International Migration Outlook

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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 Reports provide detailed policy information for each OECD country and special reports look at current issues in immigration.

Also available in: French
International Migration Outlook 2015

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22 Sep 2015
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9789264243453 (EPUB) ; 9789264236950 (PDF) ; 9789264236943 (print)

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This publication analyses recent development in migration movements and policies in OECD countries and some non member countries as well as the evolution of recent labour market outcomes of immigrants in OECD countries. It includes a special chapter on : "Changing Patterns in the international migration of doctors and nurses to OECD countries", as well as country notes and a statistical annex.

Also available in: French
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  • Foreword

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

  • Editorial: Now more than ever, migration policy needs to be comprehensive and co-ordinated

    OECD countries are facing an unprecedented refugee crisis. In 2014, more than 800 000 asylum applications were recorded, an historical high, but the figure for 2015 is expected to be even higher. Even if humanitarian migration is an issue of increasing concern in several parts of the world, notably in Asia, most asylum applications were made in Europe (more than 600 000 in 2014). This is clearly an emergency situation that requires a co-ordinated response at both European and global levels.

  • Executive summary

    Immigration flows are on the rise in most OECD countries. Preliminary data for 2014 suggest that permanent migration flows increased sharply for the first time since 2007 and are back to their pre-crisis level, with 4.3 million permanent entries to the OECD. Family reunification migration accounted for 35% of all permanent migration to OECD countries in 2013 and free movement for 30%.

  • Recent developments in international migration movements and policies

    This chapter provides an overview of recent developments in international migration movements in OECD countries. It begins with a description of the uptick in migration flows in 2014, based on preliminary and partial data. This is followed by a more detailed analysis of the trends in permanent migration from the start of the financial crisis through 2013, by country and by main category of migration – migration for work, family or humanitarian purposes, and migration within free movement areas. Temporary migration is then covered, with brief highlights on seasonal workers and intra-company transferees, and a focus on posting of workers within the European Economic Area (EEA). Close attention is then devoted to the spike in the number of asylum seekers, before turning to the international mobility of students. The chapter continues with a brief description of the composition of migration flows by gender and by country of origin, then turns to the evolution of the foreign-born population, the changing trends in net migration and the acquisition of nationality across OECD countries. A detailed policy section follows, describing the major recent developments in policies that regulate the entry and stay of foreign nationals in OECD countries. Large-scale revisions in migration frameworks are reviewed. Policy changes for different categories of migrants are examined (skilled and less skilled workers; investors and entrepreneurs; international students; family migrants and humanitarian migrants). The developments in management systems for permits and for asylum procedures are discussed, followed by enforcement measures and those to encourage return.

  • 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 focuses on the labour market outcomes in two distinct periods: the one that followed the global economic crisis (2007-11) and the more recent period (2011-14) in which some OECD countries have shown signs of recovery. It also contains a detailed discussion of the migrant groups that face considerable challenges in the labour market in many OECD countries and the sectors which have shown substantial variations in recent years for migrant and native workers. The second part of the chapter describes the latest developments in integration policies in the OECD showing that integration policies are being developed and scaled up across the OECD.

  • Changing patterns in the international migration of doctors and nurses to OECD countries

    This chapter examines how the international migration of health workers to OECD countries has evolved since 2000. It analyses flows against the background of shifts in migration and health policies and economic and institutional change.At a time when skilled migration is on the increase, immigrant doctors and nurses account for mounting shares of the healthcare professionals who practice in the OECD area. The figures in 2010/11 were 23% for doctors and 14% for nurses although, less are foreign-trained than foreign-born, which suggests that host countries provide some of their training.This chapter also considers how the 2007/08 crisis and EU enlargement affect the immigration of doctors and nurses, particularly to Europe, and looks at the part played by immigration policies and the management of labour supply and demand in the healthcare sector. The chapter also volunteers a detailed analysis of the impact on countries of origin and looks at updated data for 2010/11 on the medical brain drain from 120 countries worldwide. The chapter concludes with a look at recent trends in the internationalisation of medical studies.

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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 fell by 4.2% in 2013-14 with 207 900 visas issued. There were 190 000 places under the Migration Programme, 13 800 under the Humanitarian Programme, 3 000 permanent places to New Zealand citizens and an additional 1 200 places, following on from the recommendation of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, under the Family stream. Two-thirds of the Migration Programme visas were issued through the Skill stream and a third through the Family stream, with a small number (0.2%) granted under the Special Eligibility visa category.

    • Austria

      Despite slowing GDP growth, net migration to -Austria has grown in 2013. The migration inflow reached 151 000 persons in 2013 – the highest level since the 1990s, and almost 8% more than in 2012. The migration outflow remained stable at 97 000 persons, so that net immigration grew to 55 000 persons in 2013 (25% more than in 2012). More than half (56%) of the inflow came from other EU countries: 36% from the new EU member countries (acceding in 2004 and after), and 20% from the other EU countries, mainly Germany. Close to 50 000 persons immigrated from non-EU countries, representing 32% of the inflow.

    • Belgium

      Immigration to Belgium has recently decreased while emigration has increased. The migration inflow in 2013 amounted to 119 000 persons, after 123 000 in 2012 and 132 000 in 2011 (not counting asylum seekers). The migration outflow rose from 81 000 in 2011 and 84 000 in 2012 to 92 000 in 2013. The largest groups of incoming foreigners in 2013 were nationals of France (13 600), Romania (10 000), the Netherlands (9 000) and Poland (7 500). Similarly, the largest outgoing groups were nationals of France (10 000), the Netherlands (6 800), Romania (4 200) and Poland (4 000).

    • Bulgaria

      Migration inflows to Bulgaria increased quickly in 2013: official data based on changes of permanent residence suggest that close to 19 000 persons immigrated in 2013, an increase by 32% over the level in 2012 (14 000). The migration outflow also rose, albeit less strongly – it approached 20 000 persons in 2013, up from 17 000 in 2012. These figures imply net emigration of 1 000 persons in 2013. Only in 2011, inflow and outflow had still stood at 5 000 and 10 000 persons, respectively, combining to a net emigration of 5 000 persons. However, figures based on changes of permanent residence might underestimate the true scale of migration flows. Incoming migrants in 2013 originated most frequently from Turkey, Syria and the Russian Federation. 70% of emigrants were younger than 35 years, and there is evidence that several hundred doctors and other highly trained medical staff have emigrated each year since 2010.

    • Canada

      The overall planned admission range for permanent residents in 2014 was 240 000-265 000, consistent with the previous year. In 2013, 259 000 new permanent residents were admitted, equivalent to roughly 0.7% of Canada’s resident population. This number is consistent with the average of about a quarter of a million immigrants admitted annually since 2006 and is slightly up on 2012 (257 900).

    • Chile

      The foreign population in Chile grew by 6% between 2012 and 2013, from 415 500 to 441 500, continuing the trend of previous years. Foreign residents accounted for less than 2.5% of the entire population of Chile in 2013, of which almost three quarters were nationals of Latin American countries. Nationals of European and North American countries together represented 16%.

    • Czech Republic

      For the first time since 2001, the Czech Republic experienced a net migration outflow in 2013, based on information from the Ministry of Interior and the Foreign Police: the migration outflow of 31 000 persons exceeded the migration inflow by more than 1 000 persons. The migration outflow has thus reached pre-crisis levels – it had stood at 33 000 in 2006 but hardly exceeded 20 000 in the years 2007-12. By contrast, the migration inflow of 30 000 in 2013 remained far below pre-crisis levels. The largest groups of incoming migrants in 2013 came from the Slovak Republic (6 000 persons), Ukraine (4 000) and the Russian Federation (3 000), while the largest groups among those leaving were Ukrainians (11 000), Czech nationals (4 000) and Russians (3 000). The largest net flows were a net outflow of 7 000 Ukrainians and a net inflow of 5 000 Slovaks.

    • Denmark

      The migration inflow to Denmark increased by 11% from 2013 to 2014, from 78 300 persons to 86 700, according to Statistics Denmark. The number of Danish citizens in the migration inflow remained essentially constant around 19 000. Among the foreigners immigrating in 2014, the largest groups were nationals of Syria (5 900), Romania (5 300), Poland (5 000), the United States (3 400) and Germany (3 100). While the migration outflow increased slightly from 48 400 in 2013 to 49 200 in 2014, emigration of Danish citizens remained stable around 18 000 persons. There was thus a net migration inflow of 37 500 persons in 2014.

    • Estonia

      The Estonian population was estimated at 1.35 million on 1st January 2015, a 0.3% decline on the year before. Registered foreign nationals accounted for 16% (212 500 persons) of the total population. Around 89% were non-EU/EFTA nationals, of whom Russians comprised 43% (92 300 persons). Persons with undetermined citizenship (mostly long-standing migrants who came from different parts of the Soviet Union prior to 1991, and their descendants) accounted for another 40% (85 300) followed by Ukrainian nationals (6 300 persons). The majority of EU/EFTA migrants residing in Estonia were nationals of the neighbouring EU countries Finland (27%) and Latvia (16%), followed by German nationals (10%).

    • Finland

      At the end of August 2014 a total of 214 100 foreigners lived in Finland, constituting 4% of the population, a 4% increase on the year before. The largest groups were again Estonians (46 700), Russians (30 900) and Swedes (8 400).

    • France

      Family migration remains the main reason for migration to France from outside the European Economic Area. It accounted for 93 000 newly issued residence permits in 2013, an increase by 7% over 2012. Another 63 000 residence permits were issued to international students, 6% more than in 2012. While only 18 000 residence permits were issued to labour migrants in 2013 – about as many as to humanitarian migrants – this represented an increase in labour migration by 11%. In total, 204 000 new residence permits were issued in France in 2013, compared with 193 000 in 2012. According to first estimates for 2014, labour migration increased by nearly 10%, while family migration remained roughly stable.

    • Germany

      At 1.2 million and 800 000 persons, respectively, Germany’s migration inflows and outflows in 2013 have both reached the highest levels since 1994, according to the Federal Statistical Office. German citizens accounted for 10% of the inflow and 18% of the outflow. A small net outflow of 22 000 German citizens thus compared to a net migration inflow of 450 000 foreigners, again the highest level since the early 1990s. The highest net migration inflows came from other EU countries, notably Poland (72 000), Romania (50 000), Italy (33 000), Hungary and Spain (24 000 each). The largest net migration inflows from non-EU countries were recorded with the Russian Federation (18 000), Syria (17 000), Afghanistan, Serbia and China (7 000 each).

    • Greece

      For the first time since December 2009, a year-on-year increase in the stock of valid residence permits for non-EU citizens was reported in Greece: the stock reached 507 000 in December 2013, compared to 440 000 in December 2012. However, 450 000 valid permits were counted in June 2014. The largest groups in June 2014 were the nationals of Albania (300 000 persons), Ukraine (17 000), Georgia (16 000), Pakistan (15 000), the Russian Federation and India (about 12 000 each). According to labour force survey data for 2011, which also includes EU citizens, Albanians remain the largest group of foreigners in Greece, followed by citizens of Bulgaria and Romania. Around 15 000 citizens of the United Kingdom were recorded, and about as many from Poland.

    • Hungary

      Immigration to Hungary from EU Member States decreased in 2013, according to official statistics, while immigration from non-EU countries increased, especially from China. According to the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, 6 200 persons migrated to Hungary from Romania, Serbia, the Slovak Republic and Ukraine. This was about half the level observed in 2009 (but movements of Hungarian citizens living in neighbouring countries are not included). By contrast, the inflow of migrants from China almost doubled to 2 200 in 2013, after remaining largely stable in recent years.

    • Ireland

      New immigration registration permissions fell by 11% to 107 400 certificate issuances in 2013, with the main origin countries being Brazil, India, China, the United States, and Nigeria. A Certificate of Registration is an immigration permission issued by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) to lawfully resident non-EEA nationals who expect to stay in the country for more than three months. The total number of foreign residents was 564 300 in 2014, 12% of the total population.

    • 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. At the end of 2014, the total population of foreign nationals in Israel was 226 300, down from 232 700 the year before. This group of foreign nationals is made up mostly of temporary workers, asylum seekers or overstaying tourists, as permanent migrants entering under the Law of Return are usually granted immediate citizenship upon arrival.

    • Italy

      Migration inflows to Italy continued to fall in 2013 while outflows continued to grow, especially outflows of Italian citizens. According to the Italian National Institute of Statistics, the migration inflow stood at 307 000 in 2013, composed of 279 000 foreigners and 28 000 Italian citizens. This represented a fall of 13% from 2012, when the inflow was 351 000 (321 000 foreigners and 29 000 Italians). Among the foreigners immigrating to Italy in 2013, nationals of Romania (58 000), Morocco (20 000), China (17 000) and Ukraine (14 000) were the largest groups. The migration outflow grew from 106 000 persons (including 68 000 Italians) in 2012 to 126 000 (including 82 000 Italians) in 2013. Emigration of Italian citizens thus doubled between 2010 and 2013. Their main destination countries were the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland and France.

    • Japan

      The number of resident foreign nationals reached 2 066 400 at the end of 2013, a 1.6 % increase on the year before and 1.6% of the total population. Chinese nationals were again the largest group, comprising 649 100 or 31% of the total. Second were those from the Korean Peninsula with 519 700; their proportion has been decreasing year by year, falling to a record low of 25% at the end of 2013. The Philippines (209 200), Brazil (181 300) and Vietnam (72 300) followed.

    • Korea

      The stock of foreign residents in Korea has been steadily increasing. The number of long-term foreign migrants (residing more than 90 days) increased from 1.2 million at the end of 2013, 2.4% of the total population, to 1.4 million at the end of 2014. Among these, the number of registered foreigners increased from 985 900 to 1 092 000, while the number of registered overseas Koreans increased from 233 300 to 286 400. In addition, the number of short-term stayers residing in Korea for less than 90 days increased from 356 800 to 419 700.

    • Latvia

      Between 2012 and 2013 the population of Latvia fell by 22 400 to 2 001 500, mainly because of emigration. Official statistics from Statistics Latvia indicated that outflows (22 600 in 2013) exceeded inflows (8 300), resulting in a net outflow of 14 300 in 2013. Ethnic Latvians accounted for 37% of total inflows and almost half of total outflows. The non-Latvian population numbered 304 800 at the beginning of 2014, equivalent to 15% of the total population. Non-citizens of Latvia, mainly longstanding residents from other parts of the Soviet Union, comprised 83% of the non-Latvian and 13% of the total population (253 600 in 2013). Their numbers have decreased from 730 000 in 1995 due to both emigration and increased naturalisation. Russian nationals were the second largest group of non-Latvian residents (38 800 in 2013).

    • Lithuania

      The Lithuanian population has continued to fall, from 3 million at the 2011 census to an estimated 2.9 million at the beginning of 2015. The number of foreign nationals residing in Lithuania increased by 13% over the past year to 40 000 at the beginning of 2015, equivalent to 1.4% of the total population. Almost half of all foreign residents (18 300) were from non-EEA countries and held long-term residence permits.

    • Luxembourg

      The migration inflow to Luxembourg has continued to increase, reaching 22 300 in 2014 after 21 100 in 2013. The largest inflows originated from France (3 900), Portugal (3 800), Italy and Belgium (1 600 each). The migration outflow has grown moderately to 11 300, after 10 800 in 2013. The largest outflows were directed to Portugal (2 000), France (1 700) and -Germany (700). Similarly to the three previous years, Luxembourg thus saw a net migration inflow of 11 000 persons in 2014.

    • Mexico

      According to census data 961 000 foreign-born people resided in Mexico in 2010, equivalent to less than 1% of the total population. Preliminary estimates for 2013 suggest an increase to 991 200, almost double the number registered in 2000. However, estimations based on administrative data from the immigration authorities suggest that the number of foreigners with valid migration documents was only 296 500 in 2012.

    • Netherlands

      On January 1, 2014 around 3.6 million residents were registered in the Netherlands who were of non-native background – either themselves born abroad (1.8 million) or born in the Netherlands with at least one foreign-born parent (1.8 million). Together they comprised 21% of the total population. The largest group had a Turkish background (396 400), followed by persons with Moroccan (375 000), Indonesian (372 200), German (368 500) and Surinamese (348 300) background. 77% of the non-native population had Dutch citizenship.

    • New Zealand

      In 2013, 24% (1 001 800) of New Zealand’s population had been born overseas compared with 22% in 2006 and 19% in 2001. Among these, the share born in the United Kingdom and Ireland (historically the main origin countries) decreased from 32% in 2001 to 26% in 2013, while Asia-born increased from a 24% share in 2001 to 32% in 2013.

    • Norway

      In January 2015, 669 400 immigrants and 135 600 native-born of immigrant parents resided in Norway. Together, they represented 15.6% of the population, a 0.7 percentage points increase from 2014 – the lowest growth since 2006. The largest country of origin for resident immigrants was Poland (91 000). Among Norwegian-born with immigrant parents, most had parents from Pakistan (16 000). In 2013, around 40% of all resident immigrants had lived in Norway for less than five years.

    • Poland

      Permanent migration inflows to Poland continued the falling trend of recent years, according to data from the Central Population Register: 12 200 persons (including Polish citizens) arrived in 2013 for permanent stays. This constituted a fall of 16% compared to the inflow of 14 600 in 2012. The downward trend appeared to continue in the first half of 2014, when the inflow stood at 5 400, 5% below the corresponding level in 2013. The recorded outflow amounted to 32 100 persons in 2013, after 21 200 in 2012. These figures suggest a net emigration of about 20 000 persons.

    • Portugal

      The total stock of foreigners in Portugal fell from 454 000 in 2009 to 401 320 in 2013, a decline of almost 4% from the previous year. The fall reflects the economic recession and increased naturalisation. With the exception of nationals of Asian countries and, more recently from North America, the stock of foreigners from all continents declined.

    • Romania

      After high net emigration from Romania in recent years following the accession to the EU, official statistics on migration inflow (165 000 persons) approached those of outflow (172 000) in 2013, leaving a net emigration of only 7 000 persons. In 2007, by contrast, the official outflow had been more than six times higher than the inflow. An increase by 4.7% in the number of non-EU citizens moving to Romania (58 500 in 2013) contributed to closing the gap between the outflow and the inflow. Returning emigrants made up small proportions of the inflow, and even in counties with the highest emigration rates, return migration did not exceed 7% of the total immigration.

    • Russian Federation

      The net migration inflow to the Russian Federation stood at 270 000 persons in 2014, according to official Rosstat statistics. While net immigration was lower than in 2013 (when it stood at 296 000), the gross migration inflow and outflow were both higher in 2014 than in 2013. The migration inflow in 2014 reached 578 000, an increase of 20% over the 2013 level. Immigrants in 2014 mainly came from other CIS countries: Uzbekistan (131 000 persons), followed by Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. Among non-CIS countries, People’s Republic of China was the main origin of immigrants (11 000 persons). As in 2013, immigrants from Uzbekistan accounted for one-quarter of the entire inflow. At 308 000 persons, the migration outflow was particularly high in 2014, likely because foreign workers whose registration expires are counted as emigrants. The outflow was mainly directed to the CIS countries of Uzbekistan (94 000), Tajikistan (35 000) and Ukraine (30 000), and to China (9 000). The highest net inflow from any country came from Ukraine (80 000).

    • Slovak Republic

      Migration flows recorded in the Slovak Republic have remained relatively small. According to the Slovak Statistical Office, the migration inflow decreased from 5 400 persons in 2012 to 5 100 in 2013, while the outflow increased from 2 000 persons in 2012 to 2 800 in 2013. As a result, net immigration contracted to 2 300. Incoming migrants mainly originated from the Czech Republic (1 100 persons), the United Kingdom (600) and Hungary (400); the migration outflow was directed primarily to the Czech Republic (900), Austria (600) and the United Kingdom (300). America and Asia together accounted for 500 incoming and 200 outgoing migrants. However, these figures are based on recorded changes of permanent address and appear to underestimate the true migration flows considerably.

    • Slovenia

      After a migration inflow of 15 000 in 2012 and 13 900 in 2013, 10 100 immigrated to Slovenia during the first nine months of 2014, according to Slovenia’s Statistical Office. The main countries of previous residence in 2013 were Bosnia and Herzegovina (4 000), Croatia (1 400), Serbia and Kosovo (1 300 each). Slovene citizens made up one-sixth of the inflow in 2013, but one-fifth during the first nine months of 2014. By contrast, they represented close to 60% of the migration outflow both in 2013 and in the first nine months of 2014. The outflow amounted to 13 400 in 2013 and to 10 400 in the first nine months of 2014. Those emigrating in 2013 mainly went to Germany (1 900), Austria (1 700), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1 700) and Croatia (1 400).

    • Spain

      As in previous years, Spain recorded net emigration rather than net immigration in 2013. The outflow of foreigners exceeded the inflow by 211 000 persons in 2013. The (gross) migration inflow of foreigners reached 248 000 persons and the outflow stood at almost 460 000. There was also net emigration of Spanish nationals in 2013: while 73 000 emigrated, 32 000 immigrated. Among the emigrating Spanish nationals, two-thirds were born in Spain and one-third were foreign-born; about three-quarters were of working age (16-64 years).

    • Sweden

      The Swedish population increased by a record of 102 500 persons during 2014, of which two thirds were foreign-born (70 100). Foreign-born residents numbered 1.6 million in December 2014 and comprised 17% of the Swedish population. 739 400 (8%) were foreign nationals. More than half of the foreign-born came from Europe and almost a third from Asia. Finns (158 500) accounted for about 10% of the total foreign-born population followed by Iraqis (130 200) and Poles (81 700). Another 488 700 residents were Swedish-born with two foreign-born parents.

    • Switzerland

      In 2014, 152 000 foreigners came to Switzerland for long-term stays, 2% less than in 2013. This was the first decline since 2009. Citizens from EU/EFTA countries represented almost three-quarters of the inflow. The two largest groups, German and Italian citizens, respectively represented 16% (23 800 persons) and 12% (17 800) of the total inflow. Portuguese and French citizens respectively accounted for 10% (14 900 persons) and 9% (13 800). While 64% of the EU/EFTA nationals come for employment purposes, the main reason for immigration of non-EU/EFTA citizens was family reunification (47% of the inflow).

    • Turkey

      Turkey continues to attract increasing numbers of foreign nationals due to its geographical position as a bridge between the East and the West and recent shifts in the pattern of humanitarian migration following the political turmoil in the Middle East.

    • United Kingdom

      In 2014, the number of foreign nationals living in the United Kingdom rose to 5.2 million, an increase of 4% on the year before. Foreign nationals accounted for 8% of the total UK population. Nationals of the post-2004 EU accession countries rose to 1.5 million and comprised 30% of all foreigners. Poles were the largest foreign group, reaching 826 000 in 2014, 16% of all foreign citizens. Foreign-born residents numbered 8.1 million in 2014, equal to 13% of the total population.

    • United States

      The number of persons granted Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) (or immigrant) status in the United States in fiscal year (FY) 2013 decreased by 4% from the previous year to 990 600. (All figures are for US fiscal years, October through September). Of these, 459 800 (46%) were new arrivals.

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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.

  • 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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