International Migration Outlook

1999-124X (online)
1995-3968 (print)
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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 notes provide detailed policy information for each OECD country and special chapters look at current issues in immigration.

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International Migration Outlook 2017

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29 June 2017
9789264275591 (EPUB) ; 9789264275584 (PDF) ;9789264275553(print)

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The International Migration Outlook 2017, the 41st edition of this annual OECD publication, analyses recent developments in migration movements and policies in OECD countries and selected non-member countries. Where relevant, it examines the impact of the recent increase in humanitarian migration. It looks at the evolution of the labour market outcomes of immigrants in OECD countries, with a focus on the medium-term dynamic of employment outcomes and on the implications of structural changes in the labour market. It includes one special chapter on family migrants, looking at this important part of migration and the policies that govern it. A statistical annex completes the book.

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  • Foreword

    This publication constitutes the 41st report of the OECD’s Continuous Reporting System on Migration. The report is divided into four chapters plus a statistical annex.

  • Editorial: Integration, integration, integration: The key policy challenge for domestic migration policy and beyond

    The peak of the humanitarian refugee crisis is behind us: the unprecedented high inflows of the second-half of 2015 and early 2016 have receded over the past year. In the first six months of 2017, the total number of landings on European shores reached 72 000, slightly below the flows in 2014 and more than 12 times less than the flows in second-half 2015. Many of those who arrived in Europe from conflict countries are likely to stay for some time, at least until their home countries are safe again. It is now time to focus on how to help people settle in their new host countries and integrate into their labour markets. This demands rethinking both domestic policies and international co-operation.

  • Executive summary

    Permanent migration flows in the OECD area have increased for the third year in a row, according to preliminary 2016 data. Around 5 million people migrated permanently to OECD countries in 2016, well above the previous peak level, observed in 2007 before the economic crisis.

  • Recent developments in international migration movements and policies

    This chapter provides an overview of recent developments in international migration movements and policies in OECD countries. After a brief review of developments in migration flows in 2016, based on preliminary and partial data, it provides a detailed analysis of the trends in permanent migration from 2007 to 2015, by country and by main category of migration – migration for work, family or humanitarian purposes, and migration within free movement areas. The next section addresses temporary migration for work purposes, especially seasonal workers, posted workers and working holidaymakers. The chapter goes on to discuss the unprecedented increase in the number of asylum seekers in OECD countries, then describes the international mobility of students, the composition of migration flows by gender and by country of origin, the evolution of the size of the foreign-born population, and the acquisition of nationality across OECD countries. The chapter closes with a section on policies concerning the main 2015-16 changes made to migration management frameworks, particularly in the European Union.

  • Labour market outcomes of migrants and integration policies in OECD countries

    This chapter examines the development of the labour market outcomes of OECD migrants during the period 2011-16. Taking a longer view, it then considers the evolution of unemployment among migrants since the 2007/08 global economic crisis looking out how the patterns of migrant employment have adapted in the intervening period. The chapter then turns to an analysis of the potential impact of technological change, with a consideration of how the automation of routine tasks may impact on future demand for migrant workers. Finally, the chapter discusses recent changes in integration policies in OECD countries, with a focus on those that directly target the integration of asylum seekers and refugees.

  • A portrait of family migration in OECD countries

    This chapter presents key trends and issues in family migration to OECD countries, drawing on a wide range of data sources, and highlighting current and emerging challenges for the management of family migration. Family is the single largest category of migration. Family migration accounts for almost 40% of flows and a quarter to half of the stock of migrants, even if their share of total migration flows has declined in recent years. Family migration comprises different components, of which family formation is an increasing part. The recent evolution of policies to manage their admission is discussed, underlining how family migration is allowed everywhere but regulated, especially for non-national sponsors, and restrictions apply to non-dependent non-direct family. The chapter describes the demographic characteristics, education, language abilities and labour market integration of family migrants in comparison to other migrant categories.

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

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    • Australia

      Permanent migration increased by 2% in the 2015-16 Immigration programme to 209 500 visas, mainly driven by an increase of 28% in the Humanitarian Programme intake. This comprised 189 800 places under the Migration Programme (including 3 500 Child visas), 0.4% above its 2014-15 level, 17 600 under the Humanitarian Programme and 2 200 visas granted to New Zealand citizens.

    • Austria

      In 2015, a total of 198 700 foreign nationals registered a main residence in Austria for at least 90 consecutive days, an increase of 44 400 (29%) compared to 2014. Meanwhile 80 100 foreign nationals left the country, an increase of 5% over 2014. Net immigration was again positive and amounted to 118 500 foreign nationals, a 53% increase compared to the previous year. Factoring in the net outflow of 5 500 Austrian nationals in 2015 reduces total net immigration to 113 100. By January 2017, the stock of foreign nationals amounted to 1.3 million (15% of the total population), constituting an increase of 75 000 persons compared to January 2016, and up from 1.1 million in January 2015. The largest groups were German (181 700), Serbian (118 700) and Turkish nationals (116 900).

    • Belgium

      In 2015, net immigration of foreigners (including asylum seekers) rose by 64% to 78 000 persons, compared to 47 500 persons in 2014. Net migration of Belgian citizens remained negative at about -11 000. Net migration contributed most of Belgium’s population increase in 2015, as it has in previous years.

    • Bulgaria

      In 2015, as in previous years, registered net migration was negative (-4 200 persons). The difference between net migration of Bulgarians (-13 700) and of foreigners (+9 500) widened in 2015, contributing to a further decrease of the population. Registered changes in permanent residence may underestimate migration flows.

    • Canada

      In 2015, almost 272 000 foreign nationals were granted permanent resident status in Canada, the highest admissions level since 2010 and within the planned range in the 2015 immigration levels plan. Economic category admissions in 2015 increased by 3% compared with 2014, to more than 170 000 (including accompanying family). Of this number, 70 100 were admitted under the skilled worker programme – slightly more than in 2014. The provincial nominee programme was the second largest group at 44 500 admissions, down from 47 600 in 2014. Caregivers continued to be the third largest group under the economic category, with admissions of 27 200 in 2015.

    • Chile

      Immigration to Chile has increased significantly over the past decade. In 2006, there were about 155 000 foreigners – corresponding to 1% of the total population – whereas in 2015, there were 456 000 foreign nationals, corresponding to 2.7% of the total population.

    • Czech Republic

      In 2015, around 35 000 immigrants came to the Czech Republic, down 16% from 2014, when there were about 42 000 immigrants. The number of emigrants was around 19 000 (including Czech nationals). Thus, the Czech Republic experienced positive net migration in 2015 of 16 000, 27% lower compared to 2014, when net migration was 22 000. By the end of 2015, a total of 465 000 foreigners were legally residing in the country, around 20% of them Ukrainian nationals. While the stock of migrants with temporary visas had been declining since 2012, 2015 saw a slight increase of 3% to a total of 205 000 temporary migrants resident in the country by the end of 2015.

    • Denmark

      The number of immigrants in Denmark (defined as a person who is born abroad, with parents who are neither Danish citizens nor born in Denmark) increased by 6% in 2016. On 1 January 2017, they were 570 000, exactly 10% of the total population. Immigrants of Polish origin are the largest group (39 000), followed by those coming from Syria (34 000) – Syrian immigrants were only the 14th largest group at the beginning of 2015 – and from Turkey (33 000).

    • Estonia

      The Estonian population was estimated at 1.31 million in 2016 (0.3% decline on the previous year), of which 16% were foreign. The vast majority of foreigners are long-standing migrants who came from different parts of the Soviet Union prior to 1991, and their descendants.

    • Finland

      Net migration in Finland fell by over 22% between 2014 and 2015 to 12 400 persons, but still accounted for the vast majority of the population growth in 2015. The fall in net migration was largely driven by fewer immigrants arriving in Finland, 28 700, down from the 2014 peak of 31 500. Further, rising emigration saw over 16 000 individuals leaving Finland in 2015. In 2016 net immigration amounted to 12 400 persons, which was the smallest number in nine years. Finland received a migration gain of 14 700 persons from immigration of foreign citizens.

    • France

      According to Eurostat, in 2015 France had a net migration of 65 000 (including minors and nationals), which was a third more than in 2014. Total outflows amounted to 298 000, made up mostly of emigration of nationals.

    • Germany

      Net migration has increased strongly in recent years, from 180 000 in 2010 to 680 000 in 2014. In 2015, however, net migration almost doubled, reaching almost 1.2 million. This is largely due to the high increase of people seeking asylum in Germany. Humanitarian migration decreased considerably in 2016. Between January and September 2016, the largest EU origin countries were Romania (134 000), Poland (99 000) and Bulgaria (51 000). Almost 80% of all EU migrants coming to Germany in this period came from EU countries where mobility restrictions were lifted in 2011 or later. Around 51 000 Croatian citizens, for whom mobility restrictions were fully lifted in July 2015, entered the country in 2015, compared to 37 000 in 2014 and 40 000 between January and September 2016.

    • Greece

      According to the Labour Force Survey there were 586 200 foreign-born persons in Greece, 5.5% of the total population. Although this represents a significant decrease from the figure of 900 000 recorded in the 2011 census, it may be an underestimate. Six out of ten migrants were from Albania, while other large groups were Bulgarians (31 600), Romanians (23 200) and Pakistanis (15 300).

    • Hungary

      According to Eurostat, 156 400 foreign nationals resided in Hungary on 1 January 2016, accounting for 1.6% of the total population. This represents a 7% increase on the previous year. The main origin countries were, as in previous years, Romania (29 700), China (19 800) and Germany (19 400).

    • Ireland

      A total of 593 900 non-Irish nationals resided in Ireland in April 2016. This exceeds the previous peak recorded prior to the Great Recession in 2008. As a share of the overall population, the current non-national share (12.7%) is nearly equal to the 2008 peak (12.8%). The largest group of non-national immigrants is from New EU Member States at 238 700 in 2016, similar to earlier years. There was a sharp decline of the number of immigrants from older European Union member countries, from 52 000 in 2010 to 32 000 in 2016 (40% decline). Meanwhile, the number of nationals from non-EU countries has continued to increase (4%) to 207 000 in 2016.

    • Israel

      Israel distinguishes two major categories of foreigners who may legally reside in Israel: immigrants with Jewish origin or ties, who may immigrate permanently to Israel under the Law of Return, as well as family members of nationals who receive legal status under the Entry into Israel Law; and foreign nationals who may enter Israel temporarily as tourists, students, foreign workers, etc. As of 30 June 2016, the total population of foreign nationals living in Israel was 217 200, down from 228 000 a year earlier. This group of foreign nationals is made up mostly of temporary workers, asylum seekers and overstaying tourists, as permanent migrants entering under the Law of Return are usually granted immediate citizenship upon arrival.

    • Italy

      The number of foreign born living in Italy in 2015 was about five million, corresponding to 8.3% of the total population. Around one third were born in the European Union (EU). The main countries of origin were Romania (1.1 million), Albania (467 000), Morocco (437 000), China (271 000) and Ukraine (230 000). The region with the highest share of immigrants was Lombardy, followed by Latium and Emilia Romagna.

    • Japan

      At the end of 2016, the number of foreign residents registered in Japan reached the record level of 2.38 million, 1.9% of the total Japanese population. The largest group were Chinese, with 696 000 people (29% of total foreign residents), followed by 453 000 South Koreans (19% of total foreign residents), and 244 000 from the Philippines (10% of total foreign residents).

    • Korea

      In 2015, the number of migrants admitted into Korea for a permanent stay reached 80 700 (+7% compared to 2014). Of those permanent migrants for which the reason of entry can be classified (46%), family migrants represented the highest percentage (37%) with labour migrants only 2%. The number of temporary migrants admitted fell from 206 000 in 2014 to 180 000 in 2015. Among them, 138 000 were temporary workers and 23 000 were international students. The number of returning Korean nationals (12%) continued to increase during 2015, but at a smaller pace than in 2014.

    • Latvia

      Between 2014 and 2015 the population of Latvia fell by 17 100 to 1.97 million, mainly because of emigration. Official statistics from Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia indicated that outflows (20 100) exceeded inflows (9 500) resulting in a net outflow of 10 600 in 2015. Latvian nationals accounted for 52.5% of total inflows and 82.4% of total outflows. The non-Latvian population numbered 288 900 at the beginning of 2016, equivalent to 14.7% of the total population. 232 100 non-citizens of Latvia, mainly longstanding residents from other parts of the former Soviet Union, comprised 80% of the non-Latvian and 11.8% of the total population. 42 300 Russian nationals were the largest group of non-Latvian residents and it has grown by 1% compared with 2014 (41 900).

    • Lithuania

      The Lithuanian population has continued to fall, from 3 million at the 2011 census to an estimated 2.85 million at the beginning of 2017. The number of foreign nationals residing in Lithuania increased by 0.8% over 2016 to 44 600 at the beginning of 2017, equivalent to 1.6% of the total population. Non-EEA citizens accounted for 86% of foreign residents. Of these, almost half held long-term residence permits.

    • Luxembourg

      Net migration of foreigners reached its highest number in 2015 (11 200), with an increase of 1% compared to 2014. Both arrivals and departures have been steadily increasing over the last five years. Overall, 23 800 people arrived in Luxembourg over the course of 2015, 5% Luxembourgish, 69% other EU nationals and 26% non-EU/EFTA third country nationals (TCNs). Syrian citizens represented the largest group of TCNs, with 680 individuals, followed by citizens of the United States (550), and then Iraqis (500) and Chinese (450).

    • Mexico

      Immigration to Mexico increased sharply over the past two decades. The inter-censal survey conducted in 2015 indicated that the stock of foreign-born population reached the unprecedented level of one million, twice that of 2000, but still less than 1% of the total population. Despite growing inflows, Mexico remains mainly an emigration and transit country.

    • Netherlands

      The increase in migration inflow to the Netherlands (from 183 000 in 2014 to 205 000 in 2015) considerably exceeded the increase in outflow (from 148 000 in 2014 to almost 150 000 in 2015), so that net immigration continued to rise and reached 55 000 in 2015. Of those moving to the Netherlands in 2015, 45 000 were Dutch citizens and 160 000 foreigners. Just over half of all foreigners (81 000) were citizens of an EU member state.

    • New Zealand

      A net migration gain of 69 100 people occurred in 2015/16, the highest ever, and an increase of 19% from the 58 300 recorded in 2014/15. This was due to a low net migration loss of New Zealand citizens (3 100 people) (compared with 12 300 persons in 2013/14 and 32 700 in 2012/13) combined with a large net gain of non-New Zealand citizens (72 200 people), the highest it has ever been.

    • Norway

      The number of new migrants to Norway was 67 300 in 2015, a decrease of 2 800 persons compared to the previous year. Some 88% of migrants were foreigners and of those, half were from EU countries. Poland (8 200) continued to be the primary country of origin for immigrants (8 200 persons), followed by Syria (4 000) and Sweden (3 600). There was a marked increase in the number of immigrants from Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, and Afghanistan from 2014 to 2015.

    • Poland

      In 2015 large migration inflows continued, with 91 400 persons who arrived from abroad registered for a stay longer than three months, a similar level to 2014 and 13% more than in 2013. The largest immigration inflows were from Ukraine: in 2015 they represented around 43% of the total number of foreigners compared with 40% and 33% respectively 2014 and 2013. Belarussians (4.7%), Vietnamese (4.4%), Germans (3.9%), Chinese (3.5%) and Russians (3.2%) were the other main groups.

    • Portugal

      In 2015, overall net migration remained negative (10 500 persons) although slightly less than in recent years (-30 100 persons in 2014 and -37 400 persons in 2012). Overall, the total stock of foreigners in Portugal continued to decrease, from 454 000 persons in 2009 to 389 000 in 2015 (and down 1.6% from 2014). Lusophone country nationals accounted for a large but decreasing share of foreigners (43.5% in 2015), while the reverse is true for United Kingdom, Spanish and Chinese nationals.

    • Romania

      After a decrease in the high net emigration from Romania in 2014, net emigration in 2015 increased again to almost 58 000 people. The number of temporary immigrants resident in Romania decreased (-5% compared to 2014) for the second year in a row, to close to 130 000 persons. According to the National Statistics Institute, the total resident population of Romania in January 2016 was 19.8 million persons, a decrease of 110 700 compared to 2015; immigrants accounted for 0.5% of the total population.

    • Russian Federation

      Net migration inflow to the Russian Federation was 262 000 in 2016, a 7% increase compared to the previous year (245 000). The inflow of permanent immigrants amounted to 575 000 (598 000 in 2015). The main countries of origin were Ukraine (178 000), Kazakhstan (69 000), Uzbekistan (61 000), Tajikistan (53 000), and Armenia (44 000). Emigration from the Russian Federation decreased significantly to 313 000, compared to 353 000 in 2015. This is still more than in 2014 (308 000) and is mainly driven by temporary migrants departing after being unable to renew work permits due to unfavourable economic conditions. The main destination countries were Ukraine (59 000), Uzbekistan (41 000), Armenia (32 000), and Kazakhstan (32 000).

    • Slovak Republic

      Total immigration in the Slovak Republic increased from about 5 400 persons in 2014 to almost 7 000 persons in 2015. Migration outflows also steadily increased, with the number of persons emigrating from the Slovak Republic twice that in 2010. Net migration increased to about 3 000 persons in 2015, compared with 1 700 persons during the previous year. These figures all include Slovak nationals.

    • Slovenia

      The total stock of foreign citizens increased from 91 400 in 2013 to 107 800 by December 2016. Foreign citizens thus accounted for about 5% of the total population (about 2 million). Some 37% of foreign citizens were women.

    • Spain

      For the first time since the onset of the economic crisis, there was a positive net migration of foreign nationals in 2015 (38 300 people), an indicator of economic recovery. This is a result of a modest increase in immigration by 10% and a strong decline in emigration, by more than 20%. In spite of a small decline, Romanians continued to be the most significant immigrant nationality, accounting for almost 10% of the 290 000 inflows of foreign nationals in 2015. Moroccans followed closely, at 23 000, an increase of about 4 000. The second largest increase was among Venezuelans, whose immigration increased by 46%, to 10 500, in reaction to the crisis in their origin country. Further, Spain is the main destination of UK citizens in Europe.

    • Sweden

      Total immigration in 2015 was 134 200, a record number and 5.7% up on the year before, and included 20 400 Swedish citizens. The largest foreign immigrant group in 2015 was Syrians (28 000), followed by Eritreans (7 600) and Poles (5 600). At 55 800, emigration was also higher than ever before. The largest emigrant group was Swedes (24 500), followed by Chinese (2 700), Indians (2 200) and Danes (2 100). Net migration amounted to 78 400 persons in 2015, the highest on record, with Syrians accounting for 36% of total net migration. In 2016, total immigration rose to 163 000, and emigration fell to 46 000, so that net migration rose to over 117 000. In 2016, net migration accounted for 81% of total population growth.

    • Switzerland

      In 2016, 143 100 long-stay foreigners immigrated to Switzerland, 5% fewer than in 2015, continuing a trend that began two years ago. Nationals of EU and EFTA countries made up almost 70% of the total. The two largest groups were Germans and Italians, accounting for 15% and 13% respectively. While 63% of immigrants from the EU and EFTA went to Switzerland for professional reasons, nationals of countries outside these blocs generally immigrated to join their families (49% of inflows).

    • Turkey

      In 2015, about 423 000 residence permits were issued, up from 380 000 in 2014. In addition, almost 900 000 Syrians were admitted into Turkey under temporary protection during 2015 (the figure for 2014 was close to one million). Overall, the main origin countries of residence permit holders in 2015 were Iraq, Syria, and Azerbaijan (about 33 000 permits each), followed by Russia and Turkmenistan (about 22 000 permits each). Compared with 2014, there was a particularly marked increase in the number of permits delivered to migrants from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Russia, while the figure for Iraqi and especially Afghan nationals declined.

    • United Kingdom

      Between 2015 and 2016 the population of foreign citizens rose by 6.4% to 5.95 million, accounting for 9.2% of the national total. Overall, EU/EFTA countries accounted for all the growth in the foreign national population in the year 2014-15. Non-EU/EFTA country numbers fell by 26 000 to 2.29 million.

    • United States

      The number of persons granted Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status in the United States increased 3.4% from 1 016 518 in fiscal year 2014 to 1 051 031 in 2015, and more than half adjusted status from within the country. Unless otherwise noted, all references to years in this report are to fiscal years; fiscal Year 2015 began 1 October 2014, and concluded 30 September 2015

    • Statistical annex
    • List of the members of the OECD expert group on migration
    • List of OECD Secretariat members involved in the preparation of this publication
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