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Immigration vocabulary and ideas

This is a selection of immigration vocabulary and ideas with

  • some key words for immigration
  • some common word combinations to show different forms of immigration
  • arguments in favour of immigration
  • arguments against it
  • some possible measures

Get the key immigration vocabulary right

The key words for describing immigration are

immigrant – the person

immigrate – the verb

immigration – the idea

Note the mm. Also note that immigrants (people who enter a country) are also emigrants (people who leave a country) and also migrants.

Some common word combinations

To discuss this topic well, it helps to distinguish between different types of immigration.

illegal immigrants: – people who enter a country illegally

economic migrants: – people who move country to earn more money

migrant workers: – note that migrant can also work as an adjective

immigrant community/population: – this can be used for people who have settled in country for some time

influx of immigrants: – this is usually used in a negative sense meaning that there are too many immigrants

first generation immigrant: – this is either an immigrant or a child on an immigrant [sometimes it is hyphenated as “first-generation”]

Arguments in favour of immigration

There are various arguments in favour of immigration – these mostly relate to the economic benefits immigrants bring to a country. Note that I have added examples to some of these reasons to explain them further.

dynamism: Immigrants provide dynamism which is beneficial to the economy and helps growth and competitiveness. For example, many immigrants set up their own businesses.

unskilled labour: In many countries there is a shortage of unskilled labour and the immigrant population is typically willing to do work that the native population is not. This is particularly the case in agricultural communities where immigrants provide seasonal labour in the harvest season.

skilled labour: A large proportion of young immigrants are highly-qualified university graduates and they work in fields where there is a shortage of skilled labour. 

childcare: Another benefit that immigrants bring is that they often work in childcare or as home helps and this enables more mothers to return to work.

boost the economy: Most research shows that encouraging immigration actually provides a boost to the economy as immigrants are net contributors to the GDP. There is also evidence that they actually claim fewer benefits and pay more tax than the native population.

principle of freedom of movement: There is also the consideration that the principle of freedom of movement is a human right and that people should be allowed to choose where they live.

short-term only: It should also be considered that many younger migrants return home once they have earned enough money and will never claim pensions in their host country.

Arguments against immigration

These arguments are normally based on social consequences of immigration and the impact it has on the native population. There are also arguments (factual or otherwise) that immigrants are bad for the economy.

Also note the range of language to discuss problems (highlighted in red)

integration: The major argument against immigration is that so many migrants fail to integrate with the local community and culture and this leads to social tension and even unrest.

local services and jobs: One common difficulty is that they increase the  pressure on local services and create competition for local jobs and this creates ill-will.

claim benefits/social housing: One reason why people want less immigration is that immigrants do not pay tax and still claim benefits and require social housing that is paid for by taxpayers.

schools: Another serious issue is that in some areas schools do not have sufficient places for the children and so class sizes become unmanageable.

language: Related to this is the problem that many immigrants only have a basic command of the language and this can lead to difficulties in the classroom and elsewhere.

loss of trained workers: The impact on poorer countries who lose much of their trained workforce through emigration should also not be forgotten.

overcrowding/population: Many countries need to limit immigration because they are already suffering from over-population.

Measures and solutions

You may also need to consider how immigration should be controlled.

taxes and law: One possible measure is to ensure that migrants pay taxes and are subject to the criminal justice system.

language requirements: Another measure that could be put in place is to insist on a minimum language requirement so that all immigrants are able to integrate into the community.

deportation: Some people believe that all illegal immigrants should be deported immediately.

quota: The United States for example has a quota system whereby a fixed number of green cards are issued every year.

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10 Responses to Immigration vocabulary and ideas

  1. Andreas November 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    “…this enables more mother stop return to work.”

    Is this an expression you´d use or a typo? I´ve never heard that and didn´t find any similar with Google.

    • Dominic Cole November 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

      Sorry it is a typo. Now corrected.

    • Anonymous September 16, 2015 at 7:10 pm #

      Very good job its very important

  2. Alex November 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

    I suppose there should be “Also” instead of “Alos”: “Alos note the range of language to discuss problems (highlighted in red)”

  3. Naghmeh November 12, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    It was very helpful

  4. Remma Soulah November 13, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    Thanks a lot for great help.

  5. Hazem Zayter November 16, 2014 at 12:08 am #

    Very interesting explanation of word “immigrant”…thanks a lot Dominic

  6. Nazmul July 26, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

    More Advantages are:

    Cultural Variety
    Complements Workforce
    More options for the home country employer
    Contributes to Home Country Branding/Image Building

    Social Chaos/Anarchy
    Security Concern for Home country
    takes part in limited resources

  7. samaneh March 5, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

    this websites vocabulary’s are very usefull.
    thank u.

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