The Contribution of Migrants to the Society

Brussels - On 25 September, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Country Office for Belgium and Luxembourg organized, in the framework of the IOM’s worldwide campaign, an event on the Contribution of Migration to the Society.   

Ambassador Laura Thompson, IOM Deputy Director General, welcomed the event presented as an opportunity to “challenge some of the common misrepresentations about migration and the distorted way in which migration issues are discussed”.

Ms. Thompson stressed the need for a more balanced and evidence-based debate giving a positive, but also more realistic, view of migrants and their contribution to societies. 

Mr. Claude Moraes, Labour Member of the European Parliament for London, particularly highlighted “the problem with the negative perception of migration which goes beyond a merely financial issue”. He pointed out the fact that “there is enough evidence of the financial benefits of migration. Therefore, these misconceptions are rather a post-colonial reality”.

During the meeting, the speakers shared thoughts, reflections and ideas on the way to facilitate migrant integration and reintegration, and make it easier for governments and societies to reap the considerable positive potential of international migration.

Concrete examples of migrants’ contribution to the host countries, at the international, European and Belgian levels, as well as the everyday life difficulties they had to face upon their arrival in Europe, were highlighted through presentations, testimonies and debates. This fruitful exchange of information and experiences was positively welcomed by all the participants.

During the cocktail, information stands of IOM’s partner organizations, movies and photo exhibitions on migration in Belgium were presented to put in light concrete initiatives and contributions of migrants.

For more details, please read the speeches of Ambassador ThompsonMr. Reyntjens (CO for Belgium and Luxembourg) and Mr. De Witte.