The flood of refugees into Europe has been significantly augmented by economic migrants, mainly from Africa, purporting to be refugees. Economic migrants come from developing countries and are attracted by higher wages and the greater prosperity of European states. The number of such migrants also reflects growing population pressures in Africa.

Increasing numbers of migrants and the threats from Islamic extremism have aroused popular fears that migrants are stealing jobs, undermining wages and social stability.

Populist politicians such as U.S. President Donald Trump and Brexiters in Britain exaggerate these dangers. In America and Britain record numbers are in employment and unemployment figures (4.8 percent) suggest that there is near full employment in both countries. But there are some places in the rust belt in the United States and former mining areas in Britain where industrial decline has heightened perceptions of a threat from immigration.