OECD Insights

1993-6753 (online)
1993-6745 (print)
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OECD Insights are a series of reader-friendly books that use OECD analysis and data to introduce some of today’s most pressing social and economic issues. They are written for the non-specialist reader, including interested laypeople, older high-school students and university freshmen. The books use straightforward language, avoid technical terms, and illustrate theory with real-world examples. They also feature statistics drawn from the OECD’s unique collection of internationally comparable data. Online, you can find a number of special features to enhance each book’s educational potential.

Also available in French, German, Spanish
International Migration

International Migration

The Human Face of Globalisation You or your institution have access to this content

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  • http://oecd.metastore.ingenta.com/content/012009111f1.epub
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Brian Keeley
18 Aug 2009
9789264055780 (PDF) ; 9789264107113 (EPUB) ;9789264047280(print)

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About 190 million people around the world live outside their country of birth. These migrants bring energy, entrepreneurship and fresh ideas to our societies. But there are downsides: young migrants who fail in education, adults who don’t find work and, of course, unregulated migration. Such challenges can make migration a political lightning rod and a topic for angry debate.


Drawing on the unique expertise of the OECD, this book moves beyond rhetoric to look at the realities of international migration today: Where do migrants come from and where do they go? How do governments manage migration? How well do migrants perform in education and in the workforce? And does migration help – or hinder – developing countries?

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  • Foreword
    Few phenomena have shaped human history as decisively as migration. Its influence is evident in our vibrant, multi-ethnic societies – ever-present reminders of the power of the human urge to seek a better life elsewhere. Immigration brings new ideas, new energy, new connections that are reflected in our daily lives in thousands of ways – we eat Italian pizzas, Indian curries and Japanese sushi, we shop in late-night corner stores run by hard-working immigrants, and many of us work for or interact daily with businesses created by migrants of great vision and energy
  • Acknowledgements
    The author very gratefully acknowledges the advice and assistance of Marilyn Achiron, Nick Bray, Orsetta Causa, David Crane, Emmanuel Dalmenesche, Jeff Dayton-Johnson, Martine Durand, Francesca Froy, Jean-Pierre Garson, Georges Lemaître, Patrick Love, Annabelle Mourougane, Stephen Seawright, Claire Shewbridge and Miho Taguma. The author wishes to express special thanks to Olga Kamensky for additional research and writing and to Vincent Gallart and Carolina Sandrin for additional research.
  • The Migration Debate
    Few issues excite controversy like immigration, in part because it touches on so many other questions – economics, demographics, politics, national security, culture, language and even religion. That’s why it’s important to go beyond the rhetoric and get to the facts and realities of international migration.
  • Migration Then and Now
    For almost as long as humans have walked the Earth, they have travelled in hope of finding new and better homes. Today, that journey continues for many millions of people – all told, around 3% of the world’s population. Remarkably, they experience many of the benefits, drawbacks and challenges that confronted earlier generations of migrants.
  • Managing Migration
    Migrants who wish to travel legally are rarely free to go wherever they want. Their movements are governed by a raft of rules, conventions and regulations that determine who may go where. But, equally, international agreements can give migrants significant rights to settle.
  • Migrants and Education
    Education can help young migrants integrate into society, learn the local language and develop the skills they will need for the adult world. Unfortunately, their track record in schooling is mixed – some do exceptionally well, but others encounter problems that can hold them back throughout life.
  • Migrants and Work
    Visit a hospital in a typical developed country and you will quickly see the roles played by migrants – everything from performing surgery to washing floors. Migrants can be a key addition to the workforce, even if their presence may sometimes be resented and they are not always able to make the best use of their skills.
  • Migration and Development
    For developing countries, migration can be a blessing and a curse: a blessing for providing remittances and overseas contacts and experience; a curse for taking away the brightest and the best. The policy challenge is to minimise the costs and maximise the benefits for developing and developed countries.
  • By way of Conclusion
    Its pace has varied throughout the ages, but our journey around our planet has been – and will remain – a constant in human history. Responding to this evolving phenomenon is vital if societies are to continue to gain benefits from international migration. Plus, an introduction to measuring migration.
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