Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Tolerance And Talent Migration

More tolerant cities attract more talent. Or, so the story goes. The third of Richard Florida's 3Ts of economic development confuses correlation and causality. More migrants generate greater tolerance, not the other way around. Germany doesn't care:

Although immigration procedures in Germany have already been relaxed, there's been no boom in new arrivals of skilled workers. According to the International Organization for Cooperation and Development (OECD), five to 10 times as many workers are preferring relocation to countries like Australia, Denmark or Canada, rather than Germany.

Manfred Schmidt believes that is primarily because Australia "has been a destination for immigrants for some time." In contrast, the immigration expert says, Germany has only viewed itself in a similar way for the past 10 years or so. There's still a lot to do, he thinks.

"Now it's about signaling to those who want to come that they're welcome," Schmidt explained, adding: "And that we want to address them even-handedly."

Ideally, Schmidt would like to see that this be true not only of highly qualified migrants but also for refugees, asylum-seekers and the families of immigrants.

Emphasis added. Schmidt is right about Australia. International migrants are creatures of habit. You go where you know.

Migrants move to hostile places all the time. Outsiders aren't welcome anywhere. Opportunity trumps tolerance. Every time. What can talent do in Germany that can't be done in Australia? More welcoming isn't a competitive advantage in the war for talent.

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