Is ‘Sustainable Migration’ a Valuable Concept?

PRIO Policy Brief

Carling, Jørgen & Marta Bivand Erdal (2018) Is ‘Sustainable Migration’ a Valuable Concept?, PRIO Policy Brief, 5. Oslo: PRIO.

​The notion of ‘sustainable migration’ has been floated as a guiding principle for migration policy. Is it a concept we should embrace? On the one hand, it neatly captures the idea that migration should be managed in a way that ensures well-balanced distribution of costs and benefits, today and in the future. On the other hand, ‘sustainable migration’ can serve as a politically charged rhetorical device: it thrives on the liberal and progressive connotations of ‘sustainable’, but implicitly presents migration as an existential threat to society.