International Migration Outlook

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OECD’s annual publication analysing recent developments in migration movements and policies in its countries. Each edition provides the latest statistical information on immigrant stocks and flows, immigrants in the labour market, and migration policies. Country Reports provide detailed policy information for each OECD country and special reports look at current issues in immigration.

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International Migration Outlook 2013

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13 June 2013
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9789264200166 (PDF) ; 9789264200159 (print)

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This  publication analyses recent development in immigration and other migration movements and policies in OECD countries and some non member countries including migration of highly qualified and low qualified workers, temporary and permanent, as well as students. This edition also contains two special chapters on topical issues: fiscal impact of migration and  discrimination.

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  • Foreword

    This publication constitutes the thirty-seventh report of the OECD’s Continuous Reporting System on Migration. The report is divided into five chapters plus a statistical annex.

  • Editorial

    The current situation of high and persistent unemployment in many OECD countries, combined with ageing populations and workforces, has brought back the debate over immigration policy. One prominent issue is the extent to which immigrants may rely on social benefits and public services. Beliefs about this net fiscal contribution of immigrants – how much they pay in taxes in comparison to what they receive in support – are among the main elements shaping public opinion on migration.

  • Executive summary

    Immigration flows are rising in OECD countries, but remain well below pre-crisis levels. In 2011, total permanent immigration rose overall in OECD countries from 2010, but was still below four million. Preliminary 2012 data suggest a further increase. Temporary labour migration was essentially stagnant relative to 2010, at just below two million entries. OECD countries continue to attract students from around the world, with the number of international students in 2010 up 6% on 2009.

  • Recent developments in international migration movements and policies

    The following chapter gives a broad overview of recent developments in international migration movements in OECD countries. It describes permanent immigration flows and changes in status in 2011, before describing the situation with respect to departures. More detail is provided on certain categories of migration, in particular temporary labour migration, international students and asylum seekers. An analysis by origin follows, as well as a picture of the evolution of the foreign-born population over the decade. Two special topics close the overview section, one dealing with labour migrants and the incidence of these who arrive with jobs, the second with family migration of married persons. The policy section that follows describes developments in policies that regulate the entry and stay of foreign nationals in OECD countries. The crisis has had a restrictive effect on labour migration in general, but with attention focused on attracting migrants perceived as bringing benefits to the destination country, such as investors and entrepreneurs, graduating international students and EU Blue Card migration.

  • Recent labour market trends and integration policies in OECD countries

    The first part of this chapter provides detailed evidence on the labour market outcomes of migrants in OECD countries relative to those of their native-born peers. It shows that the employment outcomes of the foreign-born vary greatly across countries but also across demographic groups, with certain groups of migrants being in particularly critical situations. A discussion follows on whether the recent economic developments have affected the progress made by migrants over the past decade. The chapter continues with some evidence on the representation of migrants in new hires. The second part of the chapter describes the latest developments in integration policies in the OECD. It highlights the importance of integration policies in national agendas and the increasing attention paid to the labour market integration of migrants as the means to improve economic performance and mitigate social pressures.

  • The fiscal impact of immigration in OECD countries

    Whether immigrants make the fiscal challenges faced by OECD countries more difficult or whether they aid in addressing them is a topical question in many OECD countries. This chapter provides a first-time comparative analysis of the fiscal impact of immigration in OECD countries, using data for all European OECD countries, as well as Australia, Canada and the United States. It also includes a comprehensive overview of the literature and the methodological issues involved in estimating the fiscal impact of migration. Depending on the assumptions made and the methodology used, estimates of the fiscal impact of immigration vary, although in most countries it tends to be small in terms of GDP and is around zero on average across OECD countries.Immigrants tend to have a less favourable net fiscal position than the native-born, but this is almost exclusively driven by the fact that immigrant households contribute on average less in terms of taxes and social security contributions than the native-born and not by a higher dependence on benefits. Employment is the single most important determinant of migrants’ net fiscal balance, particularly in countries with comprehensive social protection systems. More generally, differences in the composition of the migrant population by migration category (labour, family, humanitarian) account for a large part of the cross-country variation of migrants’ fiscal position relative to that of the native-born. There is also a strong impact of the age of immigrants on their net fiscal position.

  • Discrimination against immigrants – measurement, incidence and policy instruments

    Discrimination is a key obstacle to the full integration of immigrants and their offspring into the labour market and the society as a whole. This chapter provides an overview of discrimination against immigrants and their children in OECD countries – its measurement, incidence and policy solutions – on the basis of the empirical literature and policy practices.The actual prevalence of discrimination is difficult to assess, since the disadvantage of immigrants and their offspring in many domains of public life may be attributable to many other factors – both observed and non-observed – than ethnic origin itself. Testing studies which try to isolate the effect of discrimination in hiring suggest that it is not uncommon for immigrants and their offspring to have to send more than twice as many applications to get invited to a job interview than persons without a migration background who have an otherwise equivalent CV.Most OECD countries have taken measures to combat discrimination, although the scale and scope of the measures varies widely. Much of the effect of most policy measures against discrimination appears to stem rather from raising awareness about the issue than from any direct influence which they may have on preventing discrimination.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Country notes: Recent changes in migration movements and policies

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    • Australia

      Australia’s migration and humanitarian programs combined comprised 199 000 individual entries in 2011-12, an increase of 8.9% with respect with the 2010-11 figure. The migration programme was used by around 185 000 individuals, the majority of whom were granted visas under the skill stream (126 000, half of whom were already in Australia) and most of the rest (59 000) under the family stream (28% already onshore). The top two source countries for permanent migrants through the migration programme were India (29 000) and China (25 500), and seven of the top 10 source countries in 2011-12 are located in Asia. The United Kingdom (25 000) fell to third place as an origin country of permanent migrants to Australia.

    • Austria

      In 2011 the total inflow of foreign nationals to Austria increased to 114 900 (17% more than in 2010). Outflows also increased to 73 400, 11% more than in 2010. Net immigration of foreign nationals, was 30% higher than in 2010. This increase in the net inflow of migrants was due to relatively strong GDP growth (+2.7%) in 2011 and to the expiration of employment restrictions for citizens of the EU8 countries. 59% of foreign nationals entering Austria in 2011 came from EU/EFTA countries; the largest share (one-fourth) came from the EU15, led by Germany, from which inflows have been stable in recent years. Increasing inflows were seen from the EU8, which comprised one-fifth of all inflows and from the EU2 (13%). Inflows from Bosnia-Herzegovina increased, as did those of citizens of the United States and countries in Africa and Asia, while net inflows of Turkish citizens decreased considerably.

    • Belgium

      In 2011, the foreign population of Belgium amounted to 1 170 000 persons, or 10.6% of the country’s total population. The share of foreigners in the population was up by 0.4% compared with 2010. Non-European nationals now account for 3.6% of the total population. 132 000 immigrants (Belgians and foreigners) entered Belgium in 2011, up by 2% compared with 2010 (not including asylum seekers). By country of birth, the foreign-born comprise 15% of the total population of Belgium, with 745 700 born in European Union member countries. Since 2008, Morocco has been the main country of origin of immigrants, followed by France, the Netherlands and Italy.

    • Bulgaria

      Bulgaria’s economic growth has fallen from its pre‑crisis pace and its shrinking demand discourages foreign labour migration and other migration inflows. The number of permanent residence permits issued to foreign citizens has been falling from its peak of 4 600 in 2008, to 3 200 in 2011. Acquisition of long-term residence permits, at 19 300, also remains below pre-crisis levels. Turkey (1 140 and 5 450) and the Russian Federation (220 and 3 780) led in new granted permits in both cases in 2011. Only 600 work permits were issued in 2011, a decrease from 770 in 2010.

    • Canada

      Canada’s annual immigration flow is proportionately one of the highest among OECD members, at roughly 0.7% of its population of 35 million. Canada admitted 249 000 permanent residents in 2011, an 11% decrease over the previous year, when overall admissions reached a historical peak, 281 000, due to a combination of unique factors.

    • Chile

      Inflows of migrants in Chile continued increasing in 2011, surpassing 76 000, 19.4% more than in 2010 and more than double the number in 2002. This reflects Chile’s thriving economy with a GDP growth of 6.1% in 2011. The overall unemployment rate fell to 7.1% in 2011 and continued decreasing in 2012.

    • Czech Republic

      Immigration into the Czech Republic has been declining since 2008. National statistics registered about 22 600 immigrants in 2011, 26% fewer than the previous year (30 500). Similarly, the numbers of emigrants decreased to 5 700 persons. The value of net migration thus reached the level of 16 200, which is about 2 000 more than in 2010. Net migration maintained this level in the first half of 2012.

    • Denmark

      In 2012, 61 300 residence permits were granted, up from the 2011 total of 57 800. Almost half of the permits were granted to EU/EEA nationals and their dependents. Study accounted for 26% of the total, work permits for 15%, and family reunification for 6%. Work permits were at the same level as 2011. Family migration has been falling since 2007, despite an increase in applications. The largest groups within family reunification were citizens of Turkey, Thailand and the Philippines.

    • Estonia

      The Estonian population on 1st January 2013 was estimated at 1.29 million, a decline of 5.5% since 2000. About 16% of the resident population were foreigners, the vast majority of whom are long-standing internal migrants who came from other parts of the Soviet Union prior to 1991.

    • Finland

      According to national statistics, the number of foreigners living in Finland at the end of September 2012 was 192 200, or about 3.5% of the population, with the largest group represented by Estonians (38 000), Russians (29 800) and Swedes (8 500).

    • France

      Permanent immigration (excluding European Union nationals) increased for the second consecutive year to reach 142 000 entries in 2011 (up by 4% compared with 2010), close to the 2004 level. The rise in inflows in 2011 stemmed largely from labour migration, which increased by 5% (to 24 000) while the number of refugees and family migrants remained stable. This upward trend is due in part to better capture of the long-stay visa constituting a residence permit (Visa de long séjour valant titre de Séjour, VLS-TS), instituted in 2009 for a number of categories of temporary or permanent entries.

    • Germany

      The inflow of foreigners to Germany in 2011 was 841 700, a 23% increase over 2010. In the same period, outflows of foreigners increased by 2% to 538 800; net migration of foreigners in Germany was 302 900, almost twice the 2010 figure. Net migration of Germans was -23 500, 10% smaller than in 2010. As a result, total population slightly increased for the first time since 2002. The increase in inflows of foreign nationals was driven by a 34% increase in inflows from within the European Union, due to the end in May 2011 of transitional labour market restrictions on EU8 nationals. Increasing inflows of Bulgarians and Romanians were also observed (up 29% over 2010). Immigration of citizens of European countries with high unemployment increased considerably, with a 90% increase in flows from Greece and a 52% increase in flows from Spain. Comparing the first three quarters of 2012 with the same period of 2011, inflows of non-nationals from EU10 countries were about 31% higher, from Italy 38% higher, from Spain 48% and from Portugal 49% higher, and from Greece 64% higher.

    • Greece

      Greece saw its legally resident migrant population fall, as well as declines in irregular migration and asylum seeking. The number of registered foreigners, 610 800 in 2009, fell to 596 200 in 2010, 582 100 in 2011, and dropped by around 24% in 2012 to 440 100, equivalent to about 4% of the total resident population. In addition, there were an estimated 391 000 irregular migrants, based on illegal entries into Greece, apprehensions, rejected asylum seekers, visa overstayers and informal seasonal workers – the latter particularly from Albania.

    • Hungary

      Hungary is not a major destination for international migrants. At the end of 2011 there were 207 600 foreigners in Hungary, a slight decline compared to 2010 and representing 2% of the overall population. 80% of the immigrants are Europeans, predominantly from neighbouring countries, and most are ethnic Hungarians.

    • Ireland

      In the year prior to April 2012 (FY 2012), an inflow of 53 000 was offset by an estimated outflow of over 87 000, resulting in net emigration of 34 000, the highest level for over two decades. Returning Irish nationals were the single largest constituent of immigration. Immigration from the EU New Member States (NMS) fell to about 10 000 in 2011 and 2012. Emigration of Irish nationals increased sharply to over 46 000 in FY 2012, over half of total emigration. Citizens of the NMS accounted for about 17% of all outflows, a substantial reduction from recent years.

    • Israel

      The foreign-born population accounts for one-quarter of residents in Israel, although migration flows have been relatively low in the past decade and this proportion is declining. In 2011, there were 16 900 new permanent immigrants to Israel, an increase of 2% over 2010 and a rate of two immigrants per thousand residents. Preliminary figures for 2012 indicate that permanent immigration to Israel rose to 18 000 entries. The main countries from which immigrants arrived in 2011 were the former Soviet Union (43%, primarily from the Russian Federation and Ukraine), the United States and Ethiopia, with a share of about 17% each, and France (10%).

    • Italy

      Permanent immigration to Italy remains at high levels. Foreign residents accounted for 8% of the entire registered Italian population in 2011. According to the 2011 Census, there were about 4 million foreign residents in Italy, equivalent to 6.8% of the Italian population. New enrolments of foreigners arriving from abroad were at their lowest levels since 2007, with 354 000 new enrolments in the population register in 2011, 16% fewer than in 2010.

    • Japan

      Inflows of foreign nationals reached 267 000 in 2011 (excluding temporary visitors), a decrease of almost 20 000 compared with 2010. The number of new entrants with the status of residence for the purpose of work, declining since 2005, fell a further 1.5% in 2011 from the previous year, to 51 700. The most important category of entry for employment remained entertainers (26 100). Entries of intra-company transferees remained at the same level as in 2010 (5 000), while the inflow of engineers increased by 46.5%, to more than 4 000.

    • Korea

      Korea, historically a country of net emigration, has since 2005 become a net immigration country. The net immigration of foreigners in 2011 was 90 000, 8% below the previous year’s figure. Net immigration of Korean nationals was positive – albeit just 1 400 – in 2011, compared with net negative migration of 14 700 in 2010.

    • Latvia

      At the beginning of 2012, Latvia’s population was 2.04 million. Between the 2000 and the 2011 Census, Latvia’s population had fallen by almost 13%, to 2.07 million. 63% of this decline was due to net migration, which has been negative throughout the past decade. According to Statistics Lativa, outmigration flows in 2011 were 30 400, while immigration flows were 7 300.

    • Lithuania

      From 2010 to 2011 Lithuania saw a significant increase in reported immigration, including Lithuanians returning from abroad, from 5 200 to 15 700 entries. This increase may however only reflect delayed reporting by returning Lithuanians who must report their return in order to benefit from health care services.

    • Luxembourg

      Luxembourg is experiencing one the fastest rates of population growth in Europe. As of 1 January 2012, the population of Luxembourg was 525 000, up 2% compared with 2011. Foreign nationals accounted for 44% of the total population.

    • Mexico

      Permanent inflows of foreigners to Mexico in 2011 decreased to 21 500, down from 26 200 in 2010. Most migrants came from the United States (20%), Cuba (8%), Colombia (8%), Venezuela (6%) and Guatemala (6%).

    • Netherlands

      Inflows to the Netherlands rose by 5.5% in 2011 to 163 000, the highest figures in three decades. 27% of these entries were of Dutch nationals. Outflows also increased, to 133 000 (including net administrative corrections). Out of the emigrants, 47% were Dutch nationals. Overall net migration decreased by 10% compared to 2010, with a surplus of 30 000 after correction for unreported emigration. Figures for 2012 indicate a 4% decrease in immigration, to 155 700, and a 7% increase in emigration, leading to a lower migration surplus for 2012.

    • New Zealand

      In 2011/12, inflows of foreigners reached almost 62 000 and outflows just over 25 000, resulting in a net inflow of over 36 000 foreigners in New Zealand, up from 33 800 in the previous year. Net outflows of New Zealanders surpassed 39 000, up from 30 000 the previous year, as more New Zealanders left and fewer came back, in particular to and from Australia. The movement of New Zealanders to and from Australia is closely related to economic conditions in both countries, with the recent relative strength of the Australian labour market likely encouraging trans-Tasman migration away from New Zealand. Overall, in 2011/12 there was a net outflow of 3 200 people, down from a net inflow of 3 900 in the previous year.

    • Norway

      During 2011, the total population of Norway increased by 65 600 persons due to a birth surplus of 18 800 as well as net immigration of 47 000. This represents a growth rate of 1.3%. In 2011, the total inflow of persons to Norway increased by 7.5% from 2010, to reach the record level of 79 500, representing a migration rate of 16 per thousand inhabitants. 89% of entries were foreigners and 11% Norwegians. The increase in 2011 was due to more inflows from several countries, among them Lithuania (+18%), the Philippines (+24%) and Poland (+13%). Poland continues to lead the list, with 12 850 new immigrants, followed by Sweden (8 200) and Lithuania (7 550). Overall, 64% of immigrants came from EU member countries and 39% from the new members in Central and Eastern Europe. Emigration of foreigners also reached a record level in 2011, at 22 900. Net migration of foreigners reached a record level of 47 900, 12% higher than in 2010.

    • Poland

      Registered migration inflows in Poland increased slightly in 2011, by 2%, to around 15 500. Unemployment has risen, reaching more than 10% by the end of 2012 (youth unemployment approached 30%), causing emigration to increase again. Contrary to the previous four years, Poland saw an increase in 2011 of 14% for officially registered emigrants, to almost 20 000. While net outflow rose for the first time since 2008, increasing immigration meant that net outflows were much smaller than in the early post-enlargement period.

    • Portugal

      Exact data on migration flows for Portugal continue to be difficult to obtain, because available sources combine different categories (e.g. new entries and status changes) and do not capture some inflows, especially those of EU nationals. However, estimates based on new long-term visas and residence permits suggest that in spite of the difficult economic situation in Portugal, overall migration inflows increased by 30% in 2011 to 39 400.

    • Romania

      Romania’s migration pattern is mainly characterised by emigration, especially following accession to the European Union on 1 January 2007. However, data on emigration of Romanian citizens or persons born in Romania is limited. The number of Romanians working abroad in 2011 is estimated to be around 3.5 million persons.

    • Russian Federation

      Migration inflows to the Russian Federation in 2011 almost doubled over 2010, to 356 000 people, while the outflow of migrants remained comparatively small (33 500 persons). The dramatic increase is partially due to a change in methodology which Rosstat implemented in 2011. Rosstat now includes migrants registered in a certain locality for nine months or more, in addition to the traditional method of counting migrants registered at their place of residence. Temporarily-registered residents are considered emigrants when their registered residence expires. While the methodology has changed, the general trend remains: decreasing flows from Kazakhstan and Ukraine, and increasing flows from other countries in Central Asia. Most international migration in the Russian Federation is temporary. Temporary labour migration flows are normally at least three times higher than permanent-type flows.

    • Slovak Republic

      In 2011, the Slovak Republic saw a substantial drop in both immigration (-25% compared to 2010) and emigration (-26% compared to 2010), according to national statistics. Inflows decreased to about 4 800 foreign nationals compared with 6 400 the previous year. Inflows are traditionally dominated by arrivals from nearby European countries such as the Czech Republic, Romania, Germany, Austria and Hungary. Outflows decreased to about 1 800 persons in 2011 compared with 2 500 in 2010. The gender composition of migration inflows is dominated by males, while outflows are dominated by females. This trend is more pronounced for migration flows from and to countries other than the Czech Republic, the main migration country. Although net migration figures have been positive over the past decade, they declined during the past few years, reaching up to 7 000 in 2008, almost 4 400 in 2009 and over 3 900 in 2010 and 2 900 in 2011.

    • Slovenia

      From January to November 2012, 54 200 residence permits were issued, a 5% decline compared with the previous year. Out of these, 86% were issued to non-EEA nationals and the rest to EU nationals. The majority were temporary permits issued to non-EEA nationals (37 500), which means a decrease of 14% compared with the previous year. Residence permits were mostly granted for the purpose of employment or work, followed by family reunification and study. By the end of November 2012, the total population with a valid residence permit reached 106 600 persons, an increase of 6% compared with the previous year.

    • Spain

      Inflows of foreigners in Spain continued decreasing in 2011 and totalled 416 000, 3.5% fewer than in 2010 and 55% below the peak of 920 000 attained in 2007. Outflows of foreigners in 2011 was 318 000, around 6% less than in 2010, but much higher than the preceding years. Net migration in 2011 was 94 000, similar to the year before but almost half the 2009 figure.

    • Sweden

      Immigration to Sweden decreased slightly in 2011 to 96 500, down from 98 800 in 2010, but still remains at the high levels registered in the past five years. Returning Swedish citizens were the largest group (21% of the total), followed by citizens from Iraq and Poland (5% each), Afghanistan (4%), Denmark (3%) and Somalia (3%). Emigration flows from Sweden continued to increase and reached 51 200, almost 5% more compared to 2010. Swedish citizens accounted for 40% of total outflows, mostly going to Nordic and English-speaking countries. Net migration decreased to 45 300 in 2011, down from 53 000 in 2010.

    • Switzerland

      In 2011, immigration in Switzerland continued to grow with the registration of 142 500 new long-term residence permits, 70.1% of which were granted to EU/EFTA nationals. However, this figure remains below the record level of inflows recorded in 2008. Germany and Portugal remain the two main countries of origin and account for 21.4% and 10.8% respectively of new arrivals. The main origin groups outside the EU/EFTA are nationals of the United States (3% of new entries), India, Eritrea, Brazil and China, each representing fewer than 2% of all new migrants settling in Switzerland. The level of outflows, which rose sharply in 2010 as a result of an increase in departures of EU/EFTA nationals, stabilised at around 64 000.

    • Turkey

      Statistics on migration flows in Turkey are limited. There is no source of data on total flows in and out of the country. However, the Ministry for Labour and Social Security (MLSS) registers administrative data on labour emigration outflows and on work permits for foreigners, except where exemptions apply.

    • United Kingdom

      According to ONS estimates, total inflows to the United Kingdom in 2011 were 566 000, a 4% decrease from 2010. Outflows increased by 4% to 351 000, yielding total net migration of 215 000, 15% less than the record figure in 2010. Net outflow of 70 000 UK citizens, 63% more than in 2010, was counterbalanced by net inflow of 286 000 non-UK nationals, slightly lower than in 2010. Provisional figures through June 2012 suggest a further decline in net migration due to lower inflows, especially for non-EU students.

    • United States

      US immigrant admissions for lawful permanent residents in 2011 increased by 1.9% from the previous year, to 1 062 000. 482 000, or about 46%, were new arrivals. The foreign-born population residing in the United States in 2011 was 40.4 million, 13% of the population. Individuals born in Mexico accounted for 29%, followed by China (5.5%), India (4.6%) and the Philippines (4.5%). Together, these four countries account for approximately one-third of all immigrant admissions every year over the past decade. The share of Asians among total admissions increased from 33% to 43% over the last decade, while the share of North American immigrants fell from 38% in 2002 to 31% in 2011. The number of family and employment-based migrants as well as asylees fell in 2011 over the previous year while the number of refugees and diversity-visa immigrants rose.

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  • Statistical annex

    Most of the data published in this annex have been provided by national correspondents of the continuous reporting system on migration appointed by the OECD Secretariat with the approval of the authorities of member countries. Consequently, these data are not necessarily based on common definitions. Countries under review in this annex are OECD countries for which data are available, as well as the Russian Federation. The continuous reporting system on migration has no authority to impose changes in data collection procedures. It is an observatory which, by its very nature, has to use existing statistics. However, it does play an active role in suggesting what it considers to be essential improvements in data collection and makes every effort to present consistent and well-documented statistics.

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