The discussion about free movement has been in the media constantly over the past few years, mainly because of the issue of Brexit. Most reasonable people would agree that there are positives and negatives concerning free movement and I will attempt to discuss these in this post.
Fristly, borders produce violence. more people die crossing borders than ever before. The number of people that have died in the last 25 years attempting to cross the borders into Euraope is estimates to be 34,361. Over 27,000 of these have died at sea making the attempt. Even when they reach land, the danger is not over as there is reported over 500 deaths during the asylum process (in detention centres etc) (data from the List). Last year, more than 5,000 people died in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe. Europe did not help make their journey safe – it made the borders more difficult to cross and forced people to make more dangerous journeys.
“We have no way of knowing the actual number of deaths, but this does show there has been a gradual and very steady increase,” says Thomas Spijkerboer, professor of Migration Law at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. “The major significance of the List is in its signals. It shows that this has been ongoing for 25 years and the people who pretend to be shocked now should have been shocked a long time ago.”
Secondly, immigration has been shown to beneficial to the the country. It allows the country to fill gaps in jobs with skilled workers. A good example of this is the NHS - In total, around 139,000 of the 1.2 million NHS employees are foreign nationals – equating to one in eight (12.5 per cent). (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nhs-foreign-doctors-how-many-reliant-immigration-theresa-may-brexit-explained-visa-a8383306.html). Without these work, hospitals wouldn't be as effective. The NHS isn't the only example of this, migrant workers in agriculture. Labour Force Survey estimates suggest 27,000 people from other EU member states worked in UK agriculture in 2016. A further 116,000 EU nationals worked in the UK's food manufacturing sector. In conclusion, migrants make the country richer.
One of the main arguments against immigration is the cost. When refugees enter another country, the country has an obligation to ensure that they are looked after which means providing shelter, food and basic human needs. This cost is paid by the people in the country. If there is a large amount of people entering the country unexpectedly, such as the Syrian refugees, then this can place a huge burden on the country they enter.
What can't be ignored is the effect on the country that people leave. There is a phrase called 'brain drain' - where highly skilled people leave their country of birth to find a better life, usually with better wages. This then means that thier skill, which might be needed as much as it is needed in the country they're going to, will be left unfilled. This then has a negative effect on thier economy.
The biggest topic of debate about immigration has been caused by the rise of terrorism. There is an idea that because people can move freely that there is more of a risk of terrorism. This comes from the fact that some refugees entering a country are fleeing conflict in their own and in recent times that conflict has begun because of differing beliefs. Populations are concenred that people entering the country with different beliefs to thier own could cause disagreements and more conflict.
In my opinion, I believe that freedom of movement should be dependent on the reason for moving. If people are fleeing war and persecution, they ought to be able to move. However, if it is for economic reasons, I believe they should stay where they are and improve that country so that more people benefit.