1. Recent developments in international migration movements and labour market inclusion of immigrants

Permanent migration to OECD countries fell sharply in 2020, by more than 30%, and stood well below 4 million (Figure 1.1). This is the lowest level registered since 2003 and the largest drop on record, in both absolute and relative terms. Still, this figure only partially reflects the actual decline in international migration for two reasons. First, and most importantly, permanent migration includes not only new entries, but also changes of status from a temporary to a permanent status. These in-country transitions have been much less affected by the border closures and other measures related to the pandemic – such as the closing of visa offices abroad – than immigration from abroad. The actual drop in new entries was thus much higher than shown in the figure for overall permanent-type migration. Preliminary estimates suggest that the actual drop in permanent-type entries (not including status changes) could be above 40% on average.

Second, several OECD countries report their migration statistics using fiscal years, which do not correspond with calendar years. This is notably the case for Australia. As a result, the decline in migration flows in the calendar year 2020 is only partially mirrored in the 2020 migration statistics for these countries. For Australia, partial data suggest the year-to-year decline of new arrivals from abroad for 2020 was around two-thirds, more than four times the figure reported in Table 1.1, which is based on the 2020 fiscal year and includes onshore status changes.

With 576 000 new lawful permanent immigrants registered, 44% less than in 2019 and the lowest level in the millennium, the United States remains the number one immigration country in the OECD (Table 1.1). On the basis of preliminary estimates, the drop in immigrant inflow was well above 50% when excluding status changes. Germany received 460 000 permanent migrants in 2020, a relatively modest drop compared with other OECD countries (-26%), partly explained by the large share of migration from other EU countries, which declined only by 15%.

The United Kingdom followed with a little less than 250 000 new permanent migrants, around 30% below the 2019 figure. Among the top five OECD countries of destination, France registered the smallest drop (-21%) and received 230 000 new migrants in 2020, putting it in fifth place among the main countries of destination. These figures were of a similar magnitude as the average annual inflows observed at the beginning of the 2010s. Migration to Spain, which had been steadily increasing between 2015 and 2019, suffered a sharp decline in 2020 and stood just above 200 000 (-38%).

Canada, which had reached an all-time high in terms of permanent immigration in 2019, witnessed one of the sharpest drops among OECD countries in 2020 (-46%), with just over 180 000 permanent resident admissions. According to preliminary figures, migration flows to Italy were almost halved, and stood at 100 000 in 2020, which corresponds to levels not seen since the end of the 1990s. The consequences of the measures against COVID-19 have also severely affected migration flows to Japan. They were booming until 2019, having doubled in five years, but the 37% decline reduced them to 86 000 in 2020.

The Netherlands saw a relatively modest decline of permanent inflows in 2020 (-20%, to 121 000), following a record high in 2019. Belgium and Luxembourg had a similar pattern; that is, a rather moderate decrease in 2020 following high immigration in 2019. In Sweden, only 80 000 new permanent migrants were registered in 2020, also a 21% decline compared to 2019. This was the fourth consecutive decline since 2016, suggesting it is also linked with other factors – notably a declining trend in humanitarian migration. Immigration flows to Switzerland have been particularly stable due to the importance of status changes in permanent flows. Since 2010, they have remained within a narrow range (115 000-135 000), and in 2020, they totalled 117 000, down only 4% compared with 2019. The same finding applies to New Zealand, which recorded only a moderate decline (-7% to 36 000), albeit starting from the lowest level in 20 years. After Italy and Canada, Israel recorded the third largest decline in permanent admissions (-41%, to 20 000).

Hungary, according to national data, received 44 000 new migrants in 2020. Despite the 21% decrease, this figure is well above any year prior to 2018. Migration flows to Chile dropped by 39% in 2020 to stand at 155 000.

The only OECD country that registered an increase in permanent migration in 2020 was Mexico. The country had more than 54 000 new permanent migrants, one of the highest figures on record, following a strong increase in humanitarian admissions.

With respect to inflows in per-capita terms, relatively small OECD countries remained on the top of the list (Figure 1.2). Following a high increase in recent years, a number of Central and Eastern European OECD countries are now well above the OECD average. In contrast, following the large decline, Canada was, for the first time ever, below the OECD average in terms of permanent admissions.

Family migration has long been the main category of immigration to OECD countries (Figure 1.3). However, it was the category that was most affected by the decline in permanent migration and dropped by more than 35%, according to partial data. In 2019, family migration was at a relatively high level, representing 36% of total migration flows to OECD, but the pandemic has taken this share down to around 31%. This overall drop is mainly due to the -50% fall recorded in the United States, which accounts for a large share of family migration flows to the OECD (43% of the total in 2019). Canada also admitted far fewer family migrants in 2020 than in 2019 (-46%). Against the overall trend of strong decline in family migration, a few countries registered significant increases, notably Denmark (+24%), Mexico (+21%) and New Zealand (+17%).

On the rise between 2015 and 2019 (Annex Table 1.A.1), labour migration to OECD countries dropped in 2020 but slightly less so than for family migration – partly because of in-country transitions of temporary migrants, which are particularly important for this migration category. While OECD countries received fewer migrant workers (-24%) in 2020 than in 2019, their share in overall migration flows increased by 1 percentage point to 15%. This global trend hides a wide variety of situations across countries. Indeed, in many countries, labour migration was hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis. For example, in the Netherlands, France and Norway, the number of labour migrants shrunk by around a third. In the United States, however, the number of new lawful permanent residents admitted based on work hardly dropped. This can be explained by the fact that most of these permanent permits are delivered in-country, following a status change. For the same reason, the drop was also more modest among labour migrants than among other migrant groups in Australia and Canada.

Migration within free mobility areas has only moderately slowed down in 2020 (-17%). In the European Union, while all countries observed a reduction of this type of migration, this fall did not exceed the -24% registered in Austria. Despite a 15% decline, Germany remained by far the major destination country for EU migrants in 2020. Free mobility flows between Australia and New Zealand have been more severely affected than flows within the European free mobility zone.

According to partial and preliminary data, humanitarian migration to OECD countries fell sharply in 2020 (-23%) and has fallen to a level not seen since 2003. The share of humanitarian admissions among all permanent migration remained below 10% in 2020 (Figure 1.4). In most EU countries, the drop in the number of new admissions of humanitarian migrants remained more modest (less than 20%), as the bulk of admissions under this category are status changes of asylum seekers who were already in the country prior to the pandemic. Indeed, in the Netherlands, there were even more humanitarian admissions in 2020 than in 2019. This was also the case in Mexico. In contrast, the United States and Canada – two countries where the bulk of admissions on humanitarian grounds are from abroad through resettlement – saw a much more severe reduction of humanitarian migration (see further below on resettlement).

The pandemic has highlighted the key role played by migrant workers in industries and sectors that were called upon or bore the brunt of the crisis, but it has also revealed the importance of maintaining certain kinds of temporary worker migration. This applies, in particular, to the most significant category OECD-wide, namely seasonal worker migration. Before COVID-19, a sharp increase was also seen in the number of worker postings within the EU/EFTA.

International seasonal workers meet temporary labour needs, especially in agriculture and tourism, but also in construction, care and the agri-food industry, depending on the national programmes in place. Within the EU/EFTA, labour needs are largely met through free movement, but, in the past few years, bilateral agreements on seasonal worker recruitment have been signed, for example between Germany and Georgia in 2020.

With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing partial closure of national borders and various lockdown measures, international recruitment was primarily needed for harvesting activities in OECD countries.

Overall, it is important to note that, in 2020, inflows of seasonal workers decreased by only 9%, in other words markedly less than permanent migration and all other categories of temporary migration (Figure 1.5). In the top destination countries, that is the United States (213 000 seasonal workers) and Poland (137 000 seasonal workers), there was even a slight increase. On the other hand, a drop in arrivals of seasonal workers was registered in Canada, Australia and Norway, even though, over the previous decade, flows had tended to increase in these countries (Annex Table 1.A.2). The drop was particularly marked in Mexico.

Working holidaymaker programmes for young people play a major role in meeting low-skilled labour needs in Australia and New Zealand, here again in tourism and agriculture. Inflows into Australia under this programme fell by 29% in 2020 (Annex Table 1.A.2). The United States was the second most popular destination country for working holidaymakers in 2019. Youth participating in the Summer Work Travel Program are less present in the agricultural sector and, because of the restrictions associated with the health crisis, only 5 000 young people were recruited in 2020, compared with 108 000 in 2019. In other destination countries, the number of participants in these programmes also fell by at least two-thirds in 2020.

There is a particularly large number of international trainees in Japan, occupying low- or medium-skilled jobs, primarily in industry. Here, new recruitments dropped from 187 000 in 2019 to 79 000 in 2020 (Annex Table 1.A.2). A similar contraction may be seen in other countries with specific international trainee recruitment programmes. There has also been a marked reduction in mobility within multinational corporations as a result of the pandemic: intra-company transfers fell by 53% in 2020, the sole exception being to Poland, where inflows were up by 14% in that year (Annex Table 1.A.2).

Other national programmes exist for recruiting foreign workers (Figure 1.5). Poland, for example, has signed bilateral simplified recruitment programmes with Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine. The great majority of workers employed in Poland under the simplified procedure, in particular in manufacturing, construction and agriculture, as well as administrative services, come from Ukraine. Two years running, the Polish economy recruited at least 1 million workers, and these flows have not been greatly affected by the pandemic.1 Conversely, all other OECD countries registered a sharp reduction in their temporary labour migration, and in particular the biggest recruiters after Poland: the United States (-37%), Australia (-37%), Canada (-43%), Japan (-66%) and Korea (-57%) (Figure 1.5).

In 2019, almost 4.6 million2 postings were registered in the EU/EFTA. At that time, in full-time equivalent terms, they amounted to nearly 0.8% of employment in the region. Posted workers are a special legal category among the temporary movements of workers within the EU/EFTA free movement area. These are employees or self-employed workers who go to another EU/EFTA country to work, while remaining affiliated to the social security system of the member country in which they generally carry out their activity (Regulation (EC) No. 987/2009). This exception aims to limit the administrative burden for employers, workers and social security bodies for short-term assignments. Employed workers may move from one branch to another within the same group or be employed by a temporary employment agency. The posting has to be registered in the country where the worker is affiliated, which means that statistics are available on this arrangement.

A distinction should be made between two different types of postings. Most postings (3.1 million, or 7 out of 10 in 2019) fall under Article 12 of the Regulation and take place in a single other member country, with 40% in the construction sector in 2019. They may not exceed 24 months and, on average, last 115 days, although there are wide variations from one country to another. Table 1.2 shows the trends in this type of posting over the past decade by destination country.

For all other postings, only the country of origin is known, as they either take place within at least two member countries (Article 13), as is the case for 1.3 million postings, or are governed by multilateral agreements (Article 16), for 80 000 postings in 2019 alone. Road transport accounts for 37% of Article 13 postings. This type of posting is not limited in time but, on average, lasts 312 days, or more than twice the length of Article 12 postings. In full-time equivalent terms, the economic importance to the European labour market of these workers, for whom there is no record of the country where they are working, exceeds that of the workers illustrated in Table 1.2.

There was an unprecedented increase in the use of postings in 2019 (+57%) as a result, in particular, of a sharp uptick in the number of postings under Article 12 (+77%). Previously the increase had come from an upward trend in the number of postings under Article 13. This upturn in postings may be explained by both greater familiarity with the procedure by labour-market actors and the introduction in various national legislations of sanctions for non-compliance with the law on posted workers.

As regards countries of origin, across all kinds of postings, Germany took first place in 2019 with 1.8 million postings, compared with less than half a million in the previous year. The upward trend is mainly due to the quadrupling of the number of Article 12 postings. Long the leading country of origin, Poland is now far behind Germany. It registered almost 650 000 postings in 2019, representing an annual increase of 7%. It is followed by Spain, Italy and Austria, from which there were between 200 000 and 250 000 postings each in 2019.

Switzerland and Austria also saw a sharp increase in the numbers registered, albeit at levels far lower than Germany: +152% (72 000 postings), +88% (1900 postings) and +79% (198 000 postings), respectively. Only Ireland and the Slovak Republic saw a small drop in the number of postings from their labour markets in 2019.

Almost half of the EU/EFTA OECD countries saw the number of Article 12 postings in their territories double in 2019 (Table 1.2). Overall, the increase was 79%, compared with 5% in the previous year. Germany is still the top destination country for this category of posted workers, but the increase has not been as great as in other countries. The main posting corridors under Article 12 seen in 2019 were between Germany and Austria (262 000 postings), Germany and France (214 000 postings) and Germany and Switzerland (181 000 postings).

After increasing by nearly 50% on average in the OECD countries over one decade, the number of new permits issued to international students dropped markedly in 2020. The number of first permits fell by nearly 70% in the United States and Canada and 51% in Mexico (Table 1.3). In the European countries for which data are available, the reduction was, on the other hand, close to 40% (excluding internal movements within the EU), with the exception of France, where inflows fell by 19%, and Switzerland, where the inflows were stable. In Australia, the reduction was limited to 29%, as the academic year began in February, before the start of the pandemic. The number of international students present in OECD countries, which was more than 4 million in 2019, is likely to be down in 2020.

The most attractive countries for students are still the United States, which, in 2019, hosted nearly 1 million international students in its higher education institutions, and Australia and the United Kingdom, with approximately half a million each (Table 1.3). In 2020, on the other hand, inflows of new students in the United Kingdom were double those in the United States.

Germany, which saw a rapid increase in student flows in the past decade, now has one-third of a million international students, more than Canada – where inflows have, however, also grown – and France. Japan is the seventh biggest host country for international students.

On average in the OECD, international students accounted for 6% of tertiary students in 2019. The concentration of international students increases with level of study in all countries, with the exception of Australia, where international students account for 56% of Master-level students and 36% of doctoral-level students (Table 1.3). In Luxembourg, Switzerland and New Zealand, the majority of doctoral students are international students, compared with an average of 22% for the OECD.

In 2019, 60% of the 3.7 million holders of study permits in OECD countries came from Asia, particularly China (25%), India (9%) and Vietnam (3%) (Figure 1.6). In the European countries of the OECD, the share of European students among international students (45%) exceeds that of Asian students (29%). The most heavily represented nationalities are German (53 000 students), Chinese (52 000 students) and Ukrainian (40 000 students). France is the only OECD country where more than half of international students are from Africa.

Of the top 20 countries of origin of students registered in an OECD country in 2019, the nationalities that have increased the most since 2013 are Syrian (tenfold increase in numbers and the 20th nationality in 2019), Nepali (tripled, now the 6th nationality), Vietnamese (doubled, 3rd nationality), Indian (doubled, 2nd nationality) and Ukrainian (doubled, 12th nationality).

The COVID-crisis initially led to a sharp drop in asylum seeking. Indeed, the number of new asylum applications in OECD countries fell by 31% in 2020 and amounted to 830 000 (Figure 1.7). This is the sharpest drop since the end of the Balkan crisis in the early 1990s. However, the overall number remained above any year preceding 2014 except 1992. Preliminary data for the first months of 2021 for EU countries indicate that the level remains below the years preceding the pandemic (Box 1.1).

The broad picture in terms of composition by origin countries of asylum seekers remained largely unchanged with the COVID-19 crisis (Table 1.4), suggesting that this crisis affected movements regardless of origin. In fact, the composition changed more between 2018 and 2019 than between 2019 and 2020. In 2020 as in 2019, Venezuela and Afghanistan continued to take the top spots in terms of origin and requests decreased for all countries of origin.

However, three countries witnessed a more moderate decline in 2020. Syria (-13%) is now third (previously fourth), Colombia (-12%) moved up from ninth to sixth position, and Cuba (-11%) has joined the top 10. It is worth noting that the number of applications by Colombians in Spain remained stable in 2020 and that requests by Cuban citizens in the United States increased in 2020 over 2019.

Among the ten main countries of origin in 2019, Nicaragua and Iran also registered sharp declines (-61% and -53%, respectively). Outside of the top 10, Haiti was the main country registering an increase in applications to OECD countries.

Since 2017, the United States has been the OECD country receiving the largest number of asylum seekers. In 2020, more than 250 000 requests were made to the US authorities, down only 17% from 300 000 in 2019 (Annex Table 1.A.5). Over three-quarters of these requests were made by citizens of Latin American and Caribbean countries, in particular Guatemala (36 000), Honduras (31 000), Venezuela and El Salvador (23 000 each).

With 103 000 asylum seekers, Germany was the only other OECD country that received more than 100 000 requests in 2020. Asylum requests from Syrian citizens in Germany fell only slightly (-7%) and those from Afghanistan even increased by 4%. Spain was, for the first time on record, among the top three OECD destination countries, with more than 86 000 asylum seekers. Almost nine out of ten asylum seekers in Spain originate from Latin America and the Caribbean, mainly Venezuela and Colombia. In terms of numbers of asylum requests, France closely followed with 82 000. In France, requests from Albanian and Georgian citizens made up a quarter of those registered in 2019. At the same time, the number of asylum seekers from Afghanistan was stable (+2%). The other OECD countries with more than 20 000 asylum requests registered in 2020 were Mexico (41 200), Greece (37 900), the United Kingdom (36 000), Turkey (31 300), Italy (21 200) and Costa Rica (21 100). Among major recipient countries in 2019, Japan (-62%) and Korea (-57%) registered the strongest declines in 2020.

Overall, since 2008, only one-third of asylum seekers in the EU were women. The figure peaked at 38% in 2019 and declined slightly in 2020 to 36%. Elsewhere, the share of women tends to be higher; women comprise 46% of asylum seekers in Turkey and 41% in Mexico.

Only four OECD countries received more asylum seekers in 2020 than in 2019. The most prominent one is Austria (+20%), where the number of Syrian asylum seekers almost doubled. Colombia also registered an increase (+12%), driven by larger numbers of Venezuelans seeking asylum. Increases were also observed in Chile and the Slovak Republic, albeit with very low absolute numbers.

Nordic countries have long been top host countries of asylum seekers. However, in 2020, these countries received significantly fewer new asylum applications than in previous years. In fact, the year 2020 marks the lowest point in about 15 years for Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway. Sweden nevertheless received a significant number of asylum seekers in 2020, both in absolute and relative terms (1 350 per million inhabitants). The ratios recorded by Denmark (260), Finland and Norway (both at 250) are now well below the OECD average.

Relative to their total population, OECD countries altogether received 623 asylum seekers per million inhabitants in 2020 (Annex Table 1.A.5). With more than 4 000 new requests per million inhabitants, Costa Rica registered – as in 2019 – the highest ratio in 2020. Greece followed closely with 3 630, above Luxembourg (2 080), Spain (1 850), Slovenia (1 670) and Austria (1 440). Among the most important destination countries, some continued to register relatively high ratios, such as France (1 250), Germany (1 220) and the United States (750), while the United Kingdom (530), Canada (500) and Italy (350) stood below the OECD average. Ten OECD countries received fewer than 100 asylum seekers per million inhabitants. Apart from Slovenia, all Central and Eastern European countries are in this group, as well as New Zealand, Portugal, Chile and Japan.

The number of grants of international protection also fell sharply in 2020 (Table 1.5). However, at 18% over 2019, the decline was much more modest than for asylum. The decline was stronger outside of Europe, especially in Australia, Canada and the United States. The latter two countries accounted for more than half of the total decline in the OECD. At the same time, some countries saw a significant increase, especially Greece, Mexico and Spain. Indeed, for these three countries, the number of persons granted protection in 2020 was the highest ever recorded.

Between 2010 and 2019, resettlement programmes have allowed more than 1 million people in need of international protection to be transferred to an OECD country. The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on these programmes has been significant. Figure 1.9 shows that in 2020 only 34 400 refugees were resettled, two-thirds less than in 2019, and the lowest number on record.

The United States, by far the main country of resettlement, admitted only 9 600 refugees, a decline by almost two-thirds compared with 2019. Canada was second to the United States in 2020 with 9 200 resettlements (-69%). Despite a large drop (-80%), Australia remained the third destination with 3 700 arrivals, just above Sweden (3 200 resettled refugees, -39%). Among the countries with more than 1 000 resettled refugees in 2019, only Sweden and Norway managed to realise at least half of the resettlements achieved in 2019. The largest drops in relative terms were registered in the United Kingdom (-85%), Australia (-80%), and the Netherlands and France (both -78%).

Data for 2020 are unfortunately not yet available, but pre-pandemic trends show interesting evolutions of the composition of migration to OECD countries by nationality. China reinforced its position as main nationality of origin of new migrants to OECD countries in 2019 (Figure 1.10). 465 000 Chinese migrants (+35 000 compared to 2018) arrived in OECD countries in 2019, which represents almost 7% of total inflows. This increase is driven by significant growth in the number of Chinese migrants received by Japan and the United Kingdom just before the COVID-19 pandemic. In other main countries of destination, the numbers of new inflows remained stable, notably in Australia and Canada, or even fell slightly, as in the United States.

Migration flows of Indians to OECD countries continued to increase in 2019 (+53 000) and amounted to nearly 400 000 persons. In particular, the number of new Indian migrants increased sharply in the United Kingdom (+30 000), in Canada (+15 000), and to a lesser extent in Germany (+5 000).

Romanians remained the third origin group in 2019 with generally stable migration flows to the main OECD countries of destination, that is Germany (110 000 new migrants) and Italy (39 000). Changes were observed in smaller destination countries like Switzerland (+86% to 4 500) and the Netherlands (+26% to 12 000). Overall, the 290 000 Romanian migrants accounted for 4% of total flows to OECD countries in 2019.

Ukrainians rose to fourth place, as 230 000 Ukrainians immigrated to OECD countries in 2019 (+21% compared to 2018), most of them to Poland (110 000), the Czech Republic (22 000) and Hungary (21 000). Venezuelan and Vietnamese migrants follow closely with respectively 227 000 and 225 000 departures to OECD countries, which corresponds to double-digit increases of emigration flows to OECD countries.

Lawful migration flows of Mexicans to the United States, which account for almost 90% of overall OECD immigration of Mexicans, declined for the third consecutive year and stood at 156 000. Migration of Filipinos to OECD countries increased only slightly (+2%), but Filipinos moved up three places in the ranking of the most important origin nationalities due to the drop in emigration of Italian (-5%), Polish (-8%) and Iraqi nationals (-28%).

Other significant trends in 2019 include the continued rise of migration flows of Brazilians, Moroccans, and Colombians, and the continued decrease of inflows of Syrians.

Most of the countries with high expatriation rates of their citizens to OECD countries are in South Eastern Europe (Annex Table 1.A.6). Albania (18 departures for 1 000 inhabitants), Romania (15), Bulgaria (13), Bosnia and Herzegovina (12), Croatia (11) and North Macedonia (11), all registered ratios above 10. Among countries with a population over 20 million, the highest ratios are observed for Venezuela (8), Ukraine (5) and Morocco (4).

The total foreign-born population living in OECD countries rose to 136 million in 2020 (Figure 1.11). On average, this represents an increase of 2.5% per year since 2000. Of these 136 million foreign-born, a third live in the United States, and almost 50% live in a European OECD country. The growth rate has fluctuated over the past two decades. Between 2000 and 2005, the foreign-born population grew by around 4% annually, before slowing down to 3% between 2005 and 2010 and to around 2% per year between 2010 and 2015 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. The growth rate has, however, rebounded in European OECD countries due to the increase of migrants arriving in the region in 2014-15. Since 2015, the foreign-born population in this region has grown by 3% per year. This corresponds to an increase of around 15% in the foreign-born population in 2020 compared with 2015.

Over the last decade, the foreign-born population has increased in most OECD countries. On average, the foreign-born population accounted for 14% of the population in the OECD area in 2020, up from 11.9% in 2010. With the exception of the Baltic States and Israel, all countries contributed to this growth, and five countries saw the share of their foreign-born population grow by more than 5 percentage points over the period. The highest growth was recorded in Luxembourg (up by 9 percentage points), Iceland (8 points) and Sweden (6 points). For Iceland, this meant that the foreign-born population almost doubled between 2010 and 2020.

Countries with historically small shares of foreign-born also experienced a growth in their foreign-born population. Indeed, relative to the initial foreign-born population, the growth tends to be much larger in these countries. For example, Chile saw its foreign-born population increase by four times between 2010 and 2019 (from 2% to 8% of the population). In Hungary, the share rose by 50% from 2010 to 2020 (from 4% to 6% of the population). Similar increases in relative terms were also observed in other Central and Eastern European countries.

As in previous years, the proportion of foreign-born is highest in Luxembourg (48% of the total population), followed by Australia and Switzerland (both 30%), and New Zealand (27%).

Men have traditionally outnumbered women in migration flows and this continues to be the case even if the situation varies across OECD countries. In 2019, men represented on average more than 56% of new migrants to the OECD area (see Figure 1.13). The share was the same as the year before but slightly higher than what was registered over the period 2013-18 (+1.5 percentage points). Central and Eastern European countries, which already had a disproportionately high share of men among migrant inflows, saw the share of men rising further. At the same time, in 2019, the share of migrant women was higher than ever before in both Australia and the United States (both 54%). The share of women was also higher than before in the United Kingdom (52%).

Differences in the share of women in migration flows over time and across countries can partly be explained by the different categories of entry characterising the respective flows. Migration to the United States, for example, consists largely of family migration – a category among which women are overrepresented. About 60% of all family migrants to the OECD are women.

For many years, men had represented the large majority of new migrants to Italy. However, the share of men has been falling since 2017. In 2019, one in two migrants was female. The proportion of women has also increased in Poland and the Slovak Republic – countries which saw an increase of 3 percentage points from the 2013-18 average. Despite the increase in Poland, the share of women remains low (42%), reflecting the predominance of labour migration in sectors where men are largely overrepresented.

In 2019, the highest share of men was observed in Lithuania, where men constituted 90% of all new migrants. In many other Central and Eastern European countries, the proportion of men among new migrants exceeded 60%. This is the case of Slovenia and Latvia, where men’s share was particularly high (74% and 76%, respectively), as well as in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Germany. Apart from Germany, these are all countries which have not been longstanding countries of immigration. The high share of men among new migrants in Germany is linked with the fact that migrant flow statistics in Germany include many short-term movements, among whom men are overrepresented.

Overall, only six OECD countries received more migrant women than men: the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Israel, Italy and Canada. Apart from Italy, the gender balance has been relatively stable in these countries for many years, again reflecting the importance of family migration to these countries (both accompanying family and family reunification).

Family migrants also tend to stay longer, which partly also explains why the share of women among the total immigrant population is higher in most countries than among the inflow of migrants; women also tend to live longer (Figure 1.14). Indeed, whereas men account for the bulk of new immigrants in the majority of OECD countries, the majority of resident immigrants in most OECD countries are women. Across countries, there is also much less disparity with respect to the gender composition among resident immigrants than among new migrants. With respect to resident migrants, all countries are in a relatively narrow range of 40%-60% for each gender.

The annual global figure for acquisitions of citizenship has fluctuated around 2 million (Figure 1.15). In 2019, 2.2 million people became a citizen of an OECD country; this is more people than ever, representing a 12% increase compared to 2018. European OECD countries granted 42% of this total (918 000) and the United States 38% (843 000).

In 2019, the largest absolute increase in acquisition of citizenship was registered in the United States (+81 600 to 843 000). Among these newly naturalised Americans, 14% came from Mexico, followed by India, the Philippines and China. Canadian nationality was also granted in high numbers in 2019, with grants rising to 250 000 (+42%). The main countries of former nationality were the Philippines, India and Iran.

Increases in acquisitions of citizenship were also noticeable in Poland and Australia. In Poland, the number increased rapidly from 4 600 in 2018 to 12 900 in 2019. The majority were Ukrainian citizens. Acquisitions of Australian citizenship went up by 58% in 2019 to 127 700. Recent data shows that the highest level ever was reached in 2020 when 205 000 people became Australian (up by 60% from 2019). Of the new Australian citizens in 2019, 14% were born in the Philippines, 13% in India, and 5% each in Iran and China.

Other notable increases occurred in Norway (+27%) and the Netherlands (+22%). In Norway, more than one in five new citizens were Somalian citizens. Conversely, Chile and Greece registered the largest relative declines in 2019 (down by 80% and 41%, respectively). Over the past two decades, the granting of Danish citizenship has steadily declined in association with a tightening of access to citizenship. It fell to its lowest level on record in 2019.

Looking at acquisitions of citizenship as a percentage of the foreign population, Canada is the leading OECD country with more than 10% of its foreign residents being granted Canadian citizenship in 2019 (Figure 1.16). Sweden, ranked second in 2019 with 7.2%. With 5.4% of the foreign population acquiring citizenship during the year, Poland climbed from 14th to third place. At 5%, Portugal came in fourth, followed by Luxembourg at 4%.

For those countries for which 2020 data are already available, the numbers of acquisitions have decreased by 17% compared to 2019. This is, however, largely due to the major drop in absolute numbers in the United States, where naturalisations fell by 327 000 to reach their lowest level since 2003 at 520 000. Part of the decline seems due to delays in the administration of naturalisations due to COVID-19 – related office closures that led naturalisation interviews to be postponed. The numbers have also fallen in other longstanding migration destinations such as in Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

On the other hand, the acquisition of citizenship has risen by more than 25% in a third of the countries for which 2020 data are available, including Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

India was the main country of origin of naturalised OECD citizens in 2019, with about 156 000 cases. Four out of ten became US citizens, and around 20% became Canadian citizens and a further 20% British citizens.

The number of Mexican citizens who acquired the nationality of an OECD country has increased sharply from 71 000 in 2010 to reach 129 000 in 2019 (+ 81%). The overwhelming majority (95%) became US citizens. The Philippines, China and Morocco follow as the other main nationalities of origin (see Figure 1.17). These five countries were also among the top five origin countries in 2010. Slight changes have happened down the top 20 list since 2010. The number of naturalised Cubans has doubled since 2010, while the numbers have fallen for Turkish and Colombian nationals. In 2019, only  38 000 Turkish and 32 000 Colombian citizens naturalised (down by 35% and 37%, respectively, compared with 2010).

Following the large inflows of Syrians in light of the civil war in Syria and the following humanitarian migration around 2015, growing numbers are becoming eligible for citizenship of their OECD host countries. This has led to a sharp increase in the naturalisation of Syrian citizens. In 2019, around 41 000 Syrians became naturalised (one in two became Swedish citizens), compared with 6 200 in 2010.

In 2019, around 25 000 nationals of the United Kingdom obtained citizenship from an EU OECD country. That figure was the highest on record and 15 times higher than in 2015, the year before the Brexit vote (see Figure 1.18). The increasing trend accelerated between 2018 and 2019. For example, citizenship take-up more than doubled in Germany from 6 600 in 2018 to 14 600 in 2019. It also almost tripled in Sweden, to 5 000, and increased by more than 50% in Belgium, to more than 1 600. Finland and Austria, too, registered sharp increases, although at lower levels.

Concurrently, the number of EU citizens who have obtained British nationality has never been higher than in 2019 (48 500; Figure 1.19). This is four times higher than in 2015. For Italian and German citizens, the number of naturalisations was seven times higher in 2019 than in 2015; it was six times higher for Spanish and French citizens. Naturalisations of Polish and Romanian citizens also increased, but only by a factor of two and three, respectively – albeit from higher initial levels. The higher uptake among the former nationalities largely reflects their earlier period of immigration. While relative to the 2015 figures, the increase in UK citizenship take-up for EU nationals in 2019 was lower than the take-up of citizenship of an EU country in 2019 by UK nationals, it was higher in absolute terms.

In 2020, the world had to deal with its most serious pandemic for a century. The public health measures taken by all OECD countries to limit the spread of COVID-19 produced a sharp contraction in economic activity (OECD, 2020[1]), which affected the whole of the population, but in particular the most vulnerable groups, including migrants. For the latter, the economic crisis that began in 2020 put an end to a decade of progress on the labour market.

Labour market outcomes of migrants are more sensitive to cyclical variations than those of the native-born. In a period of expansion, the gap between the employment rate for migrants and the native-born tends to diminish. Conversely, during a period of economic contraction, migrants are often the first to lose their jobs and have more difficulty finding a new one.

Between 2000 and 2007-08, the migrant employment rate improved in all countries. In the EU27, for example, it increased from 57% in 2002 to 64% in 2008 (Figure 1.20), a level very close to that registered for the native-born (66%). The unemployment rate, which also dropped, nevertheless remained well above the native-born rate (12% compared with 7%, see Annex Figure 1.A.1).

Following the economic crisis of 2007-08, the employment situation deteriorated rapidly for both groups in most countries. The trend in the employment and unemployment rates was roughly of the same order for native-born people and migrants in the non-European countries and the United Kingdom. On the other hand, within the EU27, migrants suffered more from the economic crisis, because in general they are highly concentrated in industries that are most sensitive to business-cycle fluctuations (particularly construction and the manufacturing industry in 2007-08), more often under a fixed-term contract and with less job seniority (OECD, 2009[2]). As a result, the gap between the employment rate for migrants and the native-born doubled between 2008 and 2012. Since then, it has remained at 4 to 5 percentage points, despite the upturn in employment from 2013 onwards.

From 2010-11 onwards, there was a steady improvement in employment in most of the OECD countries, together with a reduction in the gaps between migrants and the native-born. In Europe, the migrant employment rate touched 65% in 2019, a level unseen in decades. The same holds true for Australia, where the migrant employment rate reached 72% in 2019, and for Canada, where it was as high as 73%. In the United States, where, since 2004, the migrant employment rate has been higher than the rate for the native-born, the former returned to the record level of 2006 (72%). In the United Kingdom, the employment rate of both EU migrants (82%) and non-EU migrants (70%) reached their highest levels since the 2004 EU enlargement.

The economic crisis associated with the COVID-19 pandemic brought these trends to an abrupt halt. In the United States, the employment rate for migrants in 2020 is the lowest recorded since data on this indicator have been available (2002). In the EU, the migrant employment rate returned to the 2009 level, still higher than that of the early 2000s, when the immigrant population was characterised by a high level of inactivity among women. Only the United Kingdom bucks this trend, with an increase in employment rates in 2020 (based on provisional data),3 in essence due to selective departures (see below).

In 2020, labour market outcomes generally worsened in all OECD countries, both for the native-born and for migrants. However, the impact of the crisis differed widely from one country to another, depending on the success and extent of employment support mechanisms. On average, within the OECD area, the migrant employment rate fell from 69.2% to 67.34%, while their unemployment rate increased from 8.3% to 10% (Table 1.6). In the EU27, the migrant employment rate dropped from 65.2% to 63.1%, and their unemployment rate increased from 11.1% to 12.4%. On average in the OECD in 2020, the migrant employment rate was lower by 1.8 percentage points than the rate for the native-born, and the unemployment rate was 3.4 percentage points higher. The gap reached 5.2 percentage points and 6 percentage points, respectively, within the EU. However, these trends are less dramatic than those seen after the 2007-08 crisis, when, in 2009, the migrant employment rate dropped by 3 percentage points and the unemployment rate rose by 3 percentage points.

The migrant employment rate fell substantially in three out of five OECD countries, and the unemployment rate increased significantly for three out of four. The situation deteriorated most markedly in the Nordic countries (with the exception of Denmark and Finland), Southern Europe (apart from Greece), Hungary and the Slovak Republic, the Baltic countries and the OECD countries in the Americas (Table 1.6). In Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, the United States and Canada, where job retention schemes, if any, were modest (OECD, 2020[3]), the migrant employment rate declined by 4.7 to 7.1 percentage points – figures notably higher than those for the native-born.

A clear increase in the gap in the unemployment rate according to place of birth may also be seen in Europe, particularly when migrants are heavily overrepresented in short-term contracts. This is the case, in particular, in Spain, where the migrant unemployment rate increased six times more than for the native-born. A similar situation is seen in Sweden, with an increase four times higher. The overexposure of migrants to cyclical variations in the labour market may be partly attributable to their concentration in specific sectors (Annex Table 1.A.6), in particular hospitality (hotels and restaurants), the sector most seriously affected by the economic crisis associated with the COVID-19 pandemic (Box 1.2).

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, it should be noted that the migrant employment rate has not substantially changed in two out of five OECD countries (one-quarter of countries as regards the unemployment rate). In Poland and Greece, labour market indicators for migrants have actually improved. In Poland, however, the migrant employment rate increased even as total migrant employment fell by 15%, as a result of major outflows from the labour market or the country, or from a drop in temporary migration.

The situation is similar in the United Kingdom, where the migrant employment rate also increased by 1 percentage point in 2020 (Table 1.6), while migrant employment declined. In the United Kingdom, the increase in the employment rate is due, in particular, to an increase in departures by nationals of EU member countries against the background of an economic crisis and the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU. The employed population born in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe fell by 17% in 2020, compared with -4% for those born outside the EU. However, in the United Kingdom, the migrant unemployment rate was higher in 2020 than it was in 2019.

For other countries, such as France or Switzerland, on the other hand, stable labour market indicators reflect the absence of a major impact so far of the crisis on labour market integration of migrants. These two countries are among those that implemented the most far-reaching job retention schemes: at least 45% of employees were supported by these schemes during the pandemic (OECD, 2020[3]). A similar situation may be seen in other contexts in the Czech Republic and Denmark.

In almost two out of five OECD countries, migrants are more likely to remain in employment than the native-born. This is particularly the case in countries where a large share of the flows is made up of labour migration from nearby countries and free movement, as in Central Europe (in particular Poland and the Czech Republic), Luxembourg and also Portugal, where the gap is greater than 5 percentage points in favour of migrants. This is also the case outside Europe, in Latin American countries and New Zealand.

Beyond the changes measured by the unemployment or employment rates, in highly unfavourable economic conditions and a difficult public health situation, some working age people may be discouraged or prevented from seeking employment and therefore be regarded as inactive. This “unemployment halo” effect (or involuntary inactivity) intensified during the lockdowns introduced to tackle the pandemic.

Along these lines, between 2019 and 2020, the participation rate fell significantly in half of all OECD countries. In one-third of these countries, most of the net job losses resulted in situations of inactivity and not of unemployment. This is the case, in particular, in the countries of Latin America, Southern Europe, Belgium and Ireland. This trend is especially marked in the case of immigrants in Italy, where there is a concurrent drop in the employment rate (-3 percentage points), the unemployment rate (-0.5 percentage points) and the participation rate (-3.9 percentage points).

By contrast, the sudden deterioration in the conditions on the labour market may prompt certain people who were previously unlikely to seek work to look for additional household income. This is why, during the economic crisis of 2007-08, an increase in the participation rate of immigrant women could be seen in several OECD countries (OECD, 2009[2]). A similar trend seems to be emerging in several Nordic countries, some Baltic countries, the United Kingdom and Slovenia, where the participation rate for immigrant women increased from 1.8 to 3.5 percentage points in 2020, leading to an increase in both employment and unemployment.

Figure 1.22 shows the changes in employment rates by gender, age, level of education and length of stay in the EU27, Australia, Canada and the United States. There is an apparent deterioration in the employment situation between 2019 and 2020 of all groups, but to different degrees.

The lower employment rate observed in most OECD countries seems to have affected immigrant men and women in a relatively similar way, except in Canada, where the employment rate for immigrant women declined by more than half a percentage point more than for their male counterparts.

The structural difference in the male and female employment rates is much greater for migrants than for the native-born, with a gap of more than 10 percentage points in most OECD countries (Annex Figure 1.A.2). This is particularly so in the United States, where the employment rate for immigrant women is 22 percentage points lower than for their male counterparts (compared with 7 percentage points for the native-born). In Australia, although the gap in the male-female migrant employment rate has fallen to its lowest level for 20 years (14 percentage points), it is still almost three times higher than that of the native-born (a gap of 5 percentage points, halved in about 10 years). In the EU27, the male-female gap shrank to its lowest level for the native-born in 2020. It remains wide (9 percentage points), although not as wide as for migrants (16 percentage points). It should be noted that the COVID-19 pandemic did not disproportionately worsen the situation of immigrant women on the labour market.

In most of the OECD, migrants of all age groups suffered more from the deterioration in the employment situation than their native-born counterparts. Young people are often the first to be affected during a recession, not least because transitioning from the school system to employment becomes more difficult, but also because, at the start of their working life, they are more likely to be on a fixed-term contract. However, in Europe, the United States and Australia at least, the impact of the pandemic on the integration of young migrants into employment is dissimilar to that on prime-aged workers. In these countries, the labour market adjustment, however, partly occurred at the intensive (number of hours worked) rather than extensive (employment) margin: on average in the OECD, the number of hours worked by young people dropped by 26% in the second quarter of 2020, almost twice the decline of their prime-aged counterparts (OECD, 2021[5]). As regards employment of young migrants, Canada stands out with a spectacular drop of nearly 8 percentage points in the employment rate, almost twice that for other workers. That said, there is no significant gap between young migrants and young native-born people.

For young people under 25 years old, the share of the population not in education, employment or training (NEET rate) is a useful additional indicator to assess the risk of exclusion from the labour market. In North America, the NEET rate for young migrants, which had been steadily declining since 2010, increased sharply following the deterioration in the employment situation between 2019 and 2020, rising from 13% to 18% in the United States and to 19% in Canada. These are the highest levels seen over the past 15 years (Figure 1.23).

By contrast, the NEET rate for young migrants in the EU27 (19%) and the United Kingdom (12%) increased only slightly, remaining well below its level at the start of the 2010 decade, when it rose as high as 23% in the EU and 15% in the United Kingdom. Although it is still high (+7 percentage points), the gap with young native-born people actually diminished slightly in 2020 in the EU27.

Unlike the countries of North America, where the increase in NEETs came primarily from job losses, in Europe young people were often able to benefit from job retention schemes (OECD, 2021[6]). The increase in the NEET rate may also have been mitigated by a strong increase in enrolment for training or studies during the pandemic period.

A closer look at labour market outcomes between 2019 and 2020 also shows that older migrants (55-64) saw a deterioration in their situation as regards employment, but to a lesser extent than their younger counterparts (Figure 1.22). In this age group too, the fall in the employment rate was more marked for migrants than for the native-born, in particular in the United States and Australia.

Labour market outcomes deteriorated across all levels of education, both for the foreign-born and for the native-born. The employment rate for medium-educated people, however, was the most severely affected. Overall, the employment rate declined less for tertiary graduates, the great majority of whom were able to continue with their employment by teleworking (Yasenov, 2020[7]).

However, Figure 1.22 identifies disparities according to place of birth, irrespective of the level of education attained. In Canada, the decline in the employment rate proved slightly higher for migrants at all levels of education. The same findings apply, more markedly, within the EU. For instance, the employment rate for tertiary-educated migrants fell by 1.4 percentage points in 2020, whereas it remained more or less stable for native-born tertiary-educated. Conversely, in the United States, tertiary-educated migrants fared better on the labour market than their native-born counterparts (-3.1 percentage points compared with -3.6 percentage points).

Paradoxically, recent migrants (present in the host country for less than five years) suffered less from the deterioration in the employment situation than long-established migrants. Thus, within the EU27, the employment rate for these newcomers fell by 1 percentage point in 2020, while the rate for settled migrants decreased by 2.3 percentage points (Figure 1.22). The gap is of the same order of magnitude in the United States, whereas in Canada, the decline in the employment rate for recent migrants (-1.3 percentage points) is one-quarter that of their counterparts who have been settled there for more than five years. The number of recent migrants in employment, on the other hand, dropped by nearly 10% in Europe in 2020, compared with -2% for settled migrants. These decreases were -36% compared with -5%, respectively, in the United States.

These trends should be interpreted cautiously, because they do not necessarily indicate greater resilience of new arrivals on the labour market but could, on the contrary, reflect higher, selective return rates in the event of job loss.

Labour market outcomes for migrants range widely depending on region of origin. There may be several reasons behind this. Characteristics of the migrant population vary depending on the region of origin: composition by gender, age, level of education and migratory categories is heterogeneous from one region to another (d’Aiglepierre et al., 2020[8]). Further, geographical and sociocultural proximity and linguistic differences potentially have a major impact on migrant integration. According to the different indicators set out in Table 1.7, a large majority of migrants, irrespective of their regions of origin, saw their labour market outcomes worsen in 2020. However, the scale of the deterioration differs appreciably from one region to another.

Within the EU27, migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean and those from the Middle East saw a decline of at least 3 percentage points in their employment rates, largely as a result of an increase in unemployment, but also following a transition to inactivity. For nationals from the Middle East, whose employment rate was as low as 54% in 2020, efforts made in the past few years to facilitate the integration of recently arrived humanitarian migrants appear to have been hindered by pandemic-related difficulties.

Conversely, immigrants from North and sub-Saharan Africa have seen only a slight decline in employment, accompanied, moreover, by a reduction in the unemployment rate among immigrants from Africa. Most job losses in these groups have therefore led to people either leaving the labour market to become inactive, or returning to their country of origin.

However, along with immigrants from the Middle East, people originating from North Africa are still the group that has the greatest difficulty in accessing the labour market in the EU: just over half of them were in employment in 2020, compared with approximately two-thirds of immigrants as a whole. They are also more often inactive (38.1%) and more affected by unemployment (17.5%). In the United Kingdom, the migrant employment rate improved for most groups, except for Europeans (-0.7 percentage points) and for nationals of North Africa (-6 points). By contrast, the employment rate for South Americans and Asians increased by 4.8 and 3.6 percentage points, respectively. These contrasting trends are partly attributable to effects of the composition of the migrant population in the United Kingdom.

In the United States, migrants have seen their unemployment rate more than double over the 2019-20 period, irrespective of origin (Table 1.7). The unemployment rate for most migrants rose to a higher level than that of the native-born in the United States. The migrants who suffered most from the deterioration in the employment situation are those with the lowest education level on average, in particular people born in South America, the Caribbean and Africa. Migrants originating from Mexico lost 5.7 percentage points, falling to an employment rate of 65.3%. The drop was even more marked for migrants from Central America, South America and the Caribbean, and from Africa (-6.5 percentage points for the three groups). Only migrants originating from Canada and Europe, for whom the unemployment rate remained below 7.5% in 2020, held up relatively better. On average, Canadian immigrants in the United States even fare better than Canadians who stay in their own country.

Unlike their counterparts living in the United States, migrants from South America and the Caribbean in Canada were less severely affected by the consequences of COVID-19. Like them, migrants from sub-Saharan Africa saw a less severe drop in their employment rate than people born in Canada (-2.9 percentage points compared with -4.4 percentage points). Conversely, migrants from the Middle East and Asia saw the sharpest deterioration in their employment situation. In the end, in 2020, the employment rate for the native-born remained higher than for most migrant groups, with the exception of Europeans and people born in South America and the Caribbean (Table 1.7).

In Australia, migrants of all origins have relatively similar or even better labour market indicators than the native-born. The only exception to this finding are migrants from the Middle East and North Africa, for whom the employment rate was barely over 50% – more than 20 percentage points lower than for other migrants and the native-born. The employment rate for migrants from Europe, the Americas and Oceania, for their part, stayed above 75% (or, at least 2 percentage points higher than for the native-born), despite the effects of the crisis.


[8] d’Aiglepierre, R. et al. (2020), “A global profile of emigrants to OECD countries: Younger and more skilled migrants from more diverse countries”, OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 239, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/0cb305d3-en.

[9] De Wispelaere, F., L. De Smedt and J. Pacolet (2020), Posting of workers: Report on A1 Portable Documents issued in 2019, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, http://dx.doi.org/10.2767/487681.

[5] OECD (2021), OECD Employment Outlook 2021: Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis and Recovery, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5a700c4b-en.

[6] OECD (2021), What have countries done to support young people in the COVID-19 crisis?, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/ac9f056c-en.

[4] OECD (2020), International Migration Outlook 2020, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/ec98f531-en.

[3] OECD (2020), “Job retention schemes during the COVID-19 lockdown and beyond”, OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19), OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/0853ba1d-en.

[1] OECD (2020), OECD Employment Outlook 2020: Worker Security and the COVID 19 Crisis, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/1686c758-en.

[2] OECD (2009), International Migration Outlook 2009, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/migr_outlook-2009-en.

[10] Office for National Stastistics (United Kingdom) (2021), Labour Force Survey weighting methodology, https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/methodologies/labourforcesurveyweightingmethodology.

[7] Yasenov, V. (2020), “Who Can Work from Home?”, IZA Discussion Paper Series 13197, http://www.iza.org (accessed on 15 September 2020).


← 1. Across all programmes, Poland recruited 980 000 workers from abroad in 2019 and 2020. This figure does not include permit renewals from one year to the next. Certain categories of persons who may go to work in Poland without needing to apply for a permit, such as people of Polish origin holding the Polish Card (Karta Polaka), are also not registered.

← 2. See De Wispelaere, De Smedt and Pacolet (2020[9]) for a full set of statistics on postings in the EU/EFTA.

← 3. Labour Force Survey data for the United Kingdom uses weights provided to Eurostat in October 2020. The population data used to produce labour market estimates are being updated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to better reflect changes in international migration and other impacts as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A model has therefore been developed, using information from the payroll tax system, to provide improved population weights for labour market estimates from 2020. The model has been tested against existing data and will be applied in labour market publications on the second half of 2021. See Office for National Statistics (United Kingdom) (2021[10]) for more details.

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