I am an Australian citizen, and I know that immigration to Australia was at first seen as a beneficial thing by Great Britain, as it created a useful outpost of the British Empire and source of cannon fodder. I have just come back from a 9-week business trip around South America, and I've been to the USA in 2016 – all those countries have received massive European immigration too, even after fighting wars of independence from their coloniser.

While it makes sense for Britain to want people to move to Australia because it was their colony, how did European nations react to the fact that so many of their citizens left for countries which weren't their colonies?:

  • In modern political discourse, the term "brain drain" is frequently mentioned in a negative light, as it implies that it's detrimental for a country when their best and brightest immigrate out. Did European nations in the 19th and early 20th centuries worry about "brain drain" too?
  • Germany, Russia, Italy and the Scandinavian countries had very few colonies, while Greece, Ireland and Poland had none. Yet these countries provided a large part of the immigration to the "New World" – how did they react to the fact that when their citizens left for the "New World", they had nothing to gain from it?
  • The UK was one of the world's richest countries per capita in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Did the British government find it odd that being one of the world's richest countries per capita didn't prevent their net negative immigration rate?
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Source: reddit post


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