Comparing Immigration Policies Under the IMPALA Database

Author(s) : Daniela Bergmann

Source :


A person’s decision to migrate is affected by various economic, political, and social factors not only in the country of origin (push factors), but also in the destination country (pull factors). More specifically, push factors are elements that cause people to leave their country of origin and pull factors attract migrants to the destination country. Push factors can include lack of economic opportunities (unemployment and low wages), political instability, natural disasters, and violence. On the other hand, pull factors can include the proximity between two countries as well as economic opportunities, social networks, and a liberal reputation. The liberal reputation of the country of destination refers to the procedures governing the admission of foreigners, for example, visas. Governments of recipient countries restrict these policies with the aim of diminishing its attractiveness, and thus, the number of people who migrate.

In the paper “Comparing Immigration Policies: An Overview from the IMPALA Database,” Beine et al. present preliminary results from a database that compares immigration or admission policies for nine countries between 1999 and 2008. The countries under analysis are Australia, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Specifically, the authors analyzed the complexity and stringency of immigration regulations among different countries, looking across varying years and types of migration.

The IMPALA (International Migration Law and Policy Analysis) database is a collaborative approach to classify, measure, and compare immigration policies related to citizenship acquisition and to economic, family, humanitarian/asylum, and student migration. Before the creation of the IMPALA database, there was no comparable or reliable database on immigration regulations. In this sense, the IMPALA database enables researches and policymakers to assess the trends, restrictiveness, and effects of immigration regulations across countries, years, and immigration issues.



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