The rise of populist movements around the world has prompted a major shift in tone around immigration. The UK voted to leave the European Union last year and Donald Trump rose to the presidency on the back of hardline anti-immigrant rhetoric. Yet the majority of people worldwide still support immigration, with a recent international poll showing that nearly 60 percent of respondents believe their country should have more open borders. Here’s a rundown of the best places around the world for immigrants, according to a new report published by the Best Countries Survey.
The largest and most populous Scandinavian country topped the list, with many respondents noting its commitment to human rights and excellent public services. Wealth equality and a strong social welfare system also impacted on its standing. In recent years, Sweden has been diversifying and immigrants currently account for around 10 per cent of its 9.8 million population.
The second-largest country in the world after Russia, Canada has developed a very immigration-friendly reputation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken out in favor of both migrants and refugees. “Diversity is our strength,” he announced earlier this year. In 2011, around 38 percent of the population were immigrants or the children of immigrants. If current levels continue, this number is expected to rise to half of the population by 2036.
The tiny European economic powerhouse that is Switzerland is favored for its low unemployment, high incomes and very impressive living standards. Ranked number one on the Best Countries list, Switzerland was lower on the immigration list because it was perceived to be slightly less welcoming to migrants than the top two countries.
Immigrants from non-English-speaking nations – primarily from Asia – have forged a new multicultural Australian identity. A wealthy nation and also the third-least densely populated, the country is an incredibly popular destination for skilled migrants. However, its policy towards refugees has been the subject of much controversy in recent years.
With one of the largest economies in the world, Germany is widely perceived as a land of opportunity for migrants. Although Germany’s Angela Merkel recently suffered a drop in support after she promised to keep the country’s borders open to migrants, surveys show that German youth are still very welcoming to those from other countries. A study led by German broadcasters recently found that 80 percent of German millennials were positive about immigration.
This high income Scandinavian nation is known for its strong economy and sizeable welfare system. According to Statistics Norway, the immigrant population currently makes up 16.8 percent of the country’s total population. The three largest immigrant groups in Norway are Polish, Lithuanian and Swedish.
While US President Donald Trump has spoken very negatively about immigration, the country remains a popular destination for migrants and currently hosts more than any other country. As the world’s dominant economic power, many people are still optimistic about their chances of succeeding in the North American powerhouse.
This Western European lowland has become increasingly diverse, and is now ranked among the best migrant destinations. The country is known for its healthy economy and also has a reputation for tolerance.
One of the most northerly countries in the world, Finland spends big on its public services. Increased immigration has caused considerable debate within the country in recent years, but many respondents still viewed it as a welcoming destination.
The Nordic nation also made the top ten, based on its well-funded services and substantial social safety nets. The country has seen a steady increase in immigration over the past three decades, with Polish, Turkish and German migrants making up the largest groups of new arrivals.
Tiny, landlocked Luxembourg is a favorite based on its extraordinary living standards. The picturesque country is the second-wealthiest in the world after Qatar. The country’s gorgeous forest scenery is the perfect complement to its economic strength and stability.
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