekers are the most vulnerable people on the planet. The government is targeting them by putting in place this barrier.
Note that the government isn’t worried about 150 000 wealthy Chinese students studying in the UK. It is only poor migrants it is seeking to stop.
It is also an example of a government responding to a moral panic generated by the media.
The bill is nominally in response to the thousands of migrants entering the UK in small boats in recent years. Britain actually needs migrants, it is just the media who demonizes them, and here the government responds.
Net migration to the UK reached 600 000 in December 2022, up more than 50% since December 2018.
Since Brexit net migration from the EU has been declining, with around 50 000 more EU Citizens leaving the UK than entering; and the increase in net migration is driven entirely from non-EU countries, especially Nigeria, Bangladesh and India.
Reasons for Migration to the UK
The main reason for the recent increase in migration is more people coming to study in the UK, and much of that is driven by the dependent partners and children of students coming to join them.
After that, work is the main reason, with people coming in the take up jobs in sectors of our labour market where there are vacancies, such as health and social care and seasonal agricultural work.
2022 also saw more humanitarian sources of migration with more than 100 000 refugees come to the UK from the Ukraine and more from Hong Kong.
Immigration is a sensitive political issue, with 60% of the UK population thinking it is too high according to YouGov tracking (2).
However it is also clear that we need immigration to fill gaps in the job market and a lot of the increase from 2021 to 2022 was about doing just that.
Also, very few people believe we took in too few refugees from Ukraine so people are not outright opposed to migration.
Finally, the figures are somewhat skewed by students coming the UK to study for three years, and bringing their dependents…. most of these will return home after study, and while they are here they are paying huge fees to British universities which should benefit the UK economy: they are basically paying to be here!
From a policy perspective, however, such levels of net migration to the UK are the highest on record, which suggests a profound failure of government policy given that every PM since 2010 has been elected on the promise of bringing net migration down, which simply hasn’t happened.
This is the week I unconditionally forgave Gary Lineker for all those awful Walker’s Crisp commercials!
Gary Lineker made a legitimate point about the Tory government’s immigration bill stating that it was an “immeasurably cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s”.
Linker is not a BBC employee, he works freelance in his capacity as Match of the Day host, and he was tweeting his opinion about the government’s proposed Immigration Bill as a private individual rather than in a professional capacity on his personal Twitter account.
And for this Lineker was suspended from presenting Match of the Day by the BBC management.
What the management didn’t expect was that several other football hosts and pundits would come out in solidarity with Gary and refuse to take part in Match of the Day on Saturday and related football shows over the weekend, one result of which was a reduced MOTD of 20 minutes!
By Monday 13th March the BBC had apologised for any misunderstanding and confusion surrounding their social media policy for staff and had agreed to reinstate Lineker to MOTD.
This event highlights several sociological themes:
The migration issue itself – Lineker is right to highlight this issue, and I think that’s what we should be focussing on.
A secondary issue is that it shows the BBC is biased towards right wing views and is prepared to censor left wing criticism on its behalf.
It reminds us of the direct ties between the Tory government and the current head of the Corporation. This whole event was an example of social capital being played out.
It shows us how the media operates to distract us from the really important political issue at hand – we have not been discussing the politics of migration over the weekend, we’ve been discussing Gary Lineker, and his dog!
David Cameron has used the term ‘swarms’ to refer to people coming to Britain, and Theresa May has previously stated that migration to the UK makes it ‘impossible to build a cohesive society’.
The similarity with the 1930s lies in the discussions that were had at the 1938 Evian Conference in the which the UK, USA and other countries discussed the issue of accepting Jews from Germany in response to Nazi policies.
The allies decided not to allow significant numbers of Jews to migrate, with the Austrian minister at that time stating that to do so would be to ‘import Germany’s race problem to the rest of Europe’.
It is this language of othering and the inhumane approach to the plight of refugees fleeing persecution which we see mirrored today in Tory rhetoric against migration.
In reality, migration to Britain is relatively low compared to other countries, and a larger problem may well be the government’s inability to process applications swiftly, which helps create a problem that simply doesn’t have to be a problem.
The current Immigration Bill would automatically ban anyone with a legitimate claim to asylum from coming to the UK if they previously tried to enter illegally. So literally, if there is another genocide somewhere in the world and someone tries to to escape that by coming to Britain illegally and gets caught, there is no way they can ever get back here by formal channels.
And of course the formal channels are very very very narrow!
This video by Jonathan Pie does a nice job of explaining the issue….
The biased BBC
Just to stress this is a minor point, the main issue really is the inhumane immigration bill, but the fact that the BBC decided to ban Lineker from presenting MOTD in attempt to get him to apologies for tweeting facts shows how the BBC is biased in favour of right wing Tory rhetoric.
Note that Alan Sugar, another prominent BBC personality has previously tweeted supporting Brexit and has tweeted against Corbyn, but he faced no sanction.
So here we have it, a straight up example of overt right wing bias from the BBC, a literal attempt to censor the views of someone who is (rightly) stating facts that are anti-government.
Elite media and government networks
As to why this bias this also seems clear. The current Chairman of the BBC has direct links to the Tory party: he previously helped Boris Johnson secure an $800 000 loan and then didn’t declare it when applying for the job, he’s currently under investigation.
And there were a lot of messages of complaint sent by Tory party members about Lineker’s Tweet being in breach of the BBC impartiality rules, which clearly wasn’t the case, but the pressure was enough for the BBC to ban Lineker and get itself into this mess.
While it is heartwarming to see a celebrity come out in favour of vulnerable and his friends come out in solidarity with him, let’s not forget the real issue: we should be waging war against the Tory policy of immigration, the Lineker and BBC fracas is a distraction!
This Tory government is disgusting: they are incompetent, 40 years of Tory policies have driven our economy into the ground, especially Brexit and Liz Truss’ budget, and now they are trying to scapegoat migrants, which is a distraction from their own incompetence.
Unfortunately this Linker episode is in danger of being another layer of distraction away from the migration issue, we need to be careful to remember who the real problem is – the Tory party!
This material is relevant to anyone who cares about people, the issue of globalisation and global development and also media studies.
The plight of migrants coming to the UK in boats has been highlighted this week with the bombing of an immigration centre by a pensioner who then went on to kill himself.
The article above by The Guardian raises the question of why the police aren’t treating this attack as an act of terrorism, as it certainly seems like it is.
For an act to be classed as a terrorist act there needs to be proof that there is political motive behind it, and given that the man drove from Buckinghamshire and seemingly deliberately targeted an immigration centre in Dover, this seems to be a violent statement against migration and against asylum seekers more generally.
This act may yet be classified as terrorist once the police complete a search of the man’s house, but it strikes me that had this been, for example, a person that looked like a Muslim throwing petrol bombs at a church, that would probably be labelled as a terrorist act immediately.
Why such extreme acts against an immigration centre…?
This act is probably a protest against the recent rapid increase in migrants coming to the UK in boats from France.
There is some underlying data that shows this kind of migrant crossing has increased rapidly in recent years…
Over the last two years there really has been a RAPID increase…
10 000 in 2020
30 000 in 2021 (a trebling)
40 000 so far in 2022.
Historically the UK has relatively low asylum applications compared to some other European countries…..
And assuming that all of those people coming to the UK by boat are going to go on and claim asylum, and these are just the people arriving by boat (rather than other means) this probably means the UK is going to see a marked increase in the number of Asylum claims in 2022, bringing it closer to Germany and France for example.
But of course this doesn’t justify violence against Asylum seekers in the form of petrol bombing migration centres.
We have to keep in mind that asylum seekers are themselves victims already – victims of persecution in their own country, victims quite simply of being born on the wrong side of the global divide and they are just trying to escape to a better life.
Such discourse and portrayals of refugees only helps to demonise them and maybe helps to encourage people to engage in violent acts against them, because such rhetoric makes people think they are in the right to act against refugees.
There’s also the fact that it takes so long to process asylum claims that huge numbers of people are waiting to claim asylum and in a state of limbo… still in the statistics because they are not processed. If they were processed faster they could integrate more quickly into Britain, get jobs and there would be no problem!
However in the eyes of many immigrants themselves are a problem of course – racism is still rife in the UK and migrants are a handy scapegoat for our current cost of living crisis – someone to target someone to point to and say ‘no money for them, get rid of them, we can’t afford them’.
A brief Marxist analysis of violence against refugees…
Global capitalism causes global inequalities and conflict which causes crises
Refugees flee various crises caused by Capitalism
Some of them come to Britain
Poor people in Britain who are themselves victims of being on the wrong side of the internal inequalities caused by Capitalism blame the migrants for making their lives worse by taking up more national resources.
Egged on by right wing political opportunists such as Nigel Farage.
Rather what needs to happen is the many victims of the world need to come together and realise they have solidarity and work together to make the world a better place and maybe get rid of the structural inequalities that make the world such an unstable place!
The Bombing of Migration Centres: Final Thoughts…
The number of refugees probably isn’t going to go down in coming years so maybe we need to think more constructively about how refugees and asylum seekers could be useful to us – we do apparently have labour shortages in some sectors of the economy and we are facing an ageing population – most asylum seekers are young men who could help solve both of these social problems if they were just processed through the system more quickly!
Signposting and Relevance to A-Level Sociology
Events such as this bombing are a painful reminder that we are a long way from value consensus in our society, and they are also a reminder that there are many other conflict zones in the world besides Ukraine.
They remind us that Britain is forced to constantly react to global forces outside of its control.
This post examines some of the sociological concepts sociologists have developed to describe the global patterns of migration
Globalisation is the idea that barriers between societies are disappearing and people are becoming increasingly interconnected across national boundaries.
Globalisation is the result of many processes including the growth of communication systems and global media, the creation of global markets, the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the expansion of the European Union.
Many see globalisation as producing rapid social changes. One such change is increased international migration – the movement of people across borders. We can identify several trends in global migration.
There has been a speeding up of the rate of migration. For example according to the United Nations between 2000 and 2013 international migration increase by 33%, to reach 232 million, or 3.2% of the world’s population. In the same year, almost a million people either entered or left the UK.
There are many types of migrant. These include permanent settlers, temporary workers, spouses or forced migrants such as refugees. Before the 1990s immigration to the UK came from a narrow range of former British colonies and these migrants tended to form a small number of stable, geographically concentrated and homogeneous ethnic communities.
However, since the 1990s globalisation has led to what Steven Vertovec (2007) has called super-diversity: even within a single ethnic group individuals may differ in terms of their legal status, culture or religion and be widely dispersed throughout the UK.
There are also class differences among migrants. Robin Cohen (2006) distinguishes three types of migrant:
Citizens-with full citizenship rights such as voting rights
Denizens– who are privileged people welcomed by the state – such as billionaire ‘oligarchs’ or highly paid employees of Transnational companies
Helots– the most exploited group – states and employers regard them as disposable units of labour power, a reserve army of labour. They are found in unskilled, poorly paid work and include illegally trafficked workers and legal workers such as domestic servants.
The Feminisation of migration
Almost half of all global migrants are female and the types of job they do tend to fit patriarchal stereotypes such that there is a global gendered division of labour.
Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Hochschild (2003) observe that care work, domestic work and sex work in the UK is increasingly done by women from poor countries. This is a result of western women increasingly joining the labour force and the failure of the state to provide adequate child care.
The resulting gap has been filled by women from poor countries. For example, 40% of adult care nurses in the UK are migrants and most of these are female.
There is also a global transfer of women’s emotional labour. For example, migrant nannies provide care and affection for their employers’ children at the expense of their own children left behind in their home country.
Migrant women also enter western countries as ‘mail order brides’ and some as the victims of sex-trafficking.
According to Thomas Hylland Eriksen(2007), globalisation has created more diverse migration patters, with back and forth movements of people through networks rather than permanent settlement in another country.
This results in such migrants being less likely to see themselves as belonging to one culture or another and instead they may develop transnational neither/ nor identities and loyalties. The globalised economy means that economic migrants may have more links to other migrants than to their country of origin or the country they are currently settled in. Such migrants are less likely to want to assimilate into the ‘host country’.
Sources used to write the above include information fromRob Webb et al’s AS level Sociology book for the AQA.
The UK citizenship was introduced in 2005 in order to address White Working Class concerns over immigration, at least according to one sociologist….
If immigrants to the UK want to claim British Citizenship, then they need to pass a British Citizenship Test.
The test consists of a number of questions on British history, culture, society and politics. If you’d like to try some test questions the Life in the UK Test 2020 has some examples, and if you answer 25 questions it will even tell you whether you’d pass the test!
It mights seem obvious, from a common sense point of view, why we have such a test: surely it is perfectly reasonable that we require potential future citizens to possess a certain level of knowledge about the country the wish to reside in permanently.
However, from a more critical, sociological perspective it is not at all obvious, especially since the test is such recent invention – having been introduced in only 2005, and since some of the questions do seem a little trivial, and don’t necessarily have much to do with ‘Britishness’ at all.
In a recent Thinking Allowed podcast, David Bartram, currently at the University of Leicester, discusses why we have a citizenship test, and what the consequences of it are for the people who take it, among other questions.
What prompted the introduction of this test?.
Bartram notes that there was an increasing interest in the concept of Citizenship in Late 1990s under the Blaire government, but it wasn’t until 2002 that an Act of Parliament was passed, making it a formal requirement for anyone seeking naturalisation in the UK to sit and pass a formal test.
Bartram suggests that the test was introduced as a response to unrest in northern cities in early 2000. The media cast the so call Northern riots, in towns such as Bradford and Oldham in ethnic terms, focussing on mainly Asian Youths being out of control, and being out of control and separate from the rest of ‘us’.
Rather than blaming the native white working class community for these ‘riots’ the media blamed immigrants for failing to integrate properly, and something had to be done to address this situation.
Thus the introduction of the citizenship test, which people first started taking in 2005.
Crucially, Bartram notes that the test was primarily introduced and directed towards an audience of white British natives. It was the government’s way of addressing concerns over immigration, rather than in terms of the positive outcomes for the people who took it.
Some problems with the UK Citizenship Test
The very act of imposing a requirement for a test suggests that those who must take it (i.e. anyone seeking to claim British citizenship) doesn’t initially know enough about the British way of life, it has an immediate stigmatising effect.
Originally the test had some useful questions to help candidates nagivate their way around some of the complexities of life in the uk, but overtime it deteriorated into more and more factoids – such as ‘what year did Richard 3rd die’ – just exactly how knowing the answer is 1485 is supposed to make you a better British citizen is unclear.
The test seems to have a negative impact on Participation in British Life
Bartram uses survey data to demonstrate that those people who have taken the test and passed it have lower levels of participation in British social and political life compared to similar people who had not taken the test.
Participation here is measured by such things as how likely someone is to do voluntary work, among other indicators.
Why is this?
The problem is possible in the nature of the questions about politics – they are about knowing the rules of the game, about obedience, not about rights or political activism, which suggests to the people who take it that just obeying the law is enough to be a British citizen, rather than actively taking part in voluntary or political action.
Relevance to A-level sociology.
This material can be used to criticise the Functionalist view of society consisting of shared values, clearly integration is a problem, and the solution to it isn’t helping.
What happens to those many thousands of migrants who make it across the Mexican U.S. border, but are later sent back to their countries of origins?
This is the topic which Jeremy Slack, Professor of Geography at the University of Texas, addresses in a recent book: Deported to Death : How Drug Violence is Changing Migration on the US-Mexican Border.
This is a book about people how are out of place, about people trying to claim asylum or people who have been deported – the book aims to humanize these people and get into the experience of what its like for them.
The book uses in-depth qualitative research methods to find out ‘what happens next’ once mexicans have been deported, with Slack using in-depth interviews and hanging-out in places such as Migrant shelters on the Mexican side of the borders.
Slack found that one third of people he interviewed regarded the US as their home. Many of them had put down roots in the US – they had homes, young children, no close contacts in Mexico, and no understanding of the Mexican system, some had been living and working in the U.S. for over a decade.
These people are really victims of a hostile immigration environment in the U.S. Ever since Trump declared a national emergency back in 2019, authorities in the Southern States have ramped up their efforts to deport people.
The number one federal crime for being deported is now ‘immigration offenses’ itself (which doesn’t have to be illegal, or dealt with harshly), the second major reason for deportation is traffic violations – people get caught speeding, for example, the authorities realize they are illegal and they end up in a detention center and deported.
Once they’ve been deported, deportees enter a sort of ‘Grey Zone’ – they’re in Limbo, as they are regarded as criminals by the Mexican authorities while they try to challenge their deportation and gain the legal right to stay in the United States, which, following the introduction of the Orwellian named ‘Migrant Protection Program’ now has to be done from Mexico, rather than them staying in the States.
It seems like the chances of being granted legal access are slim – They don’t get access to third party rights A third of people interviewed didn’t have access to asylum, no lawyer if you can’t pay.
Some Mexican deportees from the United States become the targets of extreme drug related violence upon their return to Mexico.
Other migrants are subject to kidnappings by the police, with 7% reporting that they’ve been held against their will and subject to forced labour and torture.
Globlisation has undermined the capacity of governments to govern on behalf of their citizens, because governments have generally preferred to do the bidding of Transnational Corporations. This means most countries now have a reduced welfare state, they are able to do less for their citizens. This results in anti-immigration attitudes and policies
Globalisation has undermined the capacity of governments to govern on behalf of their citizens, because governments have generally preferred to do the bidding of Transnational Corporations. This means most countries now have a reduced welfare state, they are able to do less for their citizens.
This in turn has led to citizens demanding that governments tighten border controls to keep other people out, so the declining resources don’t have to be shared with more people.
This is the view of Nira Yuval Davis, Director of the research center on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London, expressed in a recent episode of Thinking Allowed on Borders, which aired January 2020.
Davis starts off by pointing out that in the age of Imperialism, border regions were seen as fluid and shifting territories rather than fixed, which makes sense because imperial powers were always looking to expand their borders! The nation state gave birth to a concept of ‘homeland’ which went along with this ‘solidfying’ of borders.
She suggests that with globalisation the idea of borders became less important, with there being a dream of a border less world and global citizenship rights. However, this has never happened: there has always been global inequalities based on which country one originates from.
Governments have found it more and more difficult to govern on behalf of their citizens, but have become increasingly likely to negotiate with transnational corporations, doing the bidding of the international companies rather than acting on behalf of their own citizens.
This has led to a recent process of ‘rebordering’ – as governments can’t control Transnational corporations or the global economy, they shore up their borders to control people-flows, to ensure citizens that they have some measure of control over something!
The demand for governments to ‘defend the borders against foreigners came from below, from ordinary people. This was because neoliberalisation resulted in a shrinking of the welfare state, and hence a demand to limit the benefits to just those who ‘belong’.
As a result of the above borders have spread out both internally and externally:
Externally = when someone from India wants to come to the UK, they have their application processed in a UK office in India
Internally – with raids on employment offices to crack down on illegal immigrants.
Citizens as informal border guards
This section has interesting links to globalisatsion and the social control aspect of crime and deviance
There is now an increased expectation on citizens to be informal, unpaid, untrained border guards and keep an eye on ‘who really belongs’!
NB it’s very interesting to think about this in the context of Brexit!
In recent decades the government has passed legislation that requires certain types of UK citizen to inform on people they think might be illegal immigrants – lorry drivers for example can be fined over £10K for bringing in illegals, and so are required to check their loads and get people off them before coming into the UK, and landlords are now required to inform the home office if they think illegals are renting from them, or face a fine of several thousands of pounds.
Negative consequences of tightening bordering controls
This requirement of informal policing has led to negative consequences – there has been at least one case of a restaurant being raided, illegals found, a huge fine imposed, and the restaurants reputation ruined, while the immigrants were later released.
And landlords are now discriminating by not renting to people who haven’t been born in the UK.
The irony/ paradox of this is that neoliberalisation requires the free-er movement of people for it to work, so there may even be a longer term economic consequence!
It’s seventy years since the Empire Windrush arrived in Britain, carrying hundreds of West Indian immigrants, and the event has come to symbolize the start of the first wave Commonwealth migration to the United Kingdom.
How did it all start?
The Empire Windrush was a troopship, commandeered from the Germans at the end of WW2. In mid 1948 it was carrying home a number of British servicemen from Australia via Mexico and various stops in the Caribbean. It stopped at Jamaica to fetch West Indian Servicemen home from leave when the Captiain, realising he had a lot of empty births, put an advert in a local paper offering passage to Britain for half the usual price.
When the Windrush docked at Tillbury in Essex on 21st June 1948, there were 1027 passengers on board, 802 of them from the Caribbean, mostly Jamaica, and about half of these were migrants, 492 being the figure which is usually cited. Many of these were ex-RAF servicemen who had been stationed in Britain during the war, who came to take advantage of the better work and employment opportunities in the U.K.
A mixed reception in the U.K.
The Windrush wasn’t the first ship to bring numbers of Caribbean migrants to the U.K, the Ormonde and Almanzora had arrived the previous year carrying smaller numbers), and there were also already settled communities of West Indians and Indians in Britain’s larger port cities, but this was an unprecedented ‘one-off’ influx of non-white immigration in terms of scale.
The press appeared very welcoming, with headlines such as ‘Welcome home to the sons of Empire’ (The London Evening Standard) and ‘Cheers for the men of Jamaica’ (The Daily Mail), with reportage focusing on the positive contribution Caribbean immigrants were making to help build postwar Britain, which seems fair enough given that a high proportion were skilled tradesmen with highly marketable employment skills.
However, Clement Attlee’s government was thrown into something of a panic: and officials even examined the possibility of turning the ship back! There were letters of opposition to allowing the ship to dock, but Attlee defended the decision and the principle that colonial subjects of whatever race or colour should be freely admissible to the United Kingdom’.
The reality on the ground wasn’t especially welcoming:
Sam King, who was later to become the first black mayor of Southwark, foud that he was longer treated with the same respect that he received while serving in the R.A.F. during the war: ‘What you come back here for?’ The War’s over.’ He remembered.
Migrants also found housing and employment barred to them: ‘They tell you it is the mother country, you’re all welcome, you all British…[but] when you come here, you realise you’re a foreigner and that’s all there is to it.
Where did the Migrants settle?
Mainly around Clapham and Brixton, which have since become centers of black British culture.
What is the legacy of the Windrush?
The ‘Windrush Generation’ has become synonymous with the ‘first wave’ of Commonwealth migration to the U.K, but it has only been celebrated since the 50th anniversary when it became a widely recognized symbol of multicultural Britain.
Last year Japan’s population declined by 300, 000, to 126 million, and and its population is predicted to decline to 87 million by 2040.
Japan also has an ‘ageing population’ – it is already one of the world’s oldest nations, which a median age of 46, and its predicted that by 2040 there will be three senior citizens for every child under 15, the opposite of the situation in 1975.
This is an interesting case study relevant to the ‘ageing population‘ topic within A-level sociology’s families and household’s option (AQA 7192/2).
Why is this happening?
Excluding Monaco, Japan has the highest life expectancy of any country in the world – 83.7, and a very low fertility rate of 1.45. However, these figures are not too dissimilar from some European countries, so what really explains Japan’s declining population is it low immigration rate – only 1.8% of Japanese are foreign, compared to 8.6% in the UK for example!
What will the consequences be:
Nicholas Eberstadt argues that we already seeing some of the consequences:
Labour shortages, especially in care work, hospitality, construction and agriculture.
400 school closures a year.
The emergence of ‘ghost towns’ as the population decreases
Increased burden on elderly welfare – by 2060 36% of its population will be 65 or older.
Eberstadt suggests that Japan’s future has only been imagined in Science Fiction (perhaps Kim Stanley Robinson can offer some help?).
Why is the Fertility Rate so Low?
It’s basically a combination of two factors:
Economic problems – 50% of the population are in precarious jobs, and economic insecurity is a key reason for not having children. Also, if couples were in a position to have children childcare is too expensive for both partners to remain in work, so this may scupper the desires of even those in permanent jobs!
Traditional gender values remain intact – Japan is the 114th most gender unequal country in the world – traditional and patriarchal values remain in-tact – women don’t want children out of wedlock or with men with no economic prospects – which is about half of all men in Japan!
Why is Migration so Low?
Japan is geographically remote and culturally homogeneous. Japan has long discouraged immigration – they see it as a threat to Japans’s culture and low crime rate – in fact they point to migration across Europe as an example of its negative impacts.
How is the government going to tackle the crisis?
There are a range of measures…
Government sponsored ‘speed dating’ services.
By providing longer maternity leave and childcare
To offset the shrinking labour force through a ‘robot revolution’.
Is there an Upside?
Well, there’s more land per head, and because Japan is the first to transition into what will likely become a global trend, it’s an opportunity for it to become a world leader in technologies that can assist an ageing population.