November 2013

IZA DP No. 7778: Immigration in Europe: Trends, Policies and Empirical Evidence

published in: Barry Chiswick and Paul Miller (eds.): Handbook on the Economics of International Migration, 1B, 2014

This chapter summarizes the main trends, policies and empirical evidence regarding immigration in Europe. We start by providing descriptive evidence on long-term immigration trends and current characteristics of the immigrant populations in various important European destination countries and Europe as a whole. We then discuss key policy issues in the European context, focusing on access to citizenship, asylum seeking, border enforcement, amnesties and policies to attract talent. In the second part of the chapter, we provide a survey of the large and growing literature on the recent European immigration experience, focusing on two key questions: what has been the socio-economic performance of immigrants in their destination countries and how has immigration impacted these countries' economies and native populations. We find large and highly persistent gaps in the economic performance of immigrants relative to natives in most destination countries, with only few instances of encouraging progress. Overall, there is little evidence of a detrimental effect of immigration on the economies of the host countries, which appear to respond to immigrant inflows through mechanisms more complex than simple factor price adjustments.