Original Language
Number of Pages
Reference Number
Date of upload

23 Sep 2020

Assessing Immigration Scenarios for the European Union in 2030

Relevant, realistic and reliable?

There is increasing policy interest in the European Union to better plan and prepare for future migration flows. This is reflected in the growing number of reports that use expert knowledge to anticipate migration trends and develop migration scenarios. In this report, the IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), in partnership with the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI), examines the potential and limitations of using expert opinion to predict future migration. This pilot study combines two approaches, namely, migration scenarios and Delphi expert surveys, to assess the implications and uncertainty of immigration scenarios for the European Union in 2030. The results demonstrate the high level of uncertainty and disagreement among experts about how basic drivers of migration – such as multilateralism and economic convergence – might shape future immigration to the European Union. While expert advice is useful for stimulating strategic, long-term thinking and discussion, the results highlight the limitations of using experts to improve operational preparedness.

  • Acknowledgements
  • List of tables and figures
  • Acronyms
  • Executive summary
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. A review of common approaches to migration scenarios
    • 2.1. Migration scenarios
    • 2.2. Delphi surveys
    • 2.3. Limitations
  • 3. Methodology
    • 3.1. Synthesis of European immigration scenarios
    • 3.2. The four scenarios: immigration to Europe in 2030
    • 3.3. Pilot survey and experts’ workshop
    • 3.4. The Delphi survey
  • 4. Survey results: International immigration to Europe in 2030
    • 4.1. Key findings
    • 4.1. Likelihood of four immigration scenarios for 2030
    • 4.2. Estimated international immigration flows to the European Union in 2030
      • 4.2.1. Total international immigration flows to the European Union in 2030
      • 4.2.2. International labour immigration to the European Union in 2030
      • 4.2.3. High-skilled international immigration to the European Union in 2030
      • 4.2.4. Asylum applications to the European Union in 2030
      • 4.2.5. Irregular border-crossings into the European Union in 2030
    • 4.3. How reliable is expert judgement?
      • 4.3.1. Key findings
      • 4.3.2. How confident are experts?4.3.3. How much do experts agree?
      • 4.3.4. How much does judgment vary by type of expert?
  • 5. Discussion
  • Annex I. Scenario narratives for 2030
  • Annex II. Extracts from the Delphi survey questionnaires
  • Annex III. Variation and convergence of experts’ estimates
  • Annex IV. List of survey respondents
  • Annex V. List of pilot workshop participants
  • References