The Legal "Welcome" to Those
Coming from Outside
Depending on where you live, your
nationality and your financial status, you will find it
easier or harder to move to and work in a European country
(or from one to another).
If you have at least 100,000 dollars in
the bank you will experience few problems in obtaining a
visa or a residents permit in most countries. Many countries
have stopped issuing visas to foreign nationals who are
already within their borders. Take the example of someone
who is visiting their family on a tourist visa and wishes
to remain; this person must then leave the country and apply
for a new visa, with all the costs and stresses of separation
this would entail. Strict regulations have been placed on
transport companies to ensure that they carry only passengers
with the right to enter a particular country. A company
in breach of the regulations is liable to be fined and must
cover the cost of repatriating the passengers concerned.
What is the difference between a Visa and American Express?
Unless you work for a large transnational
company, you will have massive problems in obtaining permission
to live and work in any of the countries within the European
Economic Area (EEA). But nationals of those countries are
allowed to move relatively freely from one to another. Although
regulations do differ in nuance, the basic challenges
remain similar. If you want to stay in one of these countries
legally you will need to bear in mind some of the following:
• A residence permit. This will be
granted if you have already obtained a work permit.
• An employment contract with a recognised
business. Without this you cannot obtain a work permit.
• The work permit will only be granted
if the employer can prove that nobody in the host population
could do the job.
• Official procedures and delays
in gaining work permits dissuade many employers from even
attempting to recruit third country nationals.
• If, in the meantime, you start
working before being granted official permission you risk
immediate expulsion from the country.
• Some crimes can only be committed
by foreigners. Legal regulations change and it will be your
responsibility to ensure that you conform to them.
How many people come to stay and work in the country where
Exceptions to the rule do exist.
In Central and Eastern Europe, and especially in Germany,
permanent settlement migration in recent years has been
associated with specific ethnic groups "returning"
to a homeland where they have been granted an automatic
right of settlement. Amongst those involved are the German
Aussiedler, Ingrian Finns, Bulgarian Turks, Pontian Greeks
and Romanian Magyars.
And What Are Our Responses
to All of This?
We have looked at some of the
aspects, considered some of the history and highlighted
some of the forces which are acting within our societies.
At one and the same time we are being pushed closer together
and being pulled further apart. The face and faces of Europe
have changed dramatically during the past decades and in
today's multicultural societies we face greater stresses
and strains than before.
A Model to Adapt
At the 1993 symposium which prepared
the "all different - all equal" Campaign recent
research was presented which casts some new light on the
challenges we face. This research carried out in Belgium
suggests that it may be possible to break down the population
into four main groups:
A. people who are already aware of the
problems of racism and more or less actively involved in
anti-racist activities (about 10%)
B. those people, who are tolerant, but
do not (yet) engage in anti-racist activities (about 40%)
C. those who have racist tendencies, but
do not commit racist acts (about 40%)
D. racists who openly show their attitude
What is perhaps representative
for Belgium is not necessarily applicable across the length
and breadth of Europe, but anti-racist activists (from other
countries) who have seen these figures do agree that the
general proportions are similar to their own estimates.
They suggest that greater percentages of young people are
present in the groups A and D.
Do you think this model fits in your country?
Whether or not the proportions
are the same, you may use it as a model for analysing the
situation in the country where you live. It may also be
useful in deciding on strategies for targeting particular
groups when campaigning or devising educational approaches.
Are we trying to reinforce active tolerance amongst the
people in group B, are we going to show open opposition
to those in group D? Are we going to work with those in
group A to question some of our own assumptions? etc.
To give an example, La Republica
newspaper of 19 May 1995 reports research into prejudice
amongst 2500 young people in Italy. The survey was conducted
by the Instituto di richerche sociali di Milano (social
research institute of Milan) and they divide the results
into four groups as well:
A. "xenofobi" - (xenophobic, those
afraid of or against foreigners) -12.3%
B. "instabili" - (unstable) -
C. "neutrali" - (neutral) - 35.2%
D. "antixenofobi" - (anti-xenophobic)
These four groups are perhaps
comparable with those suggested by the research from Belgium,
but it is important to see that the terminology is completely
Racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia and
intolerance take very different forms across Europe and
it may be that for your situation you should find other
descriptions or analyses for the different groups. We shall
look at the challenges involved in defining these terms
in the next chapter.