Growing restrictiveness or changing selection? The nature and evolution of migration policies

01 July 2014

Hein de Haas, Katharina Natter and Simona Vezzoli

Authors: Hein de Haas, Co-Director, International Migration Institute and Associate Professor in Migration Studies, University of Oxford (; Katharina Natter, Research Assistant, International Migration Institute (; Simona Vezzoli, Research Officer, International Migration Institute (


Drawing on the new DEMIG POLICY database that comprises over 6,500 migration policy changes in 45 countries, the authors analyse the nature and evolution of migration policies over the 20th and early 21st centuries. The findings challenge the common assumption that migration policies have become increasingly restrictive over the past decades, and instead demonstrate that since 1945 migration policies have been consistently dominated by less restrictive changes.