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TLC Final Report, December 1999, Summary
SUMMARY OF POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
There is an increasing convergence of migration issues to be addresses by western States, and an increasing convergence of solutions adopted. Governments should continue to strive to harmonize immigration policies within Europe and across the Atlantic. Greater transparency in immigration policy will ensure greater consistency and credibility. Harmonization in collection of data about immigrants, using agreed upon definitions, will facilitate transparency and consistency.
Recommendations regarding admission policies include:
Family Reunification. Governments should give priority to the reunification of nuclear families without setting specific numerical limits/quotas on these admissions. Eligibility should extend to the nuclear families of citizens and legal immigrants alike. Family reunification of minor children should take place as quickly as possible.
Asylum. Continued adherence to the principles of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees should be the cornerstone of refugee policy. European and North American governments should seek further harmonization of the substantive criteria for asylum. To protect bonafide refugees while deterring abuse of the asylum system, governments should:
Others in Need of Protection. Harmonization of temporary protection policies during mass influxes is a high priority for policy makers in Europe and North America. Harmonization should include the following elements:
Governments should develop mechanisms through which the financial costs of providing temporary protection are shared. In addition, the credibility of temporary protection requires concerted efforts to repatriate those granted this status as soon as conditions in the country of origin permit safe and orderly return. Provisions should be made, however, for alternate solutions (permanent settlement in the host country or resettlement in a third country) if conditions preventing repatriation prevail for more than a determined period (e.g., five to seven years).
High-Skilled Migration. Policies regulating admission of high skilled immigrants should provide incentives to foreign students and workers to invest in their home countries. For example, foreign workers from developing countries should be able to take assignments in their home country without jeopardizing the ability to return to their new country. Governments must enhance the benefits of high skilled migration for both countries of origin and destination. In addition, admission policies should balance the interest of business in having access to a global labor market and the interest of domestic workers in gaining protection against unfair competition from foreign workers.
Lesser-Skilled Migration. Seasonal worker programs should be implemented only under certain conditions:
A credible immigration policy necessitates controls over entry. The control mechanisms must be consistent, however, with the values embraced by liberal democracies.
Visa and Border Control Policies. Governments should continue to give priority to visa and border control policies that facilitate legal admissions while deterring unauthorized entry. Policies needed to help ensure that visa requirements and border control balance the twin goals of facilitation and control include:
Anti-smuggling/Anti-trafficking Activities. There is urgent need for enhanced cooperation of European and North American governments in combating alien smuggling and trafficking.
Detention Policies. Governments should seek to harmonize administrative detention policies. Harmonization could include the following components: 1) prioritization of those to be detained, with top priority given to detaining those who are a threat to public safety, recidivists who have demonstrated that they are likely to abscond if released, and persons who have already been ordered deported and can be removed within a reasonably short time; and 2) imposition of reasonable time limits on detention.
RELATIONS WITH SENDING COUNTRIES
Governments should continue to foster bilateral and multilateral cooperation on the management of international migration. Because of the complex factors within both source and destination countries that motivate and sustain migration, cooperation in the management of international migration makes a great deal of sense.
Migration, Trade and Development. Governments should link trade and migration discussions explicitly, recognizing that closer cooperation on economic issues can also lay the basis for cooperation on migration. They should also use closer economic integration to create forums to discuss migration issues. Governments should target efforts to reduce emigration from particular geographic areas within source countries.
Governments should seek to maximize the development payoff of remittances and migrant returns, for example, by fostering investments in projects that will create jobs and make migration unnecessary.
Managing Shared Land Borders. Managing migration across shared land borders must facilitate legal crossings (that is, for trade, investment, tourism, family visits and consumer activities) while deterring unauthorized entry. A number of practices can help facilitate legal and prevent unauthorized entries across shared borders:
Neighboring countries should institute regular consultations involving all levels of government as well as the private sector in border communities to discuss ways to foster cooperation and to make explicit any linkages between trade, aid, and migration.
ECONOMIC, CIVIC AND SOCIAL INTEGRATION
There is urgent need for North American and European countries to take action to address barriers to full economic, social and civic incorporation of legal immigrants residing in their communities. Although other barriers to full integration exist, discrimination against foreigners remains a major problem that must be addressed.
Economic Integration. Governments and the private sector should take immediate action to improve the economic integration of immigrants in Europe and North America. The following strategies help immigrants overcome the barriers to economic integration. Examples of such approaches can be found on both sides of the Atlantic, attesting to their broad applicability.
Civic Incorporation. European and North American countries should take immediate steps to encourage naturalization by:
Social and Community Relations. National authorities should work closely with local communities to facilitate the social integration of immigrants and to reduce community tensions that may arise. Strategies used on both sides of the Atlantic to improve community relations include:
Exchange of Best Integration Practices. Governments should expand opportunities to share their experiences in facilitating the economic, civic and social integration of immigrants.