The Future of International Migration to OECD Countries

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
11 Aug 2009
Pages :
278
ISBN :
9789264064126 (PDF) ; 9789264044494 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/9789264064126-en

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This book explores the social, economic and environmental forces that may combine to attract migrants of various types and backgrounds to OECD countries, as well as those that may persuade migrants to leave their countries or to stay at home. By analysing different pull and push factors and constructing five different scenarios of migration in the future, this volume casts light on major determinants of global migration flows, which OECD countries will look particularly attractive for migrants, where the pressures to migrate be especially strong and what kind of migration-related issues will policy makers likely be facing as 2030 approaches.

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    Foreword
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    Executive Summary
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    The Future of International Migration
    From end-2007 to end-2008 the OECD International Futures Programme conducted a project on "The Future of International Migration to OECD Countries". The project comprised a series of preparatory meetings and workshops with interested stakeholders from government, international organisations, business, foundations and the research community (see Annex A). It generated a rich set of papers which explored the factors driving international migration to 2030, both from an OECD country perspective and from a developing and emerging economy viewpoint, and which was supplemented by contributions from academic experts focussing on developments in the main non-OECD regions.
    This opening chapter provides an overview of this extensive body of work, summarising the main findings of the project and offering regional insights from papers which, for reasons of space, could not be published separately in this volume.
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    Immigration "Pull" Factors in OECD Countries over the Long Term
    Immigration into the more developed countries of the OECD has been on the upswing for the last decade and more. Their economic opportunities are a strong attractor for migrants while the projected demographic aging of the more developed members has heightened interest in the possible future role of migration. In anticipation, many countries have instituted policies that are more welcoming to immigrants. While there is reason to suspect that policies do not always work exactly as intended, there is every reason to expect that the OECD countries will continue to exert a substantial pull on international migrants. And policymakers are likely to attempt to attune admission policies with the evolving pull factors.
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    Migration "Push" Factors in Non-OECD Countries over the Long Term
    The OECD/IFP secretariat which prepared the "push synthesis" chapter set itself the task of pulling together data from various sources including the World Bank, various UN agencies and specialised agencies, research institutes and OECD statistics. Approximately seventy indicators were developed for all OECD countries and a selection of thirty non-OECD countries. Some of the results are used in this chapter. A large part of the international migration literature focuses on pull factors in host countries. It turned out that the push perspective is somewhat less researched. Finding reliable and comparable data for non-OECD countries has been a challenging task and the difficulty in obtaining comparable data reflects partly the shortcomings of developing countries’ statistical offices. This "push synthesis" chapter draws examples – mainly qualitative – from regional notes prepared for the OECD/International Futures Programme by external experts. Their names can be found in Annex B. The experts were asked to give an overview of current and future mobility in their region. They provided a largely qualitative assessment of the likely evolution of factors in non-OECD countries which could influence the movement of people out of these countries, either in the form of intra-regional migration or to OECD countries, through to 2025/2030. The purpose of the push chapter is to give an overview and evaluate the most salient "push" factors in non-OECD countries that will impact on future migration flows, in particular to the OECD area. It was decided by the steering group supporting and guiding the preparations of the experts’ workshop The Future of International Migration to OECD Countries that policies would not be discussed. The so-called Push-Pull Model used in our analysis is the most commonly known theoretical concept, inherent in most economic models on migration. This model delineates the fundamental causes of migration whereby economic factors remain the most important push factors, next to demographic and political factors. Migration is viewed therein as a short-term response to differentials between countries and regions but not as a long-term solution.
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    Scenarios for the Global Economy and Implications for Migration

    The objective of this chapter is to use scenario planning techniques to:
    • Explore how the global economic, political, technological, environmental and social outlook might develop out to 2030
    • Assess the implications for migration from poorer to richer nations, and
    • Examine the particular policy challenges raised for OECD countries.

    Five scenarios are presented. These were created for and then elaborated at a focus group discussion with migration experts organised by the OECD/ IFP secretariat in July 2008. The scenarios were subsequently developed further based on the focus group input. They were then reviewed and discussed at an OECD/IFP expert workshop in December 2008 and refined as a result of those discussions. A fuller description of the scenario development process is set out in Annex 4.A1.

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    Annex A - The Future of International Migration to OECD Countries
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    Annex B - The Future of International Migration to OECD Countries
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