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Immigration Reasons, Functions and Problems


This paper highlights the main points of the immigration process. Several immigration reasons including economical, political, religious, and others were identified. There are the primary functions of immigration that explain its purposes both from immigrants and from government sides. The paper reveals accelerative (population development due to the new knowledge and skills), selective (migration leads to a qualitative change in the composition of the population; accordingly, if the area is not attractive for life, the most of young and active population would leave while the proportion of older people would rise sharply), and redistribution (distribution of production capacity; for example, the growth of industrial complexes attracts more immigrants) functions. It was also stated that immigration causes different problems such as health reduction that expresses in unintentional injuries, hypothermia, and heart diseases.

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In the connection with the processes of globalization, the speed and scale of migration flows between countries of the world are increasing at an amazing rate. The latest technological innovations, development of transport infrastructure, and the growing popularity of English and other languages as the language of international communication not only facilitate the connection between inhabitants of different countries but also makes an opportunity for millions of people to leave the former place of residence and find a job or just a place to live in a foreign country. The inequality of development among nations, wars, and catastrophes stimulates people to seek a better life moving to a new location.


Migration is considered not only as a mere mechanical movement of people but also as a complex social process involving plenty of sides of the socio-economic life. It plays an outstanding role in human history associated with processes of colonization, economic development connecting languages and nations. A positive aspect of migration is in the resettlement of people because of a certain size and density of the population are the necessary conditions for the development of each country. Moreover, some states such as the US, Australia, Canada, Israel virtually were created by immigrants (Olney, 2012). In our time, the migration processes in the world are quite intense, although some countries impose restrictions on the entry.

Immigration is a process of incoming to the country for an enduring or impermanent domicile of people from foreign countries. Usually, it is determined by a number of reasons: economical (labor import or entry to countries with more favorable working conditions and higher living standards), military (seizure of foreign lands and their military colonization), and political (the flight from political, national, racial, and religious pursuit) (Gadarian & Albertson, 2014). Immigration of population made a strong impact on the settlement of some countries and the formation of a new population.

Therefore, immigration has a significant impact on population dynamics as its demographic effects caused not only the number of migrants but also the originality of their age and sex structure. For example, there are notable prevalence among young persons, those of the middle age, and males (Amuedo-Dorantes & Puttitanun, 2011). Immigration results in the so-called melting pot consisting of different ethnic groups and nations. The above phenomenon characterizes all the historical periods. A strong influence on the formation of the population of Eurasia had a migration that took place during the last two thousand years, such as the Great Migration in Europe (IV-VII), Migration related to the Arab conquests (VII-VIII).

The Age of Discovery (XV-XVII) initiated the development of a wide intercontinental migration, mainly from Europe to other parts of the world, especially in America and Australia. In the XX century, the pace of migration continues unabated, although some different aspects appear – population movements are associated with the two world wars; resettlement of more than 16 million Persian caused by the partition of British India into two independent states – India and Pakistan. At the same time, a significant migration for economical reasons remains. For instance, due to the second World War contribution to immigration, Western Europe received much labor force (there were nearly 8 million persons, including France – 3.4 million., Germany – 2 million., Switzerland – 1 million. North Africa, Spain, Portugal).


In order to understand the immigration process to the full extent, it seems reasonable to consider the notion of emigration. It is leaving the country with the aim of resettlement to another country for the purpose of permanent or temporary residence, usually for work. The emigration of the population can be fixed (or final) and provisional (or seasonal), a period that is sometimes limited by contract or other conditions of employment (for example, harvesting). Along with the emigration of the population for economical reasons, there is a place for migration from one country to another for political, ethnic, or religious reasons. In the second half of the 20th century the main streams of emigration were leaving from Western Europe to the United States, Canada, Australia, and some other countries (as a rule, it is fixed emigration) and the influx of “cheap” labor from developing countries, particularly, Western Europe (usually, it is temporary emigration).

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The Main Functions of Immigration

Immigration affects social development through the performance of its functions. On the one hand, they appear to be independent of the type of socio-economic system and the characteristics of individual societies. On the other, they depend on the nature of the socio-economic terms of particular societies. The first ones are the general functions of immigration while the second is the specific functions of a particular population. The most common functions include accelerative, selective, and redistribution functions.

An accelerative function is to ensure a certain level of spatial mobility and staff turnover as a means of expanding the number of places of residence for people. In this regard, immigration contributes to a change in the socio-psychological image of migrants expanding their horizons, accumulating knowledge about different areas of life. Moreover, it promotes the exchange of labor skills and experience, the development of personality, social and spiritual needs, and integration of national cultures.

The second function is the redistribution of the population associated with the distribution of productive forces between different areas of the country and in the world. Immigration of population in its redistributive function not only increases the population of certain areas but also indirectly affects the demographic dynamics. The essence of the selective function shows that the immigration of people from different socio-demographic groups leads to a change in the qualitative composition of the population of a particular area. For example, men of working age are involved in a migration more actively than women or disabled people.

Basic features of immigration have some autonomy and, at the same time, are closely linked. The most important of which are economical and social functions. The economical function is to provide a connection between geographically distributed regions by means of the necessary labor power and its functioning in the manufacturing process (Dunaway, Abrajano, & Branton, 2010). The social function of immigration is entirely determined by the production of relationships and contributes to the improvement of living standards and social development.


Immigration generates a set of problems related to health and adaptation to the new conditions, the relationships with the local population. Often, immigration, particularly illegal, causes the spread of infectious diseases. The health problems of migrants are similar to the problems of the rest of the population, although some diseases may have a higher prevalence (Sardadvar, 2015). The most widespread health problems of recently migrated people comprise unintentional injuries, heart diseases, and pregnancy complications related to childbirth, and hypertension. Migrant women often face specific problems, particularly related to motherhood. Immigrants’ risks connected with dislocation include psychosocial disorders, higher infant mortality, eating disorders, reproductive health problems, alcoholism, and violence that increase their vulnerability. The main problem is the interruption of medical care as a result of a lack of access to it.

Another problem of immigration worth paying one’s attention is connected with the local population attitude towards immigrants. It goes without saying that the local population, as most people in the world, is influenced by stereotypes, has formed the image of an immigrant from a particular country. For example, the relationship for Latin American immigrants is strong while stereotypes of Middle Eastern, Asian, and European immigrants are weak (Timberlake, Howell, Grau, & Williams, 2015). However, there is a tendency of a better position to the immigrants in the world.


In conclusion, nowadays we can talk about two main types of migration: external (emigration and immigration) and internal (including urbanization). Migration performs certain functions in society, the most important of them are the redistribution of the population on densely populated territories, economical, and social. The primary reasons for migration remain economic and political issues that, in its turn, are caused by national, religious, environmental, and other reasons. Of course, migration has a negative side as it violates the normal life. However, it is considered that the migratory process appears as a natural growth component of the total increase in the population.

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Thus, migration plays an important role in the life of society, the state, and the world in general.


Gadarian, S., & Albertson, B. (2014). Anxiety, Immigration, and the Search for Information. Political Psychology, 35(2), 133-164.

Olney, W. (2012). Offshoring, Immigration, and the Native Wage Distribution. Canadian Journal of Economics, 45(3), 830-856.

Brief Annotated Bibliography

Amuedo-Dorantes, C., & Puttitanun, T. (2011). Gender Differences In Native Preferences Toward Undocumented And Legal Immigration: Evidence From San Diego. Contemporary Economic Policy, 29(1), 31-45.

In this article, authors state that views about immigration are varying by gender and the legal or undocumented status of the immigrants.

Dunaway, J., Abrajano, M., & Branton, R. (2010). Agenda Setting, Public Opinion, and the Issue of Immigration Reform. Social Science Quarterly,91(2), 359-378.

Authors study the public opinion on immigration as a significant problem facing the country.

Sardadvar, S. (2015). How Migrant Status Affects Health Beyond Socioeconomic Status: Evidence from Austria. International Migration Review, 49(4), 843-877.

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The article reveals the interplay between socioeconomic status and health towards groups in European countries resulting in the fact that particular migrant groups are vulnerable with respect to health.

Timberlake, J., Howell, J., Grau, A., & Williams, R. (2015). Who “ They ” Are Matters: Immigrant Stereotypes and Assessments of the Impact of Immigration. The Sociological Quarterly, 56(2), 267-299.

The article examines the relationship between stereotypes of immigrants and their assessments by the local population comparing immigrants from Middle East, Asia, and Europe with those from Latin America

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