Outcome of debate: Youth delegates suggest guidelines for future efforts pertaining to young people, migration and development

Outcome of debate: Youth delegates suggest guidelines for future efforts pertaining to young people, migration and development


We should avoid the term “illegal immigrant”. Immigrants may be unregistered or not have documents, but it is very disrespectful to label a person illegal. Terms such as “undocumented” or “non-registered” migrant are preferred.

Brain drain
“Brain drain is just as devastating to Africa as HIV/AIDS.” Brain drain is a major concern of young people in developing countries, and they consider it to be an extremely important factor in their countries’ futures. Decision-makers need to address the mechanisms that lead to brain drain. Both push and pull factors have to be addressed.Institutions in countries of origin have to be strengthened, to weaken the push factors. The education system can offer many opportunities, but these often do not lead anywhere. Many countries do not offer space for personal development, intellectua stimulation, or competence- and knowledge-building programmes. The issue of wages is, of course, also important.Selective migration is a crucial part of the picture, and constitutes a powerful pull factor. Governments in receiving countries should consider the ethical aspects of opening their borders only to people with the “right” education or skills.

The effects of climate change
More and more migrants will be forced to migrate due to climate change. More has to be done to tackle climate change and to prepare for this future wave of migrants and their particular needs.

Young people consider good integration processes to be particularly important. Integration is normally problem-free at kindergarten level. The trouble starts later. Young people frequently hear that they are a national resource, but it very often does not feel that way for young immigrants. The experience gained from the All different – All equal campaign, which focused on human rights, participation and diversity and was carried out by the member states of the Council of Europe in partnership with NGOs focusing on young people, should shape efforts at global level.

Barriers to mobility
People and countries develop through migration, and visa barriers and other barriers to mobility should therefore be dismantled. The effort to reduce visa barriers should start by simplifying visa procedures for youth, education and NGO exchanges, and making them more transparent and less bureaucratic. The Get VISAble campaign, which was conducted by the European Youth Forum and focused on dismantling visa barriers, should be expanded to global level. As a first step, visas related to NGO work should be made free.

Young migrants must not be exploited on the global employment market. Young migrants can make huge contributions to their new country’s economy, but must not be used to undermine the rights of the country’s existing workforce.

Change of focus
Discussions on migration focus mainly on North – South migration, but South – South migration, which is increasing steadily, is just as important. The primary focus in the migration debate is on problems, and not on options and possibilities.