copy the linklink copied!Chapter 1. Recent developments in international migration movements and policies

This chapter provides an overview of recent developments in international migration in OECD countries. After a brief review of developments in migration flows in 2018, based on preliminary data, it provides a detailed analysis of the trends in permanent migration from 2007 to 2017, by country and category – migration for work, for family or humanitarian purposes, and migration within free movement areas. The next section addresses temporary migration for work purposes, including seasonal workers, intra-company transferees, posted workers, trainees and working holidaymakers. The chapter then examines international student mobility and recent trends in asylum requests in OECD countries. It then looks at the composition of migration flows by gender and by country of origin, the evolution of the size of foreign-born populations, and trends in the acquisition of nationality across OECD countries. The chapter concludes with a section on policies, covering the main 2017-18 changes made to migration management frameworks.

    

The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

copy the linklink copied!Introduction

This chapter offers an overview of the most recent trends in international migration flows and policies. The first part of the chapter examines flows according to category of entry: (i) permanent movements broken down into labour, family, humanitarian and free mobility; (ii) the main channels of temporary labour migration: seasonal workers, working holidaymakers, trainees, intracompany transferees and posted workers; (iii) international mobility of foreign students; and (iv) asylum seekers. The second part of the chapter gives an overview of foreign-born populations, migration flows and naturalisation, by origin and demographics. The third part of the chapter deals with major recent developments in policies that regulate the entry and stay of foreign nationals in OECD countries.

copy the linklink copied!Main findings

  • After a 4% drop between 2016 and 2017, permanent migration flows to OECD countries started to rise again in 2018 (+2%) and amounted to approximately 5.3 million new permanent immigrants, according to preliminary data.

  • Accounting for around 40% of new permanent migrants in OECD countries in 2017, family migration (family reunification, family formation, as well as accompanying family of workers) remained by far the most important migration channel. Labour migration to OECD countries increased by 6% and accounted for 11% of total flows.

  • By contrast, the number of new residence titles for refugees and other migrants who have been granted international protection in OECD countries, declined sharply by 28% and accounted for only 14% of the total. Migration movements within free circulation areas (28% of total flows) fell for the first time since 2009, by 4%.

  • More than 4.9 million labour migrants entered OECD countries through temporary migration programmes in 2017, an 11% increase over 2016.

  • For the second consecutive year, Poland was the top OECD destination for temporary labour migrants, with 1.1 million new authorisations delivered to non-EU workers and 21 000 intra-EU posted workers. The United States remained the second most popular destination, with 691 000 new temporary workers in 2017.

  • Intra-EU/EFTA posted workers represented the main recruitment channel of temporary workers with almost 2.7 million postings. With around 800 000 new work authorisations granted in 2017 (+16% compared with 2016), seasonal programmes were the second largest channel for temporary labour migration.

  • The number of asylum applications in OECD countries decreased further in 2018, with 1.09 million applications, compared with 1.26 million in 2017 and with the record-high number of applications in 2015 and 2016 (1.65 million each).

  • Both European and non-European OECD countries witnessed a decrease in the number of asylum applications in 2018: -10% and -17%, respectively. The United States remained for the second year in a row the main destination of asylum seekers in the OECD with 254 000 new applications, followed by Germany (162 000) and Turkey (83 000). The number of Syrian nationals in Turkey (most of whom obtain temporary protection without requiring the submission of an asylum application) increased by about 156 000 (from 3.47 million in January 2018 to 3.62 million in December 2018).

  • The top three origin countries for asylum seekers accounted for only 20% of all applications, compared with 25% in 2017 and 43% in 2016. Afghanistan and Syria remained the two main countries of origin, followed by Iraq and Venezuela .

  • In 2016, the number of international students enrolled in tertiary education across the OECD area increased by 7%, from 3.3 million to over 3.5 million.

  • International students accounted for an average of 9% of all OECD tertiary-level students in 2016, but for a full 15% of all enrolments in master’s programmes and 24% of PhD enrolments.

  • The total foreign-born population living in OECD countries rose to 129 million people in 2018, a 2% increase compared with 2017.

  • Between 2000 and 2018, the increase in the foreign-born population accounted for more than three-quarters of the total population increase in European OECD countries, and for almost 40% of the increase in the United States.

  • Countries continue to adjust the criteria upon which their labour migration programmes are based, thereby ensuring a better selection to fill their skills needs. Several countries have modified their points systems to this end.

  • A number of countries have reformed their investor programmes and/or have created new programmes for start-up founders; concerning the latter, half of OECD member countries now have such programmes.

  • Family reunification procedures have in many cases been made more restrictive or subject to additional conditions.

  • Changes in asylum policies aim to streamline and accelerate asylum procedures. Measures include better use of reception centres and facilities; deployment of new technology for improving identification and closing of potential loopholes; and development of new procedures.

  • One longstanding trend in OECD countries has been to increase the post-graduation extension of residence for international students. This trend continued in 2018, although some countries also reinforced control mechanisms to prevent abuse.

copy the linklink copied!Recent trends in international migration

The first part of this section covers permanent-type migration according to category of entry (labour, family, humanitarian, as well as migration under free mobility agreements). It is followed by an overview of the main channels of temporary labour migration, as well as other types of temporary migration (study and asylum).

The data presented in this section do not necessarily equate with the number of new arrivals in OECD countries. Beyond individuals who have been granted the right to permanent residence upon entry, as well as those admitted with a permit of limited duration that is more or less indefinitely renewable, permanent-type migration also includes individuals already present in the host country whose legal status changed from temporary to permanent.1

By contrast temporary-type migration, which is described in the next section, refers to individuals who enter the country on a permit that is either not renewable or renewable on a limited basis only (excluding tourist and business reasons as well as unauthorised movements).

Preliminary trends in permanent-type migration to OECD countries in 2018

After the decline recorded in 2017 largely due to the drop in the number of humanitarian migrant inflows, migration flows to OECD countries started to rise again in 2018 (+2%) and amounted to about 5.3 million new permanent immigrants (Figure 1.1). Permanent migration to the United States dropped by 3% in 2018 (Annex Table 1.A.2), with around 1.1 million persons obtaining lawful permanent resident status. Inflows into Germany declined by 2% in 2018 but remained higher than in any year prior to 2015.

Admissions of permanent residents in Canada rose sharply to reach more than 320 000. The United Kingdom received fewer new migrants in 2018 than in 2017, with a more pronounced decline among migrants from other EU countries. In France, permits granted to non-EU nationals continued to increase to just over 250 000 in 2018.

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Figure 1.1. Permanent migration flows to OECD countries, 2009-18
Figure 1.1. Permanent migration flows to OECD countries, 2009-18

Note: Data for 2008 to 2017 is the sum of standardised figures for countries where they are available (accounting for 95% of the total), and unstandardised figures for other countries. Data relating to 2018 are estimated based on growth rates published in official national statistics.

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988734

Austria and Sweden, both of which received large numbers of humanitarian migrants in recent years, saw overall inflows decreasing in 2018. Norway and Denmark also witnessed lower inflows in 2018 than in 2017. Conversely, large increases in migration flows were registered in Korea and Spain and, to a lesser extent, in Japan. Indeed, in these three countries, immigration flows in 2018 were almost twice the level observed at the beginning of the 2010s. Migration to Mexico, Ireland and Israel also increased sharply in 2017.

Final data for permanent-type migration flows in 2017 by category of entry

As pointed out in the previous edition of this publication, permanent-type migration flows to OECD countries slowed down in 2017 (-6%) to 5.2 million new migrants. This decrease is mostly due to the sharp drop of humanitarian migration (-28%) and, to a lesser extent, to a lower number of migration movements within free mobility areas (-5%).

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Table 1.1. Inflows of permanent immigrants into OECD countries, 2010-17

2010 

2011 

2012 

2013 

2014 

2015 

2016 

2017 

Variation (%)

  

2017/16

Standardised statistics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United States

1 043.3

1 062.4

1 031.9

990.8

1 016.5

1 051.0

1 183.5

1 127.2

-5

Germany

222.5

290.8

400.2

468.8

574.5

686.0

1 052.8

860.1

-18

United Kingdom

448.7

339.8

287.0

295.1

350.0

369.9

351.0

342.2

-3

Spain

280.4

273.2

196.3

285.7

275.2

276.3

299.2

324.1

+8

Canada

281.3

249.3

258.3

262.8

261.4

275.9

296.4

286.5

-3

France

220.4

226.6

244.5

254.4

250.7

255.4

258.8

258.8

+0

Australia

208.5

219.5

245.1

254.4

231.0

226.2

227.0

218.1

-4

Italy

445.3

375.3

308.1

278.7

241.8

221.6

212.1

216.9

+2

Netherlands

91.8

100.3

100.2

105.2

117.2

123.2

138.5

141.5

+2

Sweden

79.9

87.6

99.5

108.9

118.0

121.1

154.9

132.2

-15

Switzerland

115.0

124.3

125.6

135.6

134.6

131.2

125.0

118.4

-5

Belgium

117.0

100.9

100.1

95.6

100.5

103.8

106.2

107.7

+1

Japan

55.7

59.1

66.4

57.3

63.9

81.8

95.2

99.3

+4

Austria

45.9

55.2

70.8

70.8

80.9

103.0

105.7

98.6

-7

Korea

38.1

43.0

39.7

48.2

55.7

59.6

66.5

66.0

-1

Denmark

37.4

36.7

39.7

47.7

55.1

67.0

60.8

56.9

-6

Norway

56.8

61.6

59.9

60.3

55.6

53.1

58.1

48.7

-16

New Zealand

48.5

44.5

42.7

45.1

49.9

54.6

55.7

47.2

-15

Czech Republic

28.0

20.7

28.6

27.8

38.5

31.6

34.8

43.5

+25

Ireland

23.5

26.3

24.3

28.2

30.5

35.5

41.9

40.2

-4

Portugal

41.2

34.3

27.9

26.4

30.5

31.2

32.8

39.6

+21

Mexico

26.4

21.7

21.0

55.0

43.5

34.4

34.9

31.5

-10

Israel

..

..

..

..

24.1

27.9

26.0

26.4

+1

Finland

18.2

20.4

23.3

23.9

23.6

21.4

27.3

23.7

-13

Luxembourg

..

..

17.5

18.0

19.0

19.4

19.5

21.5

+10

Total number of persons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All countries

3 973.6

3 873.4

3 858.6

4 044.8

4 242.3

4 462.2

5 064.5

4 777.0

-6

Settlement countries

1 581.5

1 575.6

1 578.0

1 553.0

1 558.9

1 607.7

1 762.6

1 679.0

-5

EU included above

2 100.2

1 988.1

1 968.1

2 135.4

2 306.0

2 466.4

2 896.3

2 707.6

-7

Of which: free movements

931.1

1 043.0

1 150.8

1 212.4

1 355.2

1 372.9

1 381.6

1 321.9

-4

Annual percent change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All countries

 

-3

0

5

5

5

13

-6

 

Settlement countries

 

0

0

-2

0

3

10

-5

 

EU included above

 

-5

-1

8

8

7

17

-7

 

Of which: free movements 

12

10

5

12

1

1

-4

 

National statistics (unstandardised) 

Turkey

29.9

..

..

..

..

..

380.9

466.3

+22

Chile

41.4

50.7

65.2

84.4

83.5

101.9

135.5

..

..

Poland

41.1

41.3

47.1

46.6

32.0

86.1

107.0

128.0

+20

Greece

35.4

33.0

32.0

31.3

29.5

34.0

86.1

80.5

-7

Hungary

23.9

22.5

20.3

21.3

26.0

25.8

23.8

36.5

+53

Slovenia

11.3

18.0

17.3

15.7

18.4

19.9

20.0

27.7

+38

Iceland

3.0

2.8

2.8

3.9

4.3

5.0

7.9

11.8

+50

Lithuania

1.1

1.7

2.5

3.0

4.8

3.7

6.0

10.2

+72

Estonia

1.2

1.7

1.1

1.6

1.3

7.4

7.7

9.1

+18

Latvia

2.8

2.9

3.7

3.5

4.5

4.5

3.4

4.6

+34

Slovak Republic

4.2

3.8

2.9

2.5

2.4

3.8

3.6

2.9

-19 

Note: Includes only foreign nationals. The inflows include status changes, i.e. those in the country on a temporary status who obtained the right to stay on a longer-term basis. Series for some countries have been significantly revised.

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988905

Permanent-type migration flows to the three main OECD countries of destination dropped in 2017 (Table 1.1). In the United States, 1.1 million migrants obtained a permanent resident status (-5%), with the decline being due notably to lower numbers of family migrants. In Germany, inflows fell to 860 000 new permanent migrants (-18%), due to the lower number of new permits granted to humanitarian migrants. In the United Kingdom, flows stood at just over 340 000, a 3% drop fully attributable to a decrease of inflows from other EU countries. Following a +8% increase, Spain emerged as the fourth main OECD country of destination in 2017 with 324 000 new migrants.

In 2017, Canada received almost 290 000 new permanent residents, following a 3% decline attributable to the decrease of refugee arrivals. In France, since 2013, immigration has fluctuated within a relatively narrow band between 250 000 and 260 000 annual flows.

Immigration flows in 2017 exceeded 200 000 people in two other countries, Australia (218 000, -4%) and Italy (217 000, +2%). Migration to the Netherlands increased by 2% in 2017 and reached a peak, with over 140 000 new permanent migrants. Other OECD countries which recorded an increase in permanent migration include Japan (+4%), the Czech Republic (+25%), Portugal (+21%) and Luxembourg (+10%). In Belgium, Korea and Israel, inflows of new permanent migrants remained stable in 2017.

Among countries where permanent immigration decreased significantly in 2017, such as Austria, Germany or the Nordic countries, many had received particularly high shares of refugees over the previous years. These countries now gradually reach pre-crisis levels of humanitarian migration. On the contrary, in Switzerland, the overall decrease of 5% in permanent migration was primarily due to fewer inflows from EU countries. In New Zealand, the main driver was the drop in family migration, while in Mexico, lower labour migration pulled the overall figure down.

Central and Eastern European countries – for which only unstandardised national data (including some temporary migrants) are available – experienced a sharp increase of migration flows (with the exception of the Slovak Republic). The largest increase was recorded in Lithuania with +72% to 10 000 new migrants.

In 2017, around two million new permanent migrants in OECD countries (excluding countries for which only national data are available) were family migrants, meaning they were granted a permit for family reunification, family formation or as accompanying family of workers (Figure 1.2). Family migration thus represented more than 40% of all inflows to OECD countries and remained the single largest category.

The United States are by far the main destination country for family migrants (43% of all family migrants to the OECD) and usually set the trend for the global picture. However, in 2017, the drop observed in the United States concerning family migrants (-6%) was more than offset by increases of family migration flows to Italy, Spain, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom (Annex Table 1.A.1). Sweden recorded the strongest increase in family migration in 2017 (+25%), largely due to family reunification of beneficiaries of international protection. The other OECD countries where family migration increased by more than 10% in 2017 are: Portugal (+40%), Luxembourg (+19%), the Netherlands (+17%), Finland (+17%) and Israel (+14%). Besides the United States, significant decreases were also recorded in New Zealand (-22%), Ireland (-20%), Norway (-7%) and Korea (-5%).

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Figure 1.2. Permanent migration flows to OECD countries by category of entry, 2007-17
Figure 1.2. Permanent migration flows to OECD countries by category of entry, 2007-17

Note: Includes only countries for which data on permanent migration are available.

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988620

Migration within free-circulation areas represented 28% of the total and remained the second main category of migration to OECD countries in 2017. Intra-EU migration accounted for more than half of total immigration to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and even more than two-thirds in Ireland, Luxembourg, and Switzerland. However, the number of migration movements within free-circulation areas fell for the first time since 2009, by a rate of 4%. This is due to a new trend observable in both Germany and in the United Kingdom, where immigration of citizens born in another EU country fell by 9% and 15% respectively, and, to a lesser extent, declining inflows in France (-9%) and Switzerland (-7%). Migration from within the EU increased significantly only in Spain (+19%) and the Netherlands (+11%).

Inflows of refugees and other permanent humanitarian-type migrants to OECD countries declined sharply in 2017, by 28%. However, humanitarian migration remained at a historically high level and accounted for almost 700 000 persons in 2017. While it is not the main channel of immigration to any OECD country for which standardised statistics are available, it is the second largest channel of migration to Austria, Germany, Sweden and the United States and accounted for 14% of all migration flows to the OECD area. Despite a 40% decline in 2017, Germany remained the main country in terms of the number of humanitarian permits granted – largely due to the treatment of the backlog of asylum requests initially filed in 2015/16. The United States follows with almost 150 000 humanitarian permits granted in 2017, down 7% compared to 2016. Together, these two countries made up 60% of all humanitarian migration to OECD countries. Other OECD countries follow far behind, with Canada accounting for 6% of the total, as well as Sweden, France and Italy (5% each).

In many countries, humanitarian migration flows fell dramatically in 2017. In Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands, they stood at only around half or less of their 2016 level. Only four OECD countries received significantly more humanitarian migrants in 2017 than in 2016: Mexico (+74%), France (+40%), the United Kingdom (+30%) and Australia (+25%).

Labour migration to OECD countries has been increasing since 2015 and in 2017, a 6% increase was recorded. Canada (+16%), Germany (+22%) and Japan (+8%) largely contributed to this increase. Other significant increases of permanent labour migration took place in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Netherlands, France and Portugal, while the main drop was in Mexico. In 2017, more than half of all new permanent migrants in Japan were labour migrants, and more than one in four in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Overall, the share of labour migration in total permanent migration went up to 11% in 2017, compared with 9% in 2016.

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Figure 1.3. Permanent migration flows to OECD countries, 2017
Percentage of the total population
Figure 1.3. Permanent migration flows to OECD countries, 2017

Note: Data for countries with a striped grey shading are not standardised. EU average is the average of EU countries presented in the chart. EU total represents the entries of third-country nationals into EU countries for which standardised data are available, as a percentage of their total population. Data for Chile refers to 2016 instead of 2017.

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988753

In 2017, OECD countries received, on average, 0.8 inflows per 100 inhabitants, slightly higher than the annual average over the 2011-16 period. In most OECD countries, annual migration flows indeed represent less than 1% of the population (Figure 1.3). However, in Luxembourg, this share has long been much higher, and stood at 3.7%. Switzerland and Sweden were also among the top five OECD countries in terms of immigration as a proportion of the population, with ratios of 1.4% and 1.3%, respectively. However, compared with the annual average over the period 2011 to 2016, Switzerland saw one of the largest decreases in that ratio, alongside Norway and Australia. Germany, by contrast, received permanent migration flows that represented 1% of its population in 2017, compared with an average of only 0.7% per year in 2011-16. Expressed as a ratio to the EU population, the flows of migrants from outside the EU (third-country nationals) remains relatively low at 0.35% in 2017. Annual migration flows accounted at most for 0.1% of the population in the countries with the lowest immigration levels, such as Mexico, Japan and Korea.

Temporary labour migration

More than 4.9 million labour migrants entered OECD countries through temporary labour migration programmes in 2017, 11% more than in 2016. These workers are usually concentrated at both ends of the qualification spectrum. On one end, low- and medium-skilled workers employed notably in agricultural activities, construction, manufacturing and freight transport sectors, and on the other end, highly-skilled migrant workers in high-skilled occupations in the IT or health sectors (some of which are sent abroad by multinational companies as intra-company transferees). In addition, there are significant numbers of workers posted on temporary missions inside Europe (posted workers). Annex Table 1.A.3 lists the national permits included in the different categories of temporary labour migrants presented in this section.

For the second year in a row, Poland was the top destination country for temporary labour migrants in 2017 (Figure 1.4). In 2006, following sustained economic growth and growing labour shortages, Polish authorities simplified the procedure for recruiting foreign workers from neighbouring countries on a temporary basis. In 2017, more than 90% of the 1 121 000 new temporary labour migrants in Poland were coming from Ukraine, mostly to fill vacancies in agriculture, construction and industry. This represented an increase of 32% compared to 2016. The number of entries of temporary labour migrants to Canada and the Netherlands grew as well, by more than 20% in 2017.

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Figure 1.4. Inflows of temporary labour migrants: 20 main OECD receiving countries in 2017
Figure 1.4. Inflows of temporary labour migrants: 20 main OECD receiving countries in 2017

Note: Other forms of intra-EU/EFTA mobility other than posted workers are not included. Accompanying family of temporary workers is not included.

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988639

Seasonal workers

Close to 800 000 foreign workers were recruited under a seasonal work permit in OECD countries in 2017, a 16% increase compared to 2016 (Table 1.2). Poland and the United States remained the top two destination countries, with an approximate 20% increase in flows in each country. Seasonal workers represented only 16% of the temporary inflows of workers to the OECD in 2017, but these proportions were much higher in Poland (47%) and the United States (23%). Poland alone recruited two thirds of the workers migrating in this category to the OECD. In Spain, the number of seasonal workers admitted doubled in 2017, with Moroccan women representing the majority (84%). The number of seasonal workers decreased only in Mexico and Sweden.

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Table 1.2. Evolution of inflows of temporary labour migrants for selected categories, 2010-17

Destination

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2017/2016

Thousands

Change (%)

Seasonal workers

 

Total OECD

(583.0)

(372.3)

(212.0)

(212.0)

362.5

527.5

685.5

795.6

+16

Poland

73.2

..

..

..

176.1

321.0

446.8

525.4

+18

United States

55.9

55.4

65.3

74.2

89.3

108.1

134.4

161.6

+20

Canada

24.1

25.1

25.7

27.6

29.8

30.8

34.2

35.2

+3

Mexico

27.4

27.6

21.7

15.2

14.6

15.9

14.9

12.4

-17

Finland

12.0

12.0

14.0

14.0

14.0

12.0

14.0

14.0

+0

New Zealand

7.7

7.8

8.2

8.4

9.4

9.8

11.1

11.7

+5

France

6.2

6.3

6.4

6.1

6.6

6.7

6.8

7.2

+6

Austria

10.5

17.5

13.2

15.1

7.2

6.9

6.7

6.8

+1

Australia

..

0.4

1.1

1.5

2.0

3.2

4.5

6.2

+37

Spain

8.7

4.5

3.8

3.1

3.1

2.9

2.9

5.7

+101

Italy

27.7

15.2

9.7

7.6

4.8

3.6

3.5

3.6

+2

Sweden

4.5

3.8

5.7

6.2

2.9

4.1

3.3

3.1

-8

Norway

2.3

2.5

2.3

2.5

2.5

2.3

2.4

2.6

+10

Working holidaymakers

 

Total OECD

(378.7)

(378.6)

(420.1)

(470.6)

466.9

465.0

469.1

479.7

+2

Australia

183.2

192.9

223.0

258.2

239.6

226.8

214.6

211.0

-2

United States

118.2

97.6

79.8

86.4

90.3

95.0

101.1

104.9

+4

New Zealand

43.3

43.1

48.7

54.7

61.3

65.2

69.7

67.3

-3

Canada

0.0

13.6

36.3

36.6

36.0

33.4

38.5

48.2

+25

United Kingdom

20.7

20.7

19.6

20.9

23.5

25.3

22.3

21.6

-4

Japan

10.1

7.5

9.3

9.1

8.1

10.4

11.9

13.8

+16

France

..

..

..

..

2.7

2.9

3.9

4.3

+10

Ireland

1.6

1.3

1.4

2.0

2.3

2.5

2.8

3.3

+22

Korea

0.5

0.8

1.0

1.2

1.3

1.4

1.6

1.9

+20

Denmark

0.3

0.4

0.4

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.2

1.5

+22

Trainees

 

Total OECD

(95.1)

99.8

103.4

101.5

115.7

130.8

139.3

162.5

+17

Japan

77.7

82.3

85.9

83.9

98.7

112.7

121.9

144.1

+18

Australia

3.7

3.5

3.8

3.6

3.5

4.6

4.2

4.5

+9

Germany

4.9

4.9

4.1

3.9

3.8

4.3

3.9

4.0

+3

France

1.0

1.0

1.2

2.0

2.2

2.5

2.7

2.7

-0

Denmark

1.6

1.5

1.4

1.4

1.5

1.1

1.3

1.9

+49

New Zealand

1.5

1.5

1.3

1.4

1.3

1.4

1.4

1.6

+10

Korea

2.0

2.0

1.7

1.6

1.4

1.7

1.5

1.4

-5

United States

1.8

2.1

2.9

2.7

2.2

1.7

1.4

1.2

-14

Note: For each type of permit, the table presents only countries for which inflows exceeded 1 000 workers in 2017 so the total may differ from the sum of the countries presented. The number of seasonal workers refers to the number of permits granted, with the exception of France where counts are the actual number of entries.

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988924

Working holidaymakers

One out of ten permits delivered to temporary labour migrants in OECD countries in 2017 was a working holidaymaker permit to a young foreign national. Commonwealth member states delivered close to three quarters of these permits. In Australia and New Zealand, the first and third destinations of working holidaymakers, they accounted for as many people as other temporary labour migrants. In 2017, the Canadian programme (International Experience Canada Working Holiday) gained importance, while the number of admissions in New Zealand decreased slightly in 2017.

Trainees

The number of trainees admitted to OECD countries in 2017 increased by 17%. This growth was driven by an expansion of the Japanese programme, which is by far the largest such programme in the OECD. The 144 000 “technical intern trainees” welcomed in Japan represented two thirds of the total temporary labour entries to the country in 2017.

Intra-company transferees

The number of intra-company transferees admitted to OECD countries decreased slightly. Indeed, the sharp rise in flows to Canada (+12%) and Japan (+13%) did not entirely compensate for the decrease in intra-company transferees admitted to the top two receiving countries: the United States (-1% to 78 200) and the United Kingdom (-9% to 32 800) (Table 1.3).

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Table 1.3. Inflows of intra-company transferees, 2010-17

Destination

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2017/2016

Thousands

Change (%)

Total OECD

134.6

137.8

133.5

139.4

142.1

155.0

155.5

153.7

-1

United States

74.7

70.7

62.4

66.7

71.5

78.5

79.3

78.2

-1

United Kingdom

29.2

29.7

29.3

33.2

36.6

36.4

36.0

32.8

-9

Canada

10.3

11.1

12.4

11.5

11.4

9.8

9.8

11.0

+12

Japan

5.8

5.3

6.1

6.2

7.2

7.2

7.7

8.7

+13

Australia

4.3

8.2

10.1

8.9

..

7.8

8.1

7.6

-6

Germany

5.9

7.1

7.2

7.8

9.4

9.3

7.5

7.3

-3

France

2.2

2.8

2.7

2.4

2.3

2.3

2.8

3.4

+23

Spain

0.7

0.8

0.9

0.0

0.7

1.1

1.3

1.8

+41

Norway

0.6

0.9

1.1

1.2

1.4

0.7

1.4

1.7

+21

Note: Only countries for which inflows exceed 1 000 workers in 2017 are presented so the total differs from the sum of the countries displayed.

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988943

Intra-EU/EFTA posted workers

Inside the EU/EFTA, posted workers are defined as salaried or self-employed workers who generally carry out their activity in another member country while staying affiliated to the social security system in their home country. When workers are posted in one other member country, the posting cannot exceed 24 months (EC No 987/2009 Article 12),whereas there is no time limit for workers posted in two or more member countries (EC No 987/2009 Article 13). The destination country is only recorded for the first category of posting (Article 12). The certificate of affiliation (portable document A1) delivered by the country of origin can only be used as an estimate of the number of postings to another country in the case of workers falling under Article 12 of the regulation. The number of postings presented in Table 1.4 is therefore an underestimation of the total2.

In the EU/EFTA, 2.7 million intra-EU/EFTA postings were recorded in 2017, an increase of 22% compared to the previous year. Among the 60% for which the destination country is known, Germany (with 427 200 new postings in 2017) and France (241 400) remained the top receiving countries. The number of postings increased most markedly in France, Austria, the Netherlands, Spain and Luxembourg. By contrast, new entries to Germany and Belgium, the first and third destinations of posted workers respectively, decreased slightly for the first time since data have been collected (starting in 2010).

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Table 1.4. Postings of workers inside the EU/EFTA, by destination, 2010-17

Destination

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2017/2016

Thousands

Change (%)

Total OECD

1040.8

1191.1

1173.4

1275.6

1365.9

1425.2

1539.1

1639.1

+6

Germany

250.1

311.4

335.9

373.7

414.2

418.9

440.1

427.2

-3

France

160.5

162.0

156.5

182.2

190.8

184.7

203.0

241.4

+19

Belgium

90.5

125.1

125.3

134.3

159.7

156.6

178.3

167.3

-6

Austria

59.6

76.3

76.4

88.6

101.0

108.6

120.2

141.0

+17

Netherlands

91.6

105.9

99.4

100.4

87.8

89.4

90.9

111.5

+23

Switzerland

52.0

62.6

64.9

78.1

87.5

97.7

104.3

105.7

+1

Italy

60.5

64.2

48.7

47.4

52.5

59.1

61.3

64.7

+5

Spain

63.3

47.6

46.1

46.5

44.8

47.4

52.4

60.5

+16

United Kingdom

34.3

37.2

40.4

43.5

50.9

54.3

57.2

59.6

+4

Sweden

19.5

24.4

26.1

29.4

33.0

37.4

39.1

44.0

+12

Luxembourg

27.7

24.3

19.7

20.5

21.8

21.7

26.6

32.7

+23

Czech Republic

15.9

17.1

17.8

18.6

17.2

19.1

22.7

24.2

+7

Norway

18.8

30.5

16.2

18.8

21.3

25.0

23.8

22.9

-4

Portugal

12.2

13.3

11.4

10.7

12.8

15.4

18.1

22.6

+25

Finland

20.2

22.2

22.5

19.9

6.6

18.6

21.0

22.3

+6

Poland

12.9

16.0

16.0

14.4

14.5

17.9

17.8

20.6

+16

Denmark

9.6

11.0

11.0

10.8

10.9

13.4

15.7

15.6

-1

Slovak Republic

8.7

6.9

6.6

7.0

7.6

8.1

9.7

13.6

+40

Hungary

8.5

9.9

9.9

8.9

9.0

9.7

11.3

12.8

+13

Greece

10.7

7.8

6.8

4.8

4.7

5.7

6.4

8.1

+27

Slovenia

3.4

2.7

3.3

4.5

6.6

5.7

5.1

6.2

+21

Ireland

5.0

6.1

4.7

5.6

4.0

4.0

5.8

6.2

+7

Estonia

1.2

1.9

2.3

3.0

3.0

2.3

3.7

3.0

-19

Lithuania

1.9

2.2

3.5

2.3

1.9

2.4

2.0

2.3

+12

Iceland

0.5

0.6

0.4

0.4

0.3

0.6

1.4

1.7

+27

Latvia

1.9

1.8

1.5

1.2

1.5

1.4

1.1

1.4

+26

Note: Data refer to the number of postings for which the worker received an authorisation to work in one single receiving country. The receiving country is unknown for 40% of the 2.7 million postings in 2017: posted workers originating from Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and all posted workers active in two or more member states.

Source: De Wispelaere and Pacolet – HIVA-KU Leuven (2018).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988962

While Germany remained by far the top destination country for EU/EFTA posted workers, it was no longer the country with the highest net balance of postings (Figure 1.5) as it sent an increasing number of posted workers to other EU countries. For the first time, France emerged as the country with the highest net balance in 2017.

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Figure 1.5. Postings by sending and receiving European country, 2017
Figure 1.5. Postings by sending and receiving European country, 2017

Note: The figures refer to the number of portable documents A1 issued according to Article 12 of the regulation (EC No 987/2009) and therefore exclude workers who are posted in two or more countries (Article 13). Figures also do not include posted workers originating from Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Source: De Wispelaere and Pacolet – HIVA-KU Leuven (2018).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988772

Students

The internationalisation of higher education over the past few decades has resulted in significant movement of international students, i.e. students who migrate to study in another country. In 2017, around 1 450 000 visas were granted to tertiary-level students, 1% more than in the previous year (Table 1.5). There has been an almost continuous rise over the past decade, driven most recently by increasing flows to European and Asian destination countries.

The number of residence permits issued to international tertiary-level students in the United States dropped from 644 000 in 2015 to 394 000 in 2017 and 363 000 in 2018. In particular, permits for students from the main origin countries, the People’s Republic of China and India, decreased drastically in 2017, by 24 and 28%, respectively. However, about two thirds of the decrease in 2017 was due to the fact that the United States now issues multi-year visas for students from these countries. Excluding the United States, inflows of tertiary-educated students to OECD countries have been increasing continuously since 2012. Among the top five destinations, flows have increased the most in Canada (+27%), Japan and the United Kingdom (+14 and +13%, respectively).

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Table 1.5. Permits for international tertiary-level students in OECD countries, 2008, 2015-17
Number of residence permits issued

 

2008

2015

2016

2017

2017/16

2017/08

 

Thousands

Change (%)

United States

340.7

644.2

471.7

393.6

-17

+16

United Kingdom

249.9

245.3

270.6

305.8

+13

+22

Australia

121.4

136.8

156.6

162.9

+4

+34

Japan

58.1

99.6

108.1

123.2

+14

112

Canada

45.9

83.5

107.1

135.6

+27

195

France

52.1

67.7

71.2

77.9

+9

+50

Germany

22.2

38.8

37.3

39.5

+6

+78

Spain

19.7

31.2

33.7

37.5

+11

+91

Korea

15.1

23.4

27.3

28.2

+3

+87

New Zealand

20.0

28.3

25.5

24.5

-4

+23

Poland

4.5

29.8

21.3

21.6

+2

383

Netherlands

8.9

14.9

16.0

16.9

+6

+91

Switzerland

11.0

11.9

11.3

11.2

-1

+1

Sweden

11.2

9.4

9.5

11.0

+16

-2

Denmark

7.4

8.2

9.2

8.9

-3

+22

Italy

25.1

14.2

8.5

2.9

-66

-88

Hungary

7.8

5.8

7.8

10.8

+38

+39

Finland

4.8

5.9

6.3

5.2

-18

+7

Mexico

..

6.8

6.0

3.6

-40

..

Belgium

6.4

5.8

5.7

6.2

+9

-2

Czech Republic

1.4

5.5

5.7

2.9

-48

+106

Austria

3.0

5.9

4.5

4.1

-11

+36

Portugal

3.5

2.7

3.4

4.1

+21

+16

Norway

2.7

3.7

3.2

3.8

+17

+38

Chile

..

..

1.5

1.5

-4

..

Slovak Republic

0.3

1.3

1.5

1.7

+15

+548

Slovenia

0.1

0.9

1.3

1.3

+2

+818

Latvia

0.3

1.1

1.3

1.6

+22

+512

Estonia

0.3

0.8

0.9

1.1

+13

+216

Lithuania

..

0.7

0.9

0.9

+6

..

Iceland

0.2

0.4

0.4

0.5

+10

+174

Greece

1.4

0.3

0.3

0.3

-4

-80

Luxembourg

..

0.2

0.2

0.4

+81

..

Total

1 045.3

1 535.0

1 435.9

1 451.1

+1

+39

Total EU/EFTA

444.1

512.2

531.8

577.6

+9

+30

Note: Data refer to international tertiary-level students, including students enrolled in language courses who were issued a residence permit or a visa. Therefore, students benefitting from free mobility (intra-EU and Australia-New-Zealand movements) are not included. Likewise, the data do not include inflows related to professional training courses. For some countries, data have been revised compared with the previous editions of the International Migration Outlook notably for Chile, France, Norway and the United Kingdom).

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988981

The latest stock data on students are from 2016 and show that between 2015 and 2016, the number of international students enrolled in tertiary education across the OECD area increased by 7%, from 3.3 million to over 3.5 million (Table 1.6). Evolutions in stock data are not comparable with flow data presented in the previous section, as the share of international students who only stay for short periods varies over time. In addition, stock data include international students covered by provisions on freedom of movement in the EU, and who are not registered in flow data based on residence permits.

The United States alone accounted for more than 27% of all enrolled international tertiary-level students in the OECD area, i.e. approximately 971 000 students in 2016. EU countries represent 45% of international student enrolments in the OECD, with the United Kingdom (432 000), France (245 000) and Germany (245 000) accounting for almost 60% of the EU-total. Across OECD countries, one-fifth of all international students come from an EU28 country. In EU-OECD countries, this share climbs to one-third, and in Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands, it exceeds 70%. Australia, Canada and Japan also host a large number of international students, respectively 10%, 5% and 4% of the total international students enrolled in OECD countries in 2016.

The greatest growth during the 2015-16 period took place in Latin American OECD countries (+27% in Mexico and +20% in Chile) and in Central and Eastern Europe (+24% in Poland, +23% in Latvia, +22% in Estonia and +20% in Hungary). Only a few OECD countries experienced a reduction in their stock of international tertiary students between 2015 and 2016, namely Iceland, New Zealand, the Slovak Republic and Spain.

International students accounted for an average of 9% of the OECD tertiary-level student population in 2016. In spite of the high recent growth, the share of international students in the overall student population is still negligible in Latin America and also remains low in Central and Eastern European countries and in East Asia. At the other end of the spectrum, 17% and 20% of tertiary-level students in New Zealand and Australia are international, and this proportion reaches 47% in the case of Luxembourg.

On average in the OECD, international students account for 15% of all enrolments in master’s programmes and 24% of PhD enrolments (Table 1.6). In Luxembourg and Switzerland, more than one in every two PhD students is international. In the United States, 40% of PhD students are international, compared to only 5% of overall tertiary-enrolled students.

Almost 2 million of the total 3.5 million international tertiary-level students across the OECD area come from Asia, with Chinese students representing almost a fifth of all enrolments (789 000) (Figure 1.6). Other major Asian source countries of international students are India (262 000) and Korea (100 000). European students represent a fourth of all international students enrolled in OECD countries. Germany, France and Italy are the largest origin countries, with respectively 113 000, 86 000 and 63 000 students in other OECD countries. Although only less than one in ten international students originate from Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, these regions experienced some of the fastest growth rates in emigration of tertiary-level students between 2013 and 2016. The enrolment of students from Africa and from Latin America and the Caribbean in OECD countries increased by approximately 17% in the last three years, compared with a growth of just 5% in international students from North America.

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Table 1.6. International students enrolled in OECD countries, 2016

 

International tertiary students

International students as a share of all students (%)

 

Total (thousands)

% change 2016/15

Total tertiary education

Master's or equivalent level

Doctoral or equivalent level

Australia

336

+14

17

46

34

Austria

70

+4

16

20

28

Belgium

61

+8

12

20

44

Canada

189

+10

12

18

32

Chile

5

+20

0

1

8

Czech Republic

43

+3

12

13

16

Denmark

34

+5

11

19

34

Estonia

3

+22

7

10

12

Finland

23

+0

8

12

21

France

245

+2

10

13

40

Germany

245

+7

8

13

9

Greece

24

+7

..

..

..

Hungary

26

+20

9

16

12

Iceland

1

-16

7

9

36

Ireland

18

+13

8

15

27

Israel

10

+2

..

4

6

Italy

93

+3

5

5

14

Japan

143

+9

3

7

18

Korea

62

+13

2

7

9

Latvia

6

+23

8

16

11

Lithuania

5

..

4

8

5

Luxembourg

3

+3

47

73

85

Mexico

13

+27

0

1

3

Netherlands

90

+4

11

17

40

New Zealand

54

-6

20

26

48

Norway

11

+12

4

7

22

Poland

55

+24

3

4

2

Portugal

20

+17

6

7

26

Slovak Republic

10

-7

6

8

9

Slovenia

3

+14

3

5

10

Spain

53

-6

3

8

15

Sweden

28

+5

7

11

35

Switzerland

52

+3

18

29

55

Turkey

88

+22

1

4

7

United Kingdom

432

+0

18

36

43

United States

971

+7

5

10

40

EU OECD total

1 591

+4

11

19

30

OECD total

3 527

+7

10

18

32

OECD average

..

..

9

15

24

Note: Data for the Czech Republic, Israel, Italy, Korea, the Slovak Republic and Turkey refer to foreign students instead of international students. Data for Japan on international students as share of all students are for the year 2015.

Source: OECD Education at a Glance Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/edu-data-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989000

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Figure 1.6. International students enrolled in OECD countries by origin, 2016
Figure 1.6. International students enrolled in OECD countries by origin, 2016

Source: OECD Education at a Glance Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/edu-data-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988658

Asylum seekers

The number of asylum applications to OECD countries continued to decrease in 2018, with 1.09 million applications, compared with 1.26 million in 2017 and with the record-high number of applications in 2015 and 2016 (about 1.65 million each). Between 2017 and 2018, OECD countries witnessed a 14% decrease in the number of new applications, and EU countries, a 10% decrease (Figure 1.7).

Most of the decline in the overall number of applications in OECD countries (-175 000) was driven by three destination countries: the United States (-77 000), Italy (-73 000) and Germany (-36 000), partly offset by increases in Spain (+22 000) and France (+19 000).

As in previous years, statistics on asylum seekers do not fully account for the situation in Turkey, which hosts a large number of Syrian nationals under temporary protection. During the year 2018, their number increased by about 156 000 (from 3.47 million in January to 3.62 million in December). This increase was, however, much smaller than that observed in previous years (+550 000 in 2017).

In 2018, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq were the top three countries of origin of asylum seekers, accounting for more than 20% of all applications to OECD countries (Table 1.7). There were close to 100 000 applications from Afghanistan, 80 000 from Syria – the lowest level since 2014 – and 60 000 from Iraq. Compared with 2017, there was a significant decrease in the number of asylum seekers from the top three countries, with a 14% drop for Afghanistan, a 17% decline for Syria and a drop in applications from Iraq of more than 30%. Asylum applications from Venezuela, on the other hand, increased by 1% in 2018.

Other key origin countries of asylum seekers in 2018 were El Salvador, Honduras, Nigeria, Guatemala, Iran and Pakistan, reflecting the geographic spread of current conflicts, political instability and humanitarian crises in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Nigeria, Iran and Pakistan have accounted jointly for almost 10% of all asylum applications to OECD countries every year since at least 2011.

In addition to these rather “longstanding” origin countries of asylum seekers, there has been a recent surge of asylum applications from Central America. While the total number of applications from the region did not exceed 35 000 in 2014, it reached about 140 000 in 2018, with El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala as the three main origin countries. Adding the three larger Latin American countries, Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico, the total amounted to about 260 000 applications in 2018, almost one quarter of all asylum applications to OECD countries. Compared with 2017, besides Venezuela, marked increases in applications have been observed from Honduras (+23%) and especially Colombia (+98%).

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Figure 1.7. New asylum applications since 1980 in the OECD and the European Union
Figure 1.7. New asylum applications since 1980 in the OECD and the European Union

Note: Preliminary data for 2018

Source: UNHCR, Eurostat.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988677

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Table 1.7. Top 10 origin countries of asylum applicants in OECD countries, 2014-18

2014 

2015 

2016 

2017 

2018 

Syria

129 080

Syria

372 860

Syria

336 010

Afghanistan

110 770

Afghanistan

95 180

Iraq

68 210

Afghanistan

251 970

Afghanistan

214 930

Syria

96 700

Syria

80 100

Afghanistan

52 730

Iraq

179 790

Iraq

155 300

Iraq

89 290

Iraq

59 550

Eritrea

46 880

Albania

67 530

Iran

56 880

El Salvador

59 290

Venezuela

58 990

Kosovo

30 670

Kosovo

62 320

Pakistan

51 880

Venezuela

58 150

El Salvador

45 320

China

28 670

Pakistan

51 450

Nigeria

51 230

Nigeria

50 330

Honduras

41 140

Pakistan

25 840

Eritrea

47 500

El Salvador

40 840

Guatemala

41 790

Nigeria

36 850

Serbia

24 860

Iran

40 780

Eritrea

40 680

China

39 520

Guatemala

34 830

Nigeria

21 860

Nigeria

33 390

China

39 010

Pakistan

36 240

Iran

33 260

Iran

20 120

China

31 970

Mexico

35 530

Honduras

33 980

Pakistan

30 400

Note: Preliminary data for 2018

Source: UNHCR; Eurostat.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989019

In 2018, the United States again received the highest number of asylum applications of all OECD countries, with 254 000 applications, down from 330 000 in the previous year (Table 1.8). Almost half of asylum applications to the United States originated from four countries: El Salvador (13%), Guatemala (13%) Venezuela (11%), and Honduras (10%). Yet, compared with 2017, applications from these countries decreased by 32%, 6%, 8% and 15%, respectively.

Germany was the second largest destination country of asylum applicants in the OECD in 2018. First asylum applications to Germany in 2018 amounted to 162 000, a 18% decline compared to 2017 and a much lower level than the 2016 peak (722 000 applications). The main origin countries of asylum applicants in Germany were Syria, Iraq and Iran, which accounted for about 45% of all applications.

The United States and Germany were followed by France (110 000 applications), Turkey (84 000 applications), and Greece (65 000) as the main destination countries for asylum seekers in 2018. While applications in Turkey decreased sharply compared with 2017 (- 32%), they increased significantly in France (+20%) and Greece (+14%).

Compared with 2017, the number of applications also increased markedly in Slovenia (+94%), Spain (+73%), Korea (+62%) and Mexico (+103%). However, relative to the population, the figures remained low in Korea and Mexico compared with most OECD countries. Conversely, there was a sharp downturn in applications in a number of European countries that saw large numbers in the years before; in addition to Germany, applications declined strongly in Hungary (-80%), Italy (-61%), Austria (-49%), and more moderately in Switzerland and Sweden (-19% each). The number of asylum applications also declined significantly in Japan (-45%), returning to the 2016 level.

In most European OECD countries, the distribution of asylum applicants by main origin countries tends to mirror that of the OECD total, with Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq being among the main origin countries. A typical example is Greece, where applicants from these three countries accounted for more than half of all applications in 2018. However, there are notable exceptions. In France, for example, the top three countries were Afghanistan, Georgia and Albania (these countries represented 23% of all applications) while Sub-Saharan African countries, taken together, accounted for more than one-third of applications. This was also the case in Italy. Latin American countries, which feature prominently among the top origin countries of asylum applicants in the United States, Mexico and Chile, are rarely among the top origin countries in Europe. The notable exception is Spain, where Venezuela and Colombia were the two main origin countries of applicants in 2018 and represented more than half of all applications.

Turkey, being the OECD country closest to the Middle East, mostly receives applications from this region. Together with Syrians – who are under temporary protection and do not have to apply for asylum – Afghans, Iraqis and Iranians represented about 95% of all applications in the country in 2018. Non-European OECD countries are relatively unaffected by asylum applications from the Middle East, as has been noted above for the United States. In Canada, the main countries of origin were Nigeria, India and Colombia, while Malaysia and China were – together with India – the most frequent countries of origin among asylum seekers in Australia.

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Table 1.8. New asylum applications by country in which the application is filed, 2013-18

 

2013-15 annual average

2016

2017

2018

Absolute change 2017-18

% change 2017-18

Asylum seekers per million population (2018)

Top three origins of the asylum seekers (2018)

Australia

11 030

27 200

36 250

28 840

-7 410

-20

1 164

Malaysia, China, India

Austria

42 940

39 880

22 470

11 610

-10 860

-48

1 327

Syria, Afghanistan, Iran

Belgium

21 690

14 250

14 060

18 160

4 100

29

1 579

Syria, West Bank and Gaza Strip, Afghanistan

Canada

13 300

23 880

49 430

55 390

5 960

12

1 499

Nigeria, India, Mexico

Chile

390

2 300

5 660

5 780

120

2

318

Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia

Czech Republic

890

1 210

1 140

1 360

220

19

128

Ukraine, Cuba, Georgia

Denmark

14 530

6 050

3 140

3 500

360

11

608

Eritrea, Syria, Georgia

Estonia

160

150

180

90

-90

-50

69

Ukraine, Egypt, Pakistan

Finland

12 940

5 280

4 350

2 960

-1 390

-32

534

Iraq, Russia, Turkey

France

64 590

76 790

91 970

111 420

19 450

21

1 708

Afghanistan, Albania, Georgia

Germany

241 520

722 270

198 310

161 930

-36 380

-18

1 968

Syria, Iraq, Iran

Greece

9 680

49 880

56 950

64 990

8 040

14

5 833

Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq

Hungary

78 120

28 220

3 120

640

-2 480

-79

66

Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria

Iceland

230

1 110

1 070

730

-340

-32

2 161

Iraq, Albania, Somalia

Ireland

1 890

2 240

2 910

3 660

750

26

762

Albania, Georgia, Syria

Israel

2 730

14 840

15 370

16 260

890

6

1 924

Eritrea, Russia, Ukraine

Italy

57 540

121 190

126 560

53 440

-73 120

-58

901

Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh

Japan

5 280

10 900

19 250

10 490

-8 760

-46

82

Nepal, Sri Lanka, Cambodia

Korea

3 390

7 540

9 940

16 150

6 210

62

316

Kazakhstan, Russia, Malaysia

Latvia

290

350

360

180

-180

-50

93

Russia, Iraq, Azerbaijan

Lithuania

320

420

520

390

-130

-25

136

Tajikistan, Russia, Iraq

Luxembourg

1 420

2 060

2 330

2 230

-100

-4

3 778

Eritrea, Syria, Iraq

Mexico

2 290

8 780

14 600

29 620

15 020

103

227

Honduras, Venezuela, El Salvador

Netherlands

26 440

19 290

16 090

20 470

4 380

27

1 198

Syria, Iran, Eritrea

New Zealand

310

390

560

460

-100

-18

97

China, Sri Lanka, India

Norway

18 250

3 250

3 390

2 550

-840

-25

476

Turkey, Syria, Eritrea

Poland

9 960

9 790

3 010

2 410

-600

-20

63

Russia, Ukraine, Iraq

Portugal

610

710

1 020

1 240

220

22

120

Angola, Ukraine, D.R.Congo

Slovak Republic

260

100

160

160

0

0

29

Afghanistan, Yemen, Azerbaijan

Slovenia

290

1 270

1 440

2 800

1 360

94

1 345

Pakistan, Algeria, Afghanistan

Spain

7 920

15 570

30 450

52 750

22 300

73

1 137

Venezuela, Colombia, Syria

Sweden

95 270

22 330

22 230

18 110

-4 120

-19

1 814

Syria, Iran, Iraq

Switzerland

26 560

25 820

16 670

13 540

-3 130

-19

1 585

Eritrea, Syria, Afghanistan

Turkey

88 740

77 850

123 600

83 820

-39 780

-32

1 023

Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran

United Kingdom

34 060

39 240

33 380

37 370

3 990

12

561

Iran, Iraq, Pakistan

United States

134 590

266 940

331 700

254 300

-77 400

-23

778

El Salvador, Guatemala, Venezuela

OECD total

1 003 700

1 649 340

1 263 640

1 089 800

-173 840

-14

837

Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq

Selected non-OECD countries 

 

 

 

 

Bulgaria

12 640

19000

3470

2470

-1 000

-29

351

Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria

Romania

1 440

1860

4700

1950

-2 750

-59

100

Iraq, Syria, Iran

Note: Figures for 2018 are preliminary. Figures for the United States refer to "affirmative" claims submitted to the Department of Homeland Security (number of cases, multiplied by 1.5 to reflect the estimated number of persons) and "defensive" claims submitted to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (number of persons). “..” means that figures are not available.

Source: UNHCR, Eurostat, OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989038

Comparisons of ratios of asylum-seeker entries to host country populations reveal that in 2018, OECD countries registered 837 applications per million inhabitants, which is close to the ratio observed for the United States. Among OECD countries with more than one million inhabitants, Greece was the leading asylum receiving country in this respect, with a ratio of almost 5 800 per million inhabitants, followed by Germany (2 000), Sweden (1 800) and France (1 700). By contrast, the United Kingdom received fewer than 600 applications per million inhabitants in 2018, and Japan fewer than 100. Most Eastern European countries also received very few asylum applications, especially Hungary, Poland and the Slovak Republic, with fewer than 100 applications per million inhabitants.

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Table 1.9. Positive decisions on applications for international protection, 2009-18

 

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018/2017 change (%)

Australia

14 854

14 553

13 976

13 759

20 019

13 768

13 756

17 555

21 968

 

Austria

5 000

4 885

5 870

6 000

6 345

10 035

17 750

31 750

29 130

-40

Belgium

3 190

3 790

5 550

5 880

6 710

8 525

10 900

15 400

12 895

-24

Canada

22 861

24 699

27 880

23 098

24 139

24 068

32 111

58 914

41 470

 

Czech Republic

125

225

705

200

365

410

460

445

145

+14

Denmark

920

1 630

1 735

2 110

3 360

5 770

10 280

7 405

2 750

-44

Estonia

5

15

10

10

10

20

80

130

95

-79

Finland

1 010

1 665

1 340

1 835

1 830

1 435

1 795

7 365

4 255

-30

France

10 415

10 375

10 740

14 325

16 155

20 640

26 015

35 170

40 570

+2

Germany

12 060

12 915

13 045

22 165

26 080

47 555

148 220

445 215

325 385

-71

Greece

205

145

590

625

1 410

3 850

5 875

8 545

12 015

+45

Hungary

400

285

205

460

420

550

465

435

1 290

-72

Iceland

10

10

10

10

15

35

85

115

175

+50

Ireland

395

155

150

145

205

495

555

790

840

+32

Italy

9 110

4 585

7 480

22 820

14 465

20 625

29 635

40 175

35 130

-4

Japan

531

429

287

130

175

144

125

143

94

 

Korea

74

47

38

60

36

633

234

320

321

 

Latvia

15

25

30

30

35

25

30

150

270

-89

Lithuania

45

15

25

55

60

75

85

195

290

-53

Luxembourg

140

105

85

45

140

130

210

770

1 130

-11

Mexico

..

222

262

389

198

348

615

1 760

3 060

 

Netherlands

8 500

8 680

8 385

5 630

7 045

13 250

17 045

21 825

9 090

-54

New Zealand

3 109

2 807

2 741

3 032

3 385

3 551

3 784

4 023

..

 

Norway

4 940

5 715

4 725

6 125

6 775

5 870

7 150

13 195

5 270

-69

Poland

2 620

560

575

590

735

740

695

380

560

-22

Portugal

50

55

65

100

135

110

195

320

500

+25

Slovak Republic

195

95

120

200

75

175

80

215

60

-25

Slovenia

20

25

20

35

35

45

50

175

150

-33

Spain

380

625

1 010

565

555

1 600

1 030

6 875

4 120

-29

Sweden

9 090

9 760

10 630

15 295

26 400

33 035

34 620

69 785

31 305

-37

Switzerland

6 665

8 255

6 800

4 580

6 605

15 575

14 135

13 335

14 790

+4

United Kingdom

15 560

14 125

14 495

14 770

13 505

14 185

18 650

17 080

15 655

+10

United States

177 368

136 291

168 460

150 614

119 630

134 242

151 995

157 425

146 003

 

All countries

309 862

267 768

308 039

315 687

307 052

381 514

548 710

977 380

760 781

 

All European countries

91 065

88 720

94 395

124 605

139 470

204 760

346 090

737 240

547 865

-49

Note: Percentage change 2018/2017 for European countries is an estimate.

Source: Eurostat, OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989057

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Figure 1.8. Refugees admitted under resettlement programmes in OECD countries, 2003-18
Figure 1.8. Refugees admitted under resettlement programmes in OECD countries, 2003-18

Source: UNHCR.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988791

Between 2016 and 2017, there was a significant drop in the number of positive decisions on applications for international protection in OECD countries: while about 980 000 admissions were registered in 2016, this number dropped to 760 000 in 2017, a 22% decline (Table 1.9). For European OECD countries, the decrease was 26%, and available data indicate that the trend will continue, with a 49% decrease expected between 2017 and 2018. In 2017, Germany remained the main destination country of humanitarian migrants, with more than 40% of the OECD total inflows, followed by the United States (20%), Canada (5%) and France (5%). In contrast to the settlement countries, most humanitarian admissions in Europe are asylum seekers who obtained international protection. Given the decline in new asylum seeker inflows and the treatment of backlog, admissions for humanitarian reasons in Germany are projected to drop by as much as 70% between 2017 and 2018.

Beyond the asylum channel, many refugees have been resettled to OECD countries (Figure 1.8). Following the expansion of refugee resettlement quotas during the 2014-15 refugee surge in many OECD countries, the number of resettlements increased sharply between 2015 and 2016. This increase was only temporary, however, and numbers have decreased significantly since then, with 65 000 resettlements in 2017 and 55 000 in 2018. The United States remain the top destination country for resettlements, followed by Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Sweden. Compared to the peak in 2016, the largest decrease was observed in the United States, with a decline of almost 80%. There were also significant decreases in Canada (-65%) and Australia (-50%).

copy the linklink copied!Size and composition of the foreign-born population in OECD countries

The total foreign-born population living in OECD countries rose to 129 million people in 2018, which represents a 2% increase compared with 2017 (see Figure 1.9). After a slower pace of growth between 2010 and 2014, average growth has returned to the trend observed in the 2000s, of about 2 million additional foreign-born per year. An increasing share of the OECD’s foreign-born population lives in an EU/EFTA country, reaching 47% of the 129 million foreign-born in 2018, while 34% live in the United States. Between 2000 and 2018, the increase in the foreign-born population accounted for more than three-quarters of the total population increase in EU/EFTA countries, and for almost 40% of the increase in the United States.

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Figure 1.9. Foreign-born population in the OECD area and Europe, 2000-18
Figure 1.9. Foreign-born population in the OECD area and Europe, 2000-18

Note: Estimated 2018 data for Australia, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey. Data for the United States include an estimation of undocumented migrants.

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en; Eurostat.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988696

Since 2000, the immigrant population has increased across OECD countries, with the exception of several countries with an aging immigrant population (Estonia, Israel, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland). The strongest growth in the immigrant population between 2017 and 2018 occurred in Nordic EU/EFTA countries (+17% in Iceland, +5% in Sweden, +4% in Finland, +3% in Norway). Some non-Nordic EU/EFTA countries also saw above-average growth in their foreign-born populations (+5% in Slovenia, +4% in Luxembourg, +4% in the Netherlands, +3% in Germany, +3% in Spain).

On average over all OECD countries, the foreign-born population accounted for 13% of the population in 2018, up from 9.5% in 2000 (Figure 1.10). As in previous years, the proportion of foreign-born has been highest in Luxembourg (48% of the total population), Switzerland (29%), Australia (28%) and New Zealand (23%).

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Figure 1.10. The foreign-born as a percentage of the total population in OECD countries, 2000 and 2018
Figure 1.10. The foreign-born as a percentage of the total population in OECD countries, 2000 and 2018

Note: Data refer to 2000 or the closest available year, and to 2018 or the most recent available year. The OECD and EU/EFTA averages are simple averages based on rates presented. For Japan and Korea, the data refer to the foreign population rather than the foreign-born population.

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988810

Countries of origin of new immigrants to the OECD

In 2017, the top five countries of origin of new immigrants to OECD countries3 were the People’s Republic of China, Romania, India, Poland and Viet Nam (Table 1.10). Flows from China to OECD countries, exhibited increases of 13% to Canada and 6% to Japan. Overall, they rose by almost 3% despite decreasing flows to the United States and Korea. Emigration from Romania grew by 2%, mainly due to an increase in flows to Germany (+4%). China has held the top position since 2008, while Romania has ranked second since 2016. China (8.1%) and Romania (6.3%) are the only two origin countries to account for more than 5% of total flows to OECD countries.

Flows from India to the OECD increased by 12%, and India remained in third place in the ranking of origin countries in 2017. While Indian immigration to the United States declined by 7%, flows from India to the United Kingdom (+43%) and Canada (+30%) increased sharply. Despite another significant reduction in emigration in 2017 (-5.7%), Poland still remained in fourth place in the ranking of origin countries. India accounted for 4.5% of immigration flows to OECD countries in 2017, while flows from Poland accounted for 3.6%.

An increase of 15% of new immigrants to the OECD moved Viet Nam into fifth position, up from ninth in 2015 and seventh in 2016. The growth followed a 22% increase in Vietnamese immigration to the OECD in 2016. Flows of Vietnamese increased in 2017 notably to Korea (20%) and Japan (27%). Mexico maintained the sixth position despite a 1.2% decrease in migration to the rest of the OECD in 2017. Viet Nam and Mexico accounted for 3.1% and 2.8%, respectively, of immigration flows to the OECD.

The number of Syrians entering OECD countries, a flow that had tripled between 2014 and 2015, fell by almost 50% in 2017 after a decrease of 20% in 2016. Despite this decrease, Syrians still account for almost 3% of all registered flows to OECD countries and ranked seventh. These figures do not include Turkey, so the actual level of Syrian migration into the OECD area in recent years has been higher.

Emigration from the Philippines to the OECD increased slightly (+1%), and the Philippines were in eighth place in the 2017 ranking. Flows decreased to the United States (-7.7%) and Canada (-2.2%) but increased by 13% to Japan. Emigration from Italy to the rest of the OECD declined slightly (-0.4%). While Italian flows increased to Spain (+32%) and the Netherlands (+17%), flows to Germany decreased by 2%. The Philippines and Italy each account for about 2.5% of overall flows. Flows from Ukraine to the OECD increased by 22% to rise two places in the ranking to the tenth position. Sharp increases in immigration to the Czech Republic (+79%) and Poland (+24%) were driving the rise in Ukrainian flows, which accounted for 2.3% of the total.

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Table 1.10. Top 50 countries of origin of new immigrants to OECD countries, 2007-17

 

Average 2007-2016 (thousands)

2016 (thousands)

2017 (thousands)

% of total OECD inflows 2017

% change 2017/2016

Difference in ranking vs 2016

Difference in ranking vs 2007-16

China

521

539

554

8.1

+2.8

0

0

Romania

355

418

426

6.3

+1.9

0

0

India

247

272

304

4.5

+11.6

1

+1

Poland

278

263

248

3.6

-5.7

1

-1

Viet Nam

110

186

214

3.1

+15.2

2

+6

Mexico

171

193

191

2.8

-1.2

0

-1

Syrian Arab Republic

102

340

174

2.6

-48.9

-4

+6

Philippines

165

170

171

2.5

+0.9

1

-2

Italy

111

172

171

2.5

-0.4

-1

+1

Ukraine

87

130

157

2.3

+21.5

2

+6

United States

135

138

142

2.1

+2.7

-1

-4

United Kingdom

126

130

130

1.9

+0.2

-1

-4

Bulgaria

97

125

125

1.8

-0.1

2

+2

France

100

126

117

1.7

-6.5

-1

0

Germany

122

109

112

1.6

+3.3

3

-6

Thailand

58

67

110

1.6

+63.5

14

11

Brazil

77

80

99

1.5

+24.0

9

+1

Morocco

106

89

99

1.4

+10.2

2

-6

Venezuela

28

59

93

1.4

+59.2

15

+36

Colombia

67

81

93

1.4

+14.4

4

+2

Pakistan

85

95

90

1.3

-4.7

-2

-4

Russia

77

89

87

1.3

-2.1

-1

-3

Hungary

70

85

86

1.3

+2.0

0

-2

Spain

65

88

85

1.3

-3.3

-2

-1

Cuba

56

80

80

1.2

+0.1

0

+5

Iraq

57

110

75

1.1

-32.3

-9

+3

Turkey

60

65

73

1.1

+12.3

4

-2

Dominican Republic

61

74

73

1.1

-1.6

0

-4

Croatia

35

76

73

1.1

-4.3

-2

+12

Korea

73

72

72

1.1

+0.6

-1

-10

Nigeria

45

58

71

1.0

+21.2

4

+4

Afghanistan

47

126

67

1.0

-46.9

-18

0

Portugal

59

65

64

0.9

-1.5

-1

-7

Peru

57

51

57

0.8

+11.6

3

-6

Greece

35

47

53

0.8

+13.5

5

+7

Bangladesh

46

51

51

0.8

+0.5

2

-3

Haiti

33

53

50

0.7

-4.0

-1

+10

Iran

45

61

49

0.7

-19.7

-5

-4

Serbia

41

44

48

0.7

+9.3

2

-1

Nepal

32

48

48

0.7

-1.4

-1

+8

Bosnia and Herzegovina

29

38

44

0.7

+16.9

5

+12

Netherlands

38

42

43

0.6

+2.2

1

-2

Albania

52

37

43

0.6

+14.1

6

-12

Australia

34

37

42

0.6

+14.0

6

0

Canada

42

43

41

0.6

-4.6

-3

-9

Algeria

40

39

38

0.6

-3.4

-1

-7

Indonesia

31

38

37

0.5

-0.5

1

+5

Egypt

33

38

36

0.5

-5.2

-1

-2

Eritrea

20

42

34

0.5

-18.3

-5

+21

Honduras

17

28

33

0.5

+19.5

10

+28

OECD

1 859

2 010

2 002

29.4

-0.4

Non-OECD

3 815

4 869

4 806

70.6

-1.3

EU28

1 711

1 975

1 973

29.0

-0.1

Total

5 674

6 879

6 808

100.0

-1.0

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989076

Several countries outside of the top ten countries of origin experienced notable changes in their long-term trends in 2017. Emigration from Thailand to the OECD rose by 64%, with an increase of 150% to Korea (from 28 500 to 71 500). Thailand occupied 16th place in the 2017 ranking (up 14 places). Flows from Venezuela to the OECD increased by 59%, with large increases in flows to Chile (+83%), Spain (+70%) and the United States (+10%). Venezuela held 19th place in the 2017 ranking (up 15 places).

Brazilian immigration to the OECD rose by 24%, reaching 17th position in the 2017 ranking (up nine places), with increases to Portugal (+64%), Spain (+12%) and the United States (+9%). Migration flows from Nigeria grew by 21% due to a spike in flows to Italy (+58% to 23 300) and despite decreases in flows to the United States (-6%) and Germany (-4%). Registered migration flows from Afghanistan (-47%) and Iraq (-32%) decreased sharply in 2017. Germany experienced the steepest declines in registered migration inflows from these countries (-83% for Afghanistan and-60% for Iraq).

Flows of migrant women

On average, women represented 45% of new immigrants to OECD countries in 2017 (Figure 1.11). Compared with the previous five-year period, this represented a 1 percentage point decrease. A downward trend in the share of women in new migrant flows can be observed in over half of the countries and was particularly visible in 2017 in Lithuania (-17 percentage points), Iceland (-8 percentage points), Italy (-8 percentage points), Slovenia (-6 percentage points) and the United Kingdom (-5 percentage points).

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Figure 1.11. Share of women in overall migration flows to OECD countries, 2012-17
Figure 1.11. Share of women in overall migration flows to OECD countries, 2012-17

Note: The OECD average is the average of the countries featured in the figure above. For Chile, 2016 instead of 2017.

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988829

In 2017, only six OECD countries received more migrant women than men. The share of migrant women was highest in the United States, while Australia, Israel, Spain, Canada and Ireland also received more migrant women than men. In these countries, the gender balance of flows was relatively stable, reflecting the predominance of family migration (including accompanying family of labour migrants). Conversely, the share of women in new migrant flows to Germany, Austria, and most Central and Eastern European countries with available data, was below 46%.

Acquisition of citizenship

In 2017, around 1 850 000 foreign residents in OECD countries acquired the nationality of their host country (Figure 1.12). This represents a sharp drop (-11%) compared to 2016 when almost 2.1 million people obtained the nationality of an OECD country, and it is the lowest figure since 2010. This decrease is mostly led by Spain (-72%)4 and Italy (-27%). Overall, only 765 000 people acquired the nationality of an EU country in 2017 (-14%). Canada also largely contributed to the overall decline. In 2014 and 2015, Canada was second to the United States in terms of acquisition of citizenship by foreign residents, and during these two years, more than half a million residents became Canadian citizens. Since then, the number of acquisitions of Canadian citizenship decreased sharply to just over 100 000 in 2017 and ranked seventh. This is also the lowest level registered in 30 years. The other notable declines were registered in the United States, where a little more than 700 000 people acquired US citizenship (which represents a -6% drop), in the United Kingdom where 120 000 became UK citizens (-18%), and in Denmark where the number of new Danish citizens (7 200) halved compared to 2016, but nonetheless remained higher than in any year prior to 2015. Acquisition of host country citizenship increased in 14 OECD countries but significantly only in Norway (+7 000 new citizens, + 48%), Belgium (+5 500, +17%), New Zealand (+4 600, +14%), Finland (+2 800, +30%) and Luxembourg (+1 900, +26%).

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Figure 1.12. Acquisitions of nationality in OECD countries, 2000-17
Figure 1.12. Acquisitions of nationality in OECD countries, 2000-17

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988715

In Sweden, 8% of foreign residents became Swedish citizens in 2017, as in 2016 (Figure 1.13). Sweden remained the first OECD country in terms of the share of its foreign population acquiring host-country citizenship. Finland ranked second with 5.3%, up 1 percentage point compared to 2016, followed by Greece (4.9%), Portugal (4.6%) and Norway (4%). Overall, 2.3% of the OECD foreign population acquired citizenship of the host country in 2017 (-0.3 percentage points).

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Figure 1.13. Acquisitions of nationality as a percentage of foreign population, 2016-17
Figure 1.13. Acquisitions of nationality as a percentage of foreign population, 2016-17

Note: Australia, Canada, Chile and New Zealand: the data refer to the foreign-born population rather than the foreign population. The OECD average is the average of the countries featured in the figure above.

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988848

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Figure 1.14. Acquisitions of nationality in OECD countries: Top 20 countries of former nationality, 2016 and 2017
Figure 1.14. Acquisitions of nationality in OECD countries: Top 20 countries of former nationality, 2016 and 2017

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988867

Mexico became the main country of origin of new citizens of OECD countries in 2017 (Figure 1.14) with 122 000 naturalisations completed (+13% compared to 2016). This is primarily due to the sharp rise in the number of Mexican nationals becoming US citizens (119 000, +14%) and to the decline in the number of naturalisations of Indians across OECD countries (121 000, -7%). While more than 50 000 Indian nationals acquired US citizenship in 2017 (+10%), only 10 000 Indians acquired Canadian citizenship (-40%) and 17 000, British citizenship (-33%). The lower number of naturalisations in Canada and in Italy drove the decline of the overall figure for Filipino citizens to just over 70 000 (-20%). China ranks fourth with 67 000 naturalisations (-9%) followed by Morocco (62 000, -35%) and Albania (60 000, -15%). Among the top 20 countries of origin, the United Kingdom is the only other one (besides Mexico) for which an increase was registered in 2017 (+16%). 7% of British citizens living in Germany acquired their host country’s nationality in 2017, and 6% of those living in Belgium and in Sweden.

copy the linklink copied!Recent policy developments

Migration management

Many of the developments in migration policy in recent years have been driven by the need to increase programme integrity and set conditions for programmes targeting specific types of migrants. In the European Union, policy development in Member States has been driven partly by the transposition of recent EU Directives covering highly qualified workers, students, researchers and intra-company transfers.

Three countries with permanent immigration programmes have modified their approaches by focusing on their planning ranges. Australia has experienced a decadal reduction in its migration ceiling with a fall from 190 000 to 160 000 in the last two years. It introduced three new streams within the economic migration programme: two regional programmes and one Global Talent programme.

New Zealand has entered a transitional phase in the planning range for its New Zealand Residence Programme (NZRP). The NZRP planning range for July 2016 to June 2018 had been set between 85 000 and 95 000. From 2020, the planning range will be replaced with an approach that focuses on the management of specific residence visa types. The three residence streams were business/skilled (60%), family (32-33%) and international/humanitarian (7-8%). Rather than work against overall targets, the government will decide how to prioritise categories, which categories are demand-driven and which are capped, and how many people in each category should be granted residence. This will prioritise residence categories, such as the Skilled Migrant Category, which were subject to cuts when other categories increased.

Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan, which determines targets for different streams of Canada’s migration programmes, has, since 2017, been set on a triennial rather than an annual basis. The 2019-2021 Immigration Levels Plan set targets at 330 800 for 2019, 341 000 for 2020 and 350 000 for 2021. Following some adjustments, the target for 2012 includes increased targets for humanitarian admissions, which account for about 14-15% of the total. Economic migration comprises 57-58% of the total, and family reunification 26-27%.

Economic migration

Programmes for economic migrants adjusted

Countries continue to adjust the criteria upon which their labour migration programmes are based, thereby ensuring better selection and a more successful filling of labour/skill gaps. Several countries have modified their points systems to this end. In Canada, the system for managing applications for permanent migration, Express Entry, was modified in late 2017. Additional points are granted for having a sibling in Canada who is a citizen or permanent resident, as well as for strong French language skills. Candidates were relieved of the requirement to register in the national vacancy matching database, Job Bank.

In Austria, the Red-White-Red (RWR) skilled points-system was modified. Eligibility criteria under the RWR Card for key employees were altered at the beginning of 2019, awarding more points to relevant work experience and language skills, fewer points to young workers, and requiring more points overall to qualify. Further changes to the scheme announced in February 2019 will abolish the previously necessary proof of accommodation at the time of application and decrease the minimum salary threshold for the category of key employees by EUR 500 (at least until 2022). Young applicants with limited work experience are less likely to qualify for a permit under the new rules unless they have strong language skills.

Korea modified its job-search (D-10) permit for skilled foreigners, introducing a points system for issuance to applicants abroad. Depending on the qualification level, the permit can be issued for one or two years.

In other cases, procedures have been changed or developed in order to identify and attract skilled migrants. During 2018, Australia introduced a significant reform of both its temporary and permanent employer-sponsored skilled migration programmes. A Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa was introduced, which comprises three streams: short-term (valid for up to two years with one onshore renewal); medium-term (valid for up to four years with eligibility to apply for permanent residence visas); and labour agreement (for exceptional cases where standard visa programmes are not available). The TSS replaced the 457 Temporary Work (Skilled) Visa. Differences include higher salary and English language skill requirements; expanded labour market test requirements; and a requirement of at least two years of work experience. In addition, a Skilling Australians Fund (SAF) levy on TSS employers as well as recruiters under certain permanent programmes was imposed. SAF revenue is directed to apprenticeships and traineeships in occupations in high demand which currently rely on skilled migration. A pilot Global Talent Scheme targets highly skilled and specialised workers not covered by the standard TSS visa but with potential to pass, develop or transfer skills to Australian workers. Finally, SkillSelect shifted to a monthly, rather than a bi-monthly, selection. The possibility for authorised employers to consult SkillSelect candidate profiles was withdrawn in 2018, although regional and provincial authorities are still able to consult them.

Finland increased permit validity from one to two years for specialists and their family members. For all categories, the labour market test would no longer apply to a person who has worked in Finland for a year with a residence permit. Employees can also change fields without the labour market test being applied if they meet the qualification requirements in that field.

Belgium transposed the European Single Permit Directive (2011/98/EU), the last EU country covered by the directive to do so. From January 2019, foreigners entering Belgium for employment and work activities for a duration of over 90 days must apply for a Single Permit. The Single Permit combines work and residence authorisation. A single process is in place for applicants to submit both employment and residence authorisation documents. The same process applies to renewals.

Also in Belgium, in December 2018, the Flemish Government adopted a regional legislation overhauling the conditions of third-country nationals’ admission to the labour market in Flanders. Nationals of any country (and not only nationals of countries with employment agreements with Belgium) can now be issued an authorisation to work. The new Flemish model has three categories: highly qualified; skilled trades on a shortage list; and labour-market tested workers for whom special economic or social reasons justify recruitment. Permits for the first category can be issued for up to three years’ duration, rather than annually. Salary thresholds apply, which are reduced for applicants under age 30 and which can vary according to the occupation. Permit duration for some categories has been extended.

In Bulgaria, it became easier to recruit foreign workers. The ceiling on employment of third-country nationals by firm increased from 10% to 25% (35% for small and medium-sized enterprises). Conditions for EU Blue Card issuance were relaxed and the labour market test was abolished. Fees were reduced substantially and the possibility to provide supporting documentation electronically was allowed.

Some countries have counted salary more than occupational skill level. New Zealand’s Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) uses salary thresholds to supplement the assessment of ‘skilled employment’ levels. New Zealand median full-time income is the threshold imposed for higher-skilled occupations, while it is set at 1.5 times this level for occupations normally classified as lower skilled. In addition, greater recognition of work experience and post-graduate qualifications was introduced in the points system.

In March 2019, a number of immigration reforms took effect in France designed to increase talent attractiveness. Key changes include transposition of the EU ICT Directive, which imposed a longer cooling-off period between assignments, as well as expanded provisions for dependent children. France also transposed the EU Students and Researchers directive, in order to increase their mobility. Graduates are eligible for the job-search permit for up to four years after graduating, an increase of one year. The French “Talent Passport” programme was expanded. Firms sponsoring Talent Passports are no longer limited to newly established or innovative firms. Talent Passports may be issued to graduates of foreign universities as well as French universities.

In light of its impending exit from the European Union, the United Kingdom published a migration White Paper on 19 December 20185, which sets out its intentions for the future border and immigration system. There will be an Implementation Period, planned to run until 31 December 2020, during which current rules will continue to apply. Under the planned changes, skilled migrants will be prioritised. There will be no cap on the numbers of skilled workers, which can include workers with intermediate level skills, at RQF 3-5 level (UK A level or equivalent) as well as graduate and post-graduate skill levels. A minimum salary threshold will be set after consultation. The obligation to conduct a labour market test to sponsor a worker will be eliminated.

In Germany, a law passed in June 2019 introduced a uniform conception of “skilled labour”, extending the current focus on university graduates to include medium-skill level workers with qualified vocational training (Box 1.1).

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Box 1.1. Changes in German skilled labour migration law

In June 2019, a new law in Germany relaxed existing regulations on skilled labour migration to Germany. The law eliminates some of the obstacles and restrictions on the issuance of an employment permit to foreigners. Skilled workers with an employment contract – whose qualifications are recognised – are now able to work in any profession for which they are qualified. Employment is no longer limited to shortage occupations. Further, for skilled occupations, the labour market test is eliminated, although it may be reintroduced if the local labour market situation changes.

Germany’s job-search visa, which grants limited stay for the purpose of job search to highly skilled workers with university degrees, has been expanded to include workers with qualified vocational training. In addition, graduates of German schools abroad, as well as foreigners under age 25 holding diplomas qualifying them for access to German universities, may come to Germany for six or nine months to search for educational or apprenticeship opportunities. German language skills (B2 in the CEF) and adequate means of subsistence are also required.

The new law also creates possibilities, under certain circumstances, for skilled workers to receive a permit to complete training for the purpose of full recognition of their foreign qualifications. When qualifications are recognised as partially equivalent, skilled workers can now make up the difference to achieve full equivalence. A prospective employer must sponsor the trainee, who must have B2-level German language skills and adequate means of subsistence.

Measures to make countries more attractive

Two countries changed taxes and subsidies to attract skills. Korea extended tax facilitations for certain foreign workers. The flat tax for the first five years of employment in Korea, meant to expire in 2018, was extended to entries up to 2021. The 50% reduced tax rate for foreign engineers was extended to five years and is valid for entries up to 2021.

In Estonia, the government allocated EUR 4 million to Enterprise Estonia to provide a EUR 2 000 subsidy for hiring foreign ICT specialists, from May 2018. Firms can request the subsidy once the recruit – who must not have worked in Estonia in the previous three years – has been on the payroll for five months at a salary of at least EUR 2 000. The subsidy is meant to defray recruitment costs.

One measure which many countries use to improve attractiveness for talent is to extend favourable conditions to the spouses of highly qualified workers. In Ireland, from March 2019, eligible spouses of Critical Skills Employment Permit (CSEP) holders can start working immediately upon obtaining an Irish Residence Permit, rather than having to obtain a separate employment permit. Self-employment, however, is not allowed. Spouses of other permit holders, including the Intracompany Transfer Permit and General Employment Permit, are still required to obtain a separate employment permit.

In the United States, spouses of certain temporary skilled workers who had applied for a permanent resident status have been able, since 2016, to request employment authorisation. This measure, H-4 EADS, is expected to be withdrawn in 2019.

Favouring regional migration

One recent policy trend in economic migration has been to strengthen incentives and programmes for migration outside major metropolitan areas and to rural areas.

In Australia, there are two new regional visas which admit skilled workers to live outside major cities for three years, after which they can apply for permanent residency. Australia has also increased the post-study extension period by 12 months for graduates who stay in non-metropolitan areas and now allows longer stays for working holiday makers who are employed in regions.

In Canada, an “Atlantic Pilot” was launched in 2017 to increase immigration to the four Atlantic Provinces, which gives an increased role to employers in settlement and retention, in partnership with federal and provincial immigrant settlement service provider organisations. Building on this, a federal “Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot” was announced in January 2019, targeting selected communities in Ontario, Western Canada, and the territories. It aims to support participating communities so that newcomers may settle in as part of the local community. The objective is to test new, community-driven approaches to address the labour market needs of smaller communities.

In addition, many Canadian provinces have developed their own platforms for selecting candidates for sponsorship under the Provincial Nomination Schemes, which represent (excluding Quebec) almost a third of total economic class inflows to Canada.

In New Zealand, graduates of higher education institutions outside Auckland benefit from a two-year post study open work visa, instead of one year formerly. This condition is available for students who graduate by the end of 2021.

Shortage lists

Tight labour markets and skills shortages in many OECD countries led to an expansion of many shortage occupation lists. Denmark’s list saw more occupations added than removed in the revisions in 2018 and 2019. Similarly, in March 2019, Ireland expanded the number of occupations on its Critical Skills shortage list, while also removing some occupations, largely for technical trades, from its Ineligible Occupation list. Austria, in 2018, increased the number of occupations on its shortage list for the “Red-White-Red” card from 27 to 45. Latvia, in February 2018, published its first shortage list of 237 occupations. The list allows issuance of an EU Blue Card at a lower salary threshold, while for other applicants it cuts the labour market test duration from 30 to 10 days. Lithuania, where the list serves a similar function, expanded its Occupational Shortage list from 27 to 49 occupations in 2018, with IT occupations figuring prominently. In Poland as well, a shortage occupation list was introduced in 2018, decided by ministerial regulation, with 289 occupations, all of which are exempt from a labour market test.

The Slovak Republic published its first shortage lists in July 2018. The list of occupations experiencing labour shortages provides foreign workers in those categories simplified work permit procedures and exemption from labour market testing. Occupations on the list are exempt from the test and the foreign worker may now start up to six weeks job training after submitting an application during the initial 90-day stay.

In the Belgian region of Flanders, a shortage occupation list for medium-skilled jobs will be introduced, to be reviewed every two years by the Flemish Employment Minister. Recruitment for medium-skill jobs will only be possible when they appear on the list.

By contrast, in May 2018, the Swiss Government published a “non-shortage” list, defining high-unemployment industries for which employers must advertise vacancies and consider local candidates before recruiting a foreign worker. High unemployment is defined as 8%, falling to 5% from 2020, and the list of occupations will be published annually. A five-day minimum advertising requirement applies and the public employment service provides the employer with the names of registered suitable candidates. Some exemptions apply for prior employees, short-term employment, apprenticeships and cases when the employer has recruited from the roster of unemployed.

Sponsorship

One ongoing trend is to pre-certify employers as recognised or trusted sponsors, either for eligibility to recruit migrants or to accelerate immigration procedures. Under Australia’s new TSS, processing has been streamlined through automatic approval of low-risk nomination applications lodged by accredited sponsors, faster renewal for existing sponsors and a new standard five year sponsorship approval period. Lithuania implemented a list of approved sponsors in 2018 who may recruit directly without submitting certain documents, including the work permit, to the Migration Department. In the Slovak Republic, employers on a Ministry of Economy list of Technological Centres now have their work permit applications processed by the Police within 30 days, rather than 90, from receipt of work permit approval. In Slovenia, a “fast track” procedure was established to allow registered high-value-added or start-up companies faster recruitment of foreigners.

Caps and ceilings continue to play a role

Admission ceilings for highly qualified workers have been increased in some cases. In October 2018, Switzerland raised the quota on work permits for non-EU/EFTA nationals by 500 permits to a total of 8 500 in 2019. Long-term B permits will increase from 3 500 in 2018 to 4 500 in 2019, while the shorter-term L permits will be reduced from 4 500 to 4 000. Quotas on work permits for EU/EFTA nationals will remain the same as in 2018 (500 B permits, 3 000 L permits). Estonia’s annual quota for new residence permits for employment was set at 1 315 in both 2018 and 2019, but exemptions have expanded: from July 2018, top-level specialists are added to the quota-exempt group. In January 2018, the Czech Government doubled the annual quota to fast-track skilled and semi-skilled migrants from Ukraine to 19 600 persons per year.

Japan introduced two new temporary foreign worker categories, allowing medium-skilled workers to come as labour migrants. The two new categories of “Specified Skilled Worker” apply to specific sectors and are subject to a cap. The first category applies to workers "with a considerable degree of knowledge or experience" in specified areas, while the second category is for those with "expert skills". A language and skills test applies, but foreigners who have finished the full three-year Technical Intern Training may switch without taking the test. The first category allows a maximum stay of five years, while the second can be indefinitely renewed and allows accompanying family members. The cap for Category 1 is set at 345 000 for the period 2019-2025. Category 2 is expected to be active by 2021.

In other countries where entries are governed by annual admission ceilings, quotas were kept roughly stable. In Korea, the new entry quota for temporary foreign workers under the E-9 programme for low-skilled work – mostly in manufacturing – was set at 45 000 new workers in 2018 and 43 000 in 2019. The quota for returning workers – readmitted for a second five-year stay – was 11 000 in 2018 and 13 000 in 2019. The annual admission decree for 2019 in Italy was broadly similar to that of 2018 and 2017, allocating up to 18 000 seasonal worker permits as well as almost 13 000 other permits, including 10 000 temporary permits for change of status from study to work and 2 400 permits for self-employment, including investors and entrepreneurs.

Criteria and conditions in temporary and seasonal programmes evolve

A number of EU countries transposed the EU Seasonal Workers Directive, in many cases establishing a new seasonal worker permit. In Austria, for example, implementation of the Directive allows seasonal workers to stay up to nine months. Elsewhere, programmes are aimed at particular sectors. Korea’s programme for seasonal workers in rural areas – sponsored by family members in Korea or by municipalities – was introduced as a pilot in 2015 and became a regular programme in 2018. In May 2018, the Irish Government introduced a temporary pilot scheme for workers in the horticulture sector, the meat industry and the dairy sector. A special programme was necessary because the minimum salary threshold was below the standard Irish work permit minimum. Later in 2018, the Irish government “Review of Economic Migration Policy” recommended introducing a Seasonal Employment Permit to facilitate certain categories of short-term workers. In the United Kingdom, a two-year pilot Seasonal Workers scheme was announced in 2018, for up to 2 500 workers annually in seasonal agricultural work lasting up to six months.

In other cases, seasonal programmes have expanded. The United States increased the limit of its temporary non-agricultural worker visa programme, H-2B, from 66 000 to 96 000 for Fiscal Year 2019. This follows an increase of 15 000 workers granted in the previous Fiscal Year. Nationals of several countries that were previously eligible for participation, including the Dominican Republic and the Philippines, were excluded for Fiscal Year 2019.

Elsewhere, it has been made easier to recruit for non-highly skilled jobs. In Lithuania, for instance, from March 2019, important changes to work permit rules were implemented. Workers arriving for non-highly skilled jobs no longer have to prove qualifications and recent relevant employment experience to the Migration Department. The responsibility is now on the employer: except for Shortage Occupation List workers, the employer must ensure that the foreign recruit has documents confirming qualifications (diploma, certificate, etc.) and at least one year’s experience in the field in the previous two years. Job changes have also been simplified.

By contrast, New Zealand imposed limits on maximum stay. From 2017, lower-skilled temporary work visa holders may stay up to three years, after which they need to spend 12 months outside New Zealand before they can be granted another visa. Furthermore, dependant visas are no longer available.

Bilateral labour migration agreements

In the Czech Republic, a new agreement on “Special Procedures for Ukrainian Workers in the Agriculture and Food Industry”, which covers unskilled workers from Ukraine, was introduced in January 2018. New bilateral labour migration programmes between the Czech Republic and Mongolia and the Philippines assign each country quotas of 1 000 workers annually, with Serbia for 2 000 workers, and with India for 500 highly skilled workers. Slovenia signed an agreement with Serbia in 2018.

In Israel, bilateral agreements for recruitment of temporary foreign workers play an increasingly important role. Two such agreements were made with the Philippines in September and December 2018. The first was for live-in care workers; the other was to admit 1 000 workers for the hotel industry, with the possibility of admitting up to 2 000. In the face of high demand from hotels, the Ministry of Tourism decided in February 2019 to assign workers to the industry based on a scoring system favouring hotels that have been ranked by the Ministry’s star system; high occupancy hotels; and hotels in the Dead Sea and Tel Aviv region. Eilat hotels, however, which may employ Jordanian cross-border workers, are excluded. In August 2018, two new quotas for temporary migrant workers were set, one in tourism (1 000 workers to be recruited through a bilateral agreement) and one in manufacturing. In July 2018, the government decided to allow additional non-Israeli construction and infrastructure companies, meeting certain criteria, to hire 1 000 workers each from abroad, representing up to 6 000 additional workers. Also in July 2018, the government raised the quota of daily construction workers by 1 500 workers and the quota of daily cross-border Jordanian workers in the tourism sector in the Eilat region from 1 500 to 2 000.

Investor programmes are more common and better adjusted

Programmes for investors have evolved, primarily to raise the threshold and target investments. In 2018, both the European Commission and the European Parliament reviewed residence-by-investment and citizenship-by-investment programmes in the European Union. Position papers published in 2019 were critical of many of these programmes: the EU contested whether such programmes granted citizenship only in cases of a real link with the country, while the OECD raised concerns over circumvention of financial reporting measures. Concern largely focused on non-OECD countries.

In January 2019, Portugal’s parliament voted on proposed changes to the “Golden Visa”, which grants residence, with limited physical presence requirements, in exchange for an investment in property or other Portuguese assets. A new category of Golden Visa grants Portuguese residency to foreigners who invest a minimum of EUR 500 000 in organic agriculture, ecotourism, renewable energy and other environmental projects.

In 2019, Greece expanded eligibility for its “Golden Visa” for investors, available since 2013 for real estate purchases of at least EUR 250 000. It is now also available for capital investment in a Greek-operating firm of at least EUR 400 000, or equivalent purchase of Greek bonds or equivalent bank deposit, as well as for purchases of State or corporate bond or stock of EUR 800 000.

In December 2018, Turkey lowered the investment thresholds for its citizenship-by-investment schemes, first introduced in 2017. Turkish citizenship is available by investing USD 500 000 (or equivalent) in fixed capital (previously 2 million), a Turkish bank account or government stocks or bonds (previously 3 million), or – a new possibility – venture capital or a real estate investment fund. Citizenship is also available if the foreign investor creates jobs for at least 50 Turkish nationals (previously 100 jobs) or invests at least USD 250 000 in real estate (previously, 1 million). Investments must be held for at least three years.

Bulgaria, which has an investor visa-granting accelerated access to citizenship, changed the procedures for obtaining Bulgarian citizenship through investment. From January 2019, tighter conditions apply to investments. Bonds can no longer be purchased through financing. Fast-track access to citizenship (after 18-24 months of residence rather than five years) remains available for investors but an in-person interview in the Bulgarian language is necessary. However, in late January 2019, before the EU report criticising the scheme was published, the government announced it would abolish citizenship by investment. A bill to this effect has been introduced but has not yet been approved.

In the United States, a proposed regulatory change would raise the EB-5 threshold from USD 500 000 to USD 1.35 million and change the designation process for targeted employment areas where investment thresholds are lower.

Start-up and innovation visas

A continuing trend is the introduction of visas or programmes to facilitate visas for start-ups and entrepreneurs in innovative firms (Table 1.11). In some cases, these programmes fill a gap in the permit framework, while in others they facilitate acquisition of existing permits for investors or self-employed foreigners.

In Canada, the Start-up Visa pilot programme transitioned into a permanent programme in early 2018. The programme’s goal is to attract innovative foreign start-up entrepreneurs who have support from a designated Canadian business incubator, angel investor group or venture capital fund.

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Table 1.11. Many countries have introduced visas for Start-ups
Date of introduction of different start-up visas.

Country

Programme

Begun

Chile

Start-up Chile

2010

Ireland

Start-up Entrepreneur Programme – STEP

2012

United Kingdom

Tier 1- Graduate entrepreneur

2012

Canada

Start-up Visa (SUV)

2013

Korea

Technology & Business Start-up (D-8-4)

2013

Italy

Italy Start-up Visa

2014

Netherlands

Start-up Visa

2015

Denmark

Start-up Denmark

2015

France

Tech Ticket

2015

New Zealand

Global Impact Visa (4-year pilot)

2016

Lithuania

Start-up Visa

2016

Latvia

Start-up Visa

2016

Estonia

Start-up Visa

2017

Israel

Innovation Visa (B-2) (3-year pilot)

2017

Finland

Residence Permit for Start-up Entrepreneur

2018

Portugal

O Start-up Visa

2018

Japan

Business manager/investor

2018

Poland

Poland Prize (pilot)

2018

Source: OECD Secretariat analysis.

In January 2018, in Finland, a two-year renewable residence permit was introduced for innovative entrepreneurs. The permit is issued by the Finnish Immigration Service following a business assessment from the Business Finland innovation funding agency. The Finnish Immigration Service will no longer assess business activities; Business Finland assesses if the company’s business model shows potential for rapid international growth. Processing time is limited to several weeks. Portugal created a Tech Visa, available from 2019 and offering a faster approval process. It is issued to highly qualified employees of established firms which are certified as offering innovative technology by IAPMEI (Institute to Support Small and Medium-sized Enterprises). It complements the StartUp Visa, introduced in 2018, for foreign entrepreneurs who want to create an innovative business or relocate from abroad. This visa is for firms which receive support from an incubator and then approval from the IAPMEI, which considers the business plan and the likelihood of achieving a threshold of success after five years.

In France, the French Tech Visa was expanded in March 2019 to facilitate hiring from abroad of foreign employees by start-up firms, in addition to investors, founders and entrepreneurs. Eligible firms may be in any sector, not only IT.

Several Japanese National Strategic Special Zones (NSSZs) have been authorised to sponsor promising start-up entrepreneurs, with capital and an approved business plan, to receive a six-month Business manager permit. Renewal is possible for those who meet certain benchmarks after six months. Some of the NSSZs provide support, including funding and incubator access. In 2018, Italy introduced new regulations for its 2016 “Start-up Visa”, specifying modalities for obtaining the visa and encouraging faster procedures in issuing the permit.

Chile, which already has a programme to support start-up entrepreneurs, introduced a fast-track tech visa in 2018 for foreign professionals and technicians in science and the IT fields. The visa is granted to foreigners recruited by employers holding a certificate of sponsorship. Certificates can be a letter of invitation or certificate of sponsorship from InvestChile, Start-Up Chile (the government accelerator program), or the Undersecretary of Economy. The visa is issued within 15 days.

On the model of the Chilean programme, in 2018, a “Poland Prize” pilot was created to attract foreign start-up and innovative firms. The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) chose programme operators who scout, assess proposals and accelerate talents. A dedicated visa path is available, as well as individual support. Grants of up to PLN 250 000 (around EUR 59 000) are available, as well as networking assistance.

Asylum seeking

Changes aim to streamline and accelerate asylum procedures

A range of measures have been adopted across OECD countries, including better use of reception centres and facilities, as well as use of new technology for identification purposes.

In Belgium, reception systems and facilities have been reformed. The Council of Ministers reduced the number of reception places for applicants for international protection from 23 800 to 16 600 places in 2019 (of which 10 000 are collective places and 6 600 are individual reception places), scaling back the reception network to its pre-2015 capacity. Meanwhile, the German government has begun setting up centralised reception facilities for asylum seekers to process applications, determine status and organise return where relevant. Asylum seekers are obliged to live in these facilities for the duration of the procedure, which should not exceed 18 months. Switzerland also introduced, in March 2019, new accelerated asylum procedures. The majority will take place in federal government asylum centres, where asylum seekers stay for a maximum of 140 days.

In France, new asylum procedures were implemented in January 2019. Among other changes, applications for asylum made more than 90 days after an illegal entry are now subject to an accelerated procedure. Applicants may be assigned to reception centres in regions other than the one where the application is filed; failure to stay in such a centre can lead to the asylum seeker benefit being suspended. Administrative retention was increased up to 90 days and forced departure facilitated. A four-year permit will now be granted to beneficiaries of subsidiary protection.

In Italy, the national reception system for refugees and asylum seekers (SPRAR) has been renamed as “System for international protection and unaccompanied minors (SIPROIMI)”, and focuses on provision of integration services whilst asylum seekers are placed in the newly named “Centres for Asylum” (CAR). Changes in October 2018 reduced the grounds for issuance of permits for humanitarian reasons for those who do not receive international protection. Specific circumstances have been defined, including trafficking, domestic violence, forced labour, and risk of persecution or torture on return. These conditions will also apply to those who renew previous temporary humanitarian protection permits, unless they have qualified for a different category of permit. Italy also took steps to accelerate asylum processing for individuals from safe origin countries and also for asylum requests under removal procedure, establishing new asylum courts to reduce a backlog. Spain increased the capacity of care and reception centres for those who arrive in a situation of vulnerability, from 2 800 places to approximately 5 000.

In 2017, the Czech Act on Asylum was amended to allow videoconferencing in appeal procedures before the court, in cases of both asylum and detention. In addition, a legislative amendment makes it possible from July 2018 for asylum seekers to request free legal assistance in administrative proceedings, as costs are now borne by the Ministry of Justice.

In some countries, the trend towards tighter conditions continues. In Canada, where 2018 saw increased numbers of asylum seekers crossing the Canada-U.S. border at non-ports of entry, the government has accelerated the asylum process, while increasing funding for temporary housing in those cities and provinces that find themselves under particular pressure.

In 2018, the United States imposed a daily processing limit on the number of asylum requests to be registered at border crossings with Mexico. It also changed the order in which it processed asylum applications, to prioritise incoming applications over the oldest cases in the backlog. In early 2019, the United States introduced Migrant Protection Protocols, a policy for persons arriving from Mexico and crossing the border illegally or without proper documents. Those who seek asylum may be returned to Mexico for the duration of their asylum case.

New procedures have become necessary in Colombia which is coping with a large inflow of Venezuelans. Many have been regularised and obtained a Special Stay Permit (PEP) enabling them to remain in the country for up to two years, with full access to basic rights. In October 2018, the Colombian Ministry of Labour established a National Registry of Foreign Workers. Colombia also reintroduced Border Mobility Cards (TMF) for Venezuelans in November 2018, after a nine month suspension, allowing Venezuelan beneficiaries to access border areas for up to seven days to purchase basic goods, services and to visit relatives.

Tighter conditions for entry and stay

The process of tightening conditions for entry and stay, discernible in recent years, continues. Since April 2018, asylum seekers in Austria must remain easily reachable by authorities and remain in their designated accommodation until their asylum application is processed. In Italy, asylum seekers can be held for up to 30 days in specific centres in order to verify their identity, while some can be held in a closed facility (“repatriation centre”) for up to 180 days. Under a new Italian law, protection can be revoked – and asylum applications rejected – for perpetrators of certain crimes. Similarly, refugees who visit their home country without justification will have their protection withdrawn. Further, on 29 November 2018, Italy adopted a bill designed to expel migrants more easily and limit residency permits. The bill eliminates the two-year “humanitarian protection” residence permit (awarded to 25% of asylum seekers in Italy in 2017). Residence permits will instead be awarded under stricter conditions, such as a one-year "special protection" or a six-month “natural disaster in country of origin” status. The bill also introduces a new procedure to fast-track expulsion of asylum seekers considered to be dangerous.

In Finland, new provisions differentiate work rights for asylum seekers according to possession of identification documents. Asylum seekers may start working three months after submission of their application if they have a passport, six months if they do not. The same time limit also applies to subsequent applications. The right to work ends when the decision of the Finnish Immigration Service becomes enforceable. Ireland, on the other hand, from 2018 onwards, granted employment access to asylum seekers.

In Germany, a 2019 law introduced uniform standards for the “3+2” rule, which suspends deportation of rejected asylum seekers who are completing their vocational training, and grants them the right to work in Germany for two years upon completion of the apprenticeship. Previously, the rule was applied with a wide margin of discretion. The law also extends the “3+2” rule to care professions. Persons in “tolerated” status (i.e. previous asylum seekers whose request was denied but now cannot be deported) who complete vocational training may apply for a regular permit of stay.

Free movement

The principal preoccupation in the free movement area constituted by the European Union, Switzerland, Iceland and Norway, has been the expected exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union and the possible consequences thereof. Following exit, millions of European residents of the United Kingdom will have to secure new grounds for such residence, while millions of UK nationals in other European countries will have to do likewise.

The UK Government has outlined its policy for EU nationals in the wake of Brexit by introducing “settled status” (Box 1.2). By 10 April 2019, 400 000 EU citizens had applied for such a status. To increase outreach to vulnerable or at-risk people applying to the EU Settlement Scheme, estimated to number up to 200 000, the government has offered funding to private organisations to provide information and practical support. In the event that the United Kingdom would leave the EU without an agreement on transitional free movement (“no-deal Brexit”) UK nationals will face different conditions according to their current country of residence. The European Commission has recommended that UK nationals not be immediately considered as staying illegally but that contingency measures should be temporary, with national migration policies returning “back to normal as soon as possible”6. A number of different solutions have been announced, all of which are outlined in Box 1.2.

In April 2018, Switzerland decided to restrict free mobility for workers from Bulgaria and Romania for a further year. Later in 2018, Switzerland prolonged the transition period for free mobility with Croatia until the end of 2021.

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Box 1.2. Proposals by the United Kingdom and individual EU Member States for the post-Brexit status of EU citizens currently residing in the UK and UK citizens currently residing in EU Member States

While the timing and nature of the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU remains uncertain, the groundwork for a post-exit regime has been drafted. Under this draft, the rights of EU citizens living in the United Kingdom and of UK nationals living in the EU would be guaranteed during an “Implementation Period”. EU citizens and their family members who wish to remain in the United Kingdom after the end of the Implementation Period must apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. They have until June 2021 to do so, if the Implementation Period ends on 31 December 2020. Irish citizens will not need to apply to settle under the future system, as their current rights to live and work in the United Kingdom, which pre-date EU free movement, will be preserved and the Common Travel Area will continue to function.

  • EU citizens and their family members who, by 31 December 2020, have been continuously resident in the United Kingdom for five years will be eligible for ‘settled status’, enabling them to thus stay indefinitely.

  • EU citizens and their family members who arrive by 31 December 2020, but will not yet have been continuously resident for five years, will be eligible for ‘pre-settled status’, enabling them to stay until they have reached the five-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.

  • EU citizens and their family members with settled status or pre-settled status will have the same access as they currently do to health care, pensions and other benefits in the United Kingdom.

  • Close family members (a spouse, civil partner, long-term partner, dependent child or grandchild, and dependent parent or grandparent) living overseas will still be able to join an EU citizen resident in the United Kingdom after the end of the Implementation Period, where the relationship existed on 31 December 2020 and continues to exist when the person wishes to come to the United Kingdom. Future children are also protected.

In the event of the United Kingdom leaving the EU in a no-deal scenario, it will not be bound by the Implementation Period.1 Instead, the United Kingdom will seek to end free movement as soon as possible through the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill introduced to Parliament on 20 December 2018, which, once enacted, will repeal the regulations that currently implement free movement in United Kingdom law. Once free movement has ended, EU citizens and their family members newly arriving in the United Kingdom will be admitted under UK immigration rules and will require permission (leave to enter or remain).

Regarding the measures taken by EU Member States, a survey by the European Commission indicated that a majority had established measures to be taken in the event of a no deal on Brexit. The main categories of measures are:

  • Targeted permanent national “regularisation” legislation under which UK citizens will be considered to be legally staying after withdrawal. Some countries – e.g., Denmark, Norway, Austria, Slovakia, Italy, Bulgaria, and Romania – will offer permanent national “regularisation” under which British citizens will automatically be considered to be legally staying.

  • Targeted legislation under which UK citizens will be considered to be legally staying after withdrawal, for a “grace period” during which they will need to regularise their status under the countries’ migration laws. Seventeen member states – Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Latvia, Spain, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Portugal, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Finland, Belgium, Hungary, Slovenia – have passed temporary national regularisation legislation under which British nationals will enjoy such a grace period.

  • Measures that grant a temporary “grace period” after which UK citizens can regularise under existing migration laws but only after the end of this grace period.

  • Some Member States plan to systematically recognise certificates issued under Directive 2004/38/EC (on the right of EU citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the member states) as residence permits for a certain period. Others plan to grant long-term residence status under facilitated procedures to those benefitting from the right of permanent residence under Directive 2004/38/EC. Others will decide on the next steps in view of further developments and taking into account reciprocity considerations.

The length of the grace periods vary, with Belgium initially planning its transition period until the end of 2020, while Germany provides a three-month period of the status quo, likely to be increased by a further six months.

1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-immigration-after-free-movement-ends-if-theres-no-deal/immigration-from-30-march-2019-if-there-is-no-deal.

Source: https://ec.europa.eu/info/brexit/brexit-preparedness/residence-rights-uk-nationals-eu-member-states_en.

Refugees and resettlement policies

Countries have adopted various approaches, including changes in quotas, status and in relation to family members.

Refugee resettlement quotas continue to be adjusted, both upwards and downwards. The United States has been revising downwards its annual refugee resettlement cap since 2016. The quota for US Fiscal Year 2018 was 45 000 and for 2019 was set at 30 000. Processing delays related to tighter scrutiny led to fewer effective resettlements than allocated in 2018. In New Zealand, the refugee quota increased to 1 000 places annually from July 2018 and the government has announced that this will be increased to 1 500 annually from July 2020. A Community Organisation Sponsorship Scheme pilot, for 25 people per year, has also begun. Some countries initiated new resettlement programmes. Canada set its resettlement targets at 9 300 in 2019, 10 700 in both 2020 and 2021. In addition, it also has a target of sponsored resettlements of 19 000 in 2019 and 20 000 for each of the following two years. A smaller allotment (1 650, then 1 000) is available for additional resettlements combining public and private sponsorship. Canada also supports the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative to help develop community and private sponsorship of resettlement in other countries.

Starting in 2018, Hungary accepted approximately 300 Venezuelans, able to demonstrate Hungarian ancestry, for resettlement. In addition to provision for travel costs, the government provides a residence permit, one-year housing support in a centre, and an integration programme with Hungarian and English language training. In addition, an NGO provides integration support for programme beneficiaries. In 2018, Slovenia committed to resettling 60 Syrian refugees from Turkey. Meanwhile, Romania established a resettlement quota of 109 refugees for the period 2018-2019.

In September 2017, the European Commission recommended a new EU resettlement scheme aimed at resettling up to 50 000 vulnerable persons in need of international protection in Europe by October 2019. Funding of up to EUR 10 000 per resettled person was pledged. Most individual EU Member States pledged resettlement places. About two-thirds of this number had arrived by mid-2019. A permanent European Union Resettlement Framework remains under negotiation, which would replace such ad hoc schemes.

In Austria, the cessation of refugee status has been simplified for refugees who voluntarily return to their country of origin. Young refugees who have committed a crime may also lose their status according to new procedures. The minimum waiting period for Austrian citizenship for recognised refugees was extended from six to ten years.

Since March 2019, all residence permits for refugees and their family members in Denmark are accorded as temporary residence permits. This also applies to renewals of current permits. Status change is possible under the current conditions for acquiring permanent residence. The grounds for revoking permits for refugees have been changed, with less weight given to the individual’s circumstances and more to Denmark’s international commitments. Returning to the home country can lead to revocation of the permit, although participation in voluntary return allows a period in which the refugee can reconsider.

Age and family reunification underlie developments in Finland, which amended the Aliens Act to respond to the Court of Justice of the European Union, establishing the relevant date for assessing a refugee’s age in family reunification cases as the date on which the application for international protection was submitted. Therefore, a refugee who was a minor at the time of entry into Finland and who reached the age of 18 during the asylum procedure and was granted asylum or subsidiary protection status, is considered a minor when requesting family reunification. The application for family reunification must be submitted within three months of the court’s decision.

Family migration policy

Family reunification procedures have in many cases been made more restrictive or subject to additional conditions. In Belgium, since 2017, a parent’s request to join a child already recognised as a refugee in the country is treated as a family reunification request if the child had filed an asylum application before reaching the age of 18 years. In such cases, parents are also exempt from payment of the fee for family reunification procedures. The application for family reunification must be made within three months of the day the refugee status was granted to the minor.

In 2017, the Netherlands adjusted rules on family migration, easing conditions in some cases but eliminating eligibility in others. Foreigners under age 18 with “close personal ties” to grandparents residing in the Netherlands have become eligible for a residence permit. Married couples who seek to reunify in the Netherlands no longer need to demonstrate that they previously cohabitated abroad. By contrast, adult children who cannot demonstrate that they habitually live with their parents in the Netherlands or have a degree of dependency are no longer eligible for a residence permit.

Switzerland imposed language requirements on applicants for temporary B residence permits based on family reunification; these now require an A1 or equivalent oral level, or proof of a language course at A1 level. Israel has taken a decision whereby Ethiopian members of the “Falash Mura” community may request family reunification (subject to certain limits) and a resolution was passed for a quota of 1 000 for the year 2019.

In New Zealand, partners of students at the lowest levels of qualification are not eligible to open work visas unless the principal applicant works in an area specified on the Long Term Skill Shortage list.

In Sweden, the restriction on family reunification for persons with subsidiary protection was lifted in June 2019. The restriction was imposed in 2015, when it was decided to grant temporary rather than permanent stay for beneficiaries of subsidiary protection. However, the decision to grant only temporary stay has been upheld through 2021. Since March 2019, the Danish Ministry of Immigration and Integration has the possibility to put in place a monthly ceiling on the number of residence permits given on the grounds of family reunification for refugees resident in the country. Such a ceiling can be imposed in cases, for example, of a spike in asylum applications. Similarly, Germany imposed a ceiling of 1 000 cases per month of family reunification with persons holding subsidiary protection.

Elsewhere conditions have been relaxed. Canada, for instance, has introduced a number of provisions to facilitate family migration. Among other measures, the age limit for dependants was raised from 19 to 22 and a new and improved intake process for sponsorship of parents and grandparents began in January 2019.

One policy trend in family migration is to create alternative, non-resident visas for parents and sometimes grandparents, to allow visits without involving acquisition of permanent residence. In Australia, from mid-2019, Australian citizens, permanent residents, or eligible New Zealand citizens, may apply to sponsor a parent for a Sponsored Parent (Temporary) visa. The five-year visa is an alternative to temporary visitor visas, and to the permanent visa for parents, for which there is a long waiting period. The government has capped the new visa at 15 000 issuances annually. In 2018, a pathway was also opened for eligible Retirement (subclass 410) and Investor Retirement (subclass 405) visa holders to obtain permanent residence in Australia.

Border security and irregular migration

Chile held a regularisation from April to July 2018. During this period, any foreigner who had entered the country avoiding border crossing or who had overstayed a tourist visa or other form of permit or was working without a legal status, could apply for a temporary residence permit. More than 155 000 foreigners applied, and by June 2019 almost 129 000 permits had been issued.

In October 2018, Ireland announced a limited temporary regularisation programme for foreigners who held a valid student permission from January 2005 to December 2010, but subsequently became undocumented. From October 2018 to January 2019, they could apply for a "4S" stamp, permitting them to live and work in Ireland for two years without a separate employment permit.

In Greece, residence permits can be issued for exceptional reasons to undocumented foreigners. The duration of validity of the residence permit for exceptional reasons (case-by-case regularisation) was extended to three years and the conditions for granting the permit were amended so that the only condition is either the proof of seven years’ continuous residence in Greece, or a parent-child relationship with a national minor.

Student migration and post-study transitions

Favourable conditions to attract and retain

One clear recent trend in OECD countries has been an increase in the post-graduation extension of residence for international students. The 2016 EU Students and Researchers Directive sets the minimum post-study stay to nine months in participating countries. This has had an effect on policy in a number of EU member states (see Figure 1.15). In some cases, transposition of the Directive led to the adoption of an extension where no prior one existed (e.g., Belgium, Hungary, Luxembourg). In other cases, it extended the stay period (Austria, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and the Slovak Republic). Spain and Austria set the period at 12 months, which goes beyond the minimum period stipulated by the Directive. Norway also increased its extension from 6 to 12 months in 2018 and included researchers as being eligible.

France introduced a new “National Strategy to Attract International Students” in late 2018, with the objective of increasing international student enrolment by more than 50%, to 500 000, by 2027. From the academic year 2019/2020, new initiatives include online applications, a one-stop shop with priority visa service, and a residence permit allowing return to France. Tuition fees have been raised for non-European students, to either EUR 770 or 3 770, a ten-fold increase. Exemptions and scholarships have also been increased. A “Welcome to France” label will be issued to universities which put in place measures to support international students.

The Czech Republic introduced a pilot project, “Student Mode”, in 2017 to accelerate admission procedures for international students from a selected group of countries. Universities must apply to participate in the project and must provide support to applicants. Nationals of 16 African countries and five South Asian countries, as well as other origin countries, are eligible.

Similarly, there has been a trend towards expanding the work rights of students. For example, in July 2018, Latvia granted to Master’s or doctoral students unrestricted access to the labour market, while all other students may work up to 40 hours per week during holidays, in addition to 20 hours during the term. In New Zealand, post-study work rights have been more closely tied to qualifications. Depending on the level of qualification, one- to three-year post-study open work visas are now granted. The employer-assisted post-study work visa has been removed, to reduce dependence on employers. The United Kingdom has reintroduced a limited post-study work route for Master’s and doctoral graduates. Further, under its 2018 White Paper proposal, from 2021 onwards, international graduates from UK universities with Master’s or PhDs will be allowed six and 12 months, respectively, post-study leave to find a skilled job. Those at Bachelor’s level or above will be able to apply to switch into the skilled workers route up to three months before the end of their course in the United Kingdom and from outside of the United Kingdom for two years after their graduation.

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Figure 1.15. Many OECD countries have recently increased post-graduate job-search extensions
Duration of job-search periods for post-graduate schemes in different OECD countries, in months, 2019
Figure 1.15. Many OECD countries have recently increased post-graduate job-search extensions

Note: The United States refers to Optional Practical Training (OPT), which is an extension of the student permit for an authorised post-graduation training period. This can last up to 36 months for certain categories.

Source: OECD Secretariat analysis.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933988886

Measures to verify legitimate student status

One trend in management of student migration has been to prevent the use of student channels for access by those only wishing to work. In Belgium, a law passed in April 2018 introduced changes concerning the length of stay of international students. The law also clarifies when student status can be withdrawn or rejected based on academic performance. It allows denial of extension for master’s degrees, for example, when performance in the bachelor programme does not meet standards. Similarly Latvia, in 2018, introduced grounds for refusing issuance or renewal of a student permit when students fail to progress or perform poorly.

Initiatives for emigrants

In countries affected by large scale outflows of their own nationals, there have been increased efforts to attract emigrants back home. In Latvia, a pilot project launched by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development in 2018, explored how return and reintegration of Latvian emigrants and their families could be facilitated. During the first eight months of the project, regional coordinators contacted about 1 300 Latvian emigrant families, 10% of whom had already returned to Latvia. Coordinators inform Latvian emigrants about changing living conditions and opportunities in Latvia; under this initiative, returning emigrants are also eligible for financial support of up to EUR 9 000. New measures to support the return of Lithuanian emigrants were also introduced. These include bolstering the country’s specially dedicated “Information Centres” and allowing toll-free calls from Norway and Ireland (notable host countries for Lithuanian emigrants); psychological support; measures to provide individual educational support to children of returning Lithuanians; and reimbursement of costs incurred in obtaining return-related documentation. In Spain, a “Plan of Return to Spain” has been launched, which brings together different public and private actors to identify the situation of Spaniards abroad and create conditions favouring their return.

Tax breaks are one measure used by certain countries to attract emigrants back home. In Portugal, for instance, emigrants who have lived abroad for at least three years and who return to the country between January 2019 and December 2020 will benefit from a 50% income tax reduction until 2023.

Youth Mobility

The network of agreements continues to expand. In 2018, Austria extended its working holiday programme to include agreements with Israel, Canada, Chile and Australia. Sweden entered into a working holiday agreement with Hong Kong (China) and Argentina in 2017 and with Uruguay in 2018.

In Australia, from November 2018, changes to the Working Holiday Programme are meant to support regional and rural communities. Consequently, extensions of stay are now offered for work in regional agriculture, as well as longer work periods for agricultural employers. Caps for some countries have been raised and the age limit for others has been increased.

Permanent residence

Some countries have added language requirements for acquisition of permanent residence or changes of status after several years of residence. In August 2018, the Swiss Federal Council approved changes in integration and language requirements (in the primary language of the place of residence) for foreign nationals requesting a permanent residence permit. Rules, published in February 2019, may vary by canton. In general, permanent residence (C permits) based on ten years of residency, requires A2 oral and A1 written language skills; permanent residence (C permits) based on five years of residence requires B1 oral and A1 written level. Nationals of neighbouring countries as well as those of Belgium, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain are exempt. Spouses and registered partners of Swiss citizens and of C-permit permanent residents must meet integration requirements including A2 oral and A1 in written language levels. In Estonia, after five years of residence, extensions or new issuances of temporary residence permits for employment require an A2 level of proficiency in the Estonian language.

Administrative change and action plans

Several countries have changed their administrative frameworks. In Japan, the current Immigration Bureau will be upgraded to a new Immigration Services Agency with expanded scope and staff. The agency will consist of two divisions: a departure and immigration control division and a residency control and support division. In addition to immigration, the agency is expected to coordinate with other ministries, agencies and local governments to improve conditions for foreign workers. It will oversee the technical intern training and new Specified Skilled Worker systems.

The Lithuanian “Strategy for the Demographic, Migration, and Integration Policy for 2018–2030 was adopted in 2018. The Strategy has three goals designed to develop a family-friendly environment, manage migration flows, and integrate senior citizens into public life. The Strategy provides for encouraging return migration as well as arrival of foreign nationals, through attraction, admission, integration and outreach policy. The Strategy also aims to pursue an effective policy towards the Lithuanian diaspora.

copy the linklink copied!Annex 1.A. Supplementary tables and figures
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Annex Table 1.A.1. Permanent flows to OECD countries by category, 2017
Thousands and percentage change compared to 2016

 

Work

Accompanying family of workers

Family

Humanitarian

Other

Free movements

 

2017

%

2017

%

2017

%

2017

%

2017

%

2017

%

Australia

58.1

-4

65.5

-4

59.6

-2

22.0

25

0.4

37

12.6

-36

Austria

5.0

-2

1.1

12

8.5

-5

25.6

-16

0.4

1

57.9

-3

Belgium

4.9

-8

 

28.7

9

13.8

-11

0.1

-6

60.2

2

Canada

80.9

16

78.3

-9

82.6

6

41.5

-30

3.3

 

..

 

Denmark

7.6

-7

4.6

7

7.1

-9

2.8

-63

5.5

8

29.3

5

Finland

1.8

29

 

9.9

17

5.4

-44

0.1

-86

6.5

-9

France

30.0

8

 

97.9

0

32.5

40

19.7

-12

78.8

-9

Germany

61.7

22

 

114.9

9

263.8

-40

7.1

7

412.7

-9

Ireland

8.0

26

0.5

50

3.1

-25

0.8

30

..

 

27.8

-9

Israel

..

 

 

6.2

14

..

 

20.2

-2

..

 

Italy

4.8

-18

..

 

113.5

11

31.8

-10

5.2

-2

61.5

-3

Japan

53.1

8

..

 

29.9

1

0.1

-34

16.2

-1

..

 

Korea

0.5

-30

 

13.3

-5

0.3

0

52.0

1

..

 

Luxembourg

1.5

34

 

1.8

19

1.3

82

0.1

26

16.7

5

Mexico

5.2

-38

 

15.7

2

3.1

74

7.5

-19

..

 

Netherlands

17.9

21

 

29.0

17

7.8

-62

0.0

 

86.8

11

New Zealand

11.9

-16

12.3

-19

12.4

-25

4.1

3

..

 

6.5

8

Norway

2.8

13

 

14.2

-7

7.8

-50

..

 

23.9

-3

Portugal

7.6

36

 

14.0

40

0.5

56

1.8

-10

15.6

5

Spain

30.4

-11

 

116.7

10

4.1

-40

30.7

-8

142.1

19

Sweden

13.1

34

-100

50.4

25

36.5

-49

..

 

32.1

-2

Switzerland

1.9

5

 

20.6

-2

6.8

5

3.1

7

86.0

-7

United Kingdom

31.0

12

17.8

4

61.2

16

18.7

30

29.6

25

183.8

-15

United States

64.8

-1

73.0

1

748.7

-7

146.0

-7

94.6

13

..

 

OECD

504.8

6

253.1

-4

1 659.9

0

677.2

-28

297.5

3

1 341.0

-5

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989095

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Annex Table 1.A.2. Preliminary trends in migration flows, 2018

 

2017

2018

% change

Period covered

Number of months

Australia

218

193

-12

Jul-Jun

12

Austria

139

132

-5

Jan-Dec

12

Belgium

124

129

+4

Jan-Dec

12

Canada

286

321

+12

Jan-Dec

12

Chile

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

Czech Republic

46

58

+27

Jan-Dec

12

Denmark

67

65

-3

Jan-Dec

12

Estonia

9

10

+7

Jan-Dec

12

Finland

24

23

-2

Jan-Dec

12

France

247

256

+3

Jan-Dec

12

Germany

1 412

1 382

-2

Jan-Dec

12

Greece

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

Hungary

36

49

+35

Jan-Dec

12

Iceland

12

12

+0

Jan-Dec

12

Ireland

57

62

+8

Apr-May

12

Israel

28

30

+7

Jan-Dec

12

Italy

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

Japan

475

520

+9

Jan-Dec

12

Korea

453

495

+9

Jan-Dec

12

Latvia

5

5

+0

Jan-Dec

12

Lithuania

10

12

+21

Jan-Dec

12

Luxembourg

23

23

+1

Jan-Dec

12

Mexico

32

37

+17

Jan-Dec

12

Netherlands

200

209

+4

Jan-Dec

12

New Zealand

47

45

-5

Jan-Dec

12

Norway

50

44

-11

Jan-Dec

12

Poland

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

Portugal

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

Slovak Republic

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

Slovenia

..16 

..24 

..55

Jan-Dec

12

Spain

454

559

+23

Jan-Dec

12

Sweden

125

114

-8

Jan-Dec

12

Switzerland

147

148

+0

Jan-Dec

12

Turkey

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

.. 

United Kingdom

563

525

-7

Jan-Dec

12

United States

1 128

1 096

-3

Jan-Dec

12

Note: The 2018 data available for France, Belgium and Luxembourg include only flows from non-EU28 countries. The total for 2018 is based on the assumption of stable intra-European flows between 2017 and 2018.

Source: OECD International Migration Database, https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00342-en; national sources.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989114

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Annex Table 1.A.3. Permits considered in the statistics on temporary labour migration and their characteristics

Country

Name of the programme

Duration of stay / renewability of the contract

Existence of a quota

Australia

(Temporary visas granted, fiscal years; excludes New Zealand citizens)

Working holidaymakers: subclasses 417 and 462

Up to 1 year.

subclass 417: uncapped;

subclass 462: capped except for the United States.

Trainees: The Training visa (subclass 407) introduced in 2016. Former Temporary Work (Training and Research) visa (subclass 402) streams—‘Occupational trainee’ and ‘Professional development’, closed to new applications from 2016; and the following visas closed to new applications from 24 November 2012: Visiting Academic visa (subclass 419), Occupational Trainee visa (subclass 442), Professional Development visa (subclass 470); and the Trade Training Skills visa (subclass 471) which was repealed in September 2007.

Up to 2 years.

 

Seasonal workers: Seasonal Worker Programme (within subclass 416 replaced by subclass 403 from Nov 2016)

From 4 to 7 months.

Uncapped.

Intra-company transferees: subclass 457 visas granted (primary applicants)

Up to 4 years.

 

Other workers: other temporary work (Short Stay Specialist); International relations (excl. seasonal workers); Temporary Activity; Temporary work (Skilled) (excl. ICTs)

 

 

Austria

Intra-company transferees: Rotational workers

 

Uncapped.

Seasonal workers: Winter and Summer tourism, Agriculture, Core seasonal workers, Harvest helpers (number of persons estimated based on the number of permits delivered).

Up to 12 months.

 

Other workers: Researchers, Artists (with document or self-employed), Self-employed workers

 

Uncapped.

Belgium

Working holidaymakers (top 10 countries of origin)

Trainees

 

Other workers: Au Pair; Artists; Sports(wo)men; Invited Professors or trainers; Other temporary workers.

 

Canada (TFWP & IMP programmes - initial permits)

Intra-company transferees: International Mobility Program (IMP) Work Permit Holders by year in which Initial Permit became effective (Trade - ICT; NAFTA - ICT; GATS professionals; significant benefits ICT)

Varies.

 

Seasonal workers: Seasonal Agricultural Workers Programme (TFWP): effective entries

Not renewable.

 

Working holidaymakers: International Experience Canada (IEC) (IMP)

Not renewable.

Uncapped.

Other workers: International Mobility Program (IMP): Agreements (excl. ICT); Canadian Interests (excl. working holidaymakers, spouses and ICT); Self-support; Permanent residence applicants in Canada; Humanitarian reason; Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Live-in caregivers; agricultural workers (non seasonal); other TFWP

IMP: varies; Live-in caregivers: unlimited; other TFWP: not renewable.

Uncapped.

Denmark

Working holidaymakers

 

Trainees

 

Other workers: De facto status; Au Pair; Volunteers.

 

Finland

Seasonal workers: Seasonal work visas

Up to 9 months

Trainees

 

Other workers

 Up to 12 months

France (first permits issued)

Intra-company transferees: Salarié en mission / Salarié détaché ICT

Up to 3 years.

 

Seasonal workers: annual entries - OFII statistics

Up to 9 months per year (3-year authorisation).

 

Working holidaymakers: Programme vacances travail

Up to 12 months.

 

Trainees: Stagiaires

Up to 1 year initially (extension up to 3 years in total).

 

Other workers: Temporary economic migration (visa "salarié" < 12 months)

Up to 12 months (renewable).

 

Germany (grants of work permits)

Trainees

 

 

Intra-company transferees: § 8 BeschV (Praktische Tätigkeiten als Voraussetzung für die Anerkennung ausländischer Berufsqualifikationen), § 10 BeschV (Internationaler Personalaustausch, Auslandsprojekte), § 10a BeschV (ICT-Karte / Mobiler-ICT-Karte)

Other workers: § 8 Abs. 2 BeschV (Anerkennung ausländischer Berufsqualifikationen - § 17a AufenthG bis zu 18 Monate), § 8 Abs. 3 BeschV (Anerkennung ausländischer Berufsqualifikationen - sonstige), § 11 Abs. 1 BeschV (Sprachlehrerinnen und Sprachlehrer), § 11 Abs. 2 BeschV (Spezialitätenköchinnen und Spezialitätenköche), § 12 BeschV (Au-Pair-Beschäftigungen), § 13 BeschV (Hausangestellte von Entsandten), § 19 Abs. 2 BeschV (Werklieferverträge), § 25 BeschV (Kultur und Unterhaltung), § 27 BeschV (Grenzgängerbeschäftigung), § 29 Abs. 1 BeschV (Internationale Abkommen - Niederlassungspersonal), § 29 Abs. 2 BeschV (Internationale Abkommen - Gastarbeitnehmer), § 29 Abs. 3 - 4 BeschV (Internationale Abkommen), § 29 Abs. 5 BeschV (Internationale Abkommen - WHO/Europaabkommen)

 

 

Ireland

Working holidaymakers: Working holidaymaker visas

 

 

Trainees: Internship employment permit

 

 

Intra-company transferee

 

 

Other workers: Contract for Services; Exchange Agreement; Sport and Cultural Employment Permits

 

 

Israel (entries excl. Palestinian workers, and stock of Jordanian daily workers working in uncapped sectors)

Working holidaymakers

 

 

Other workers:

 

 

Construction: Jordanian workers (daily workers); Tel Aviv-Jerusalem railway project; Tel Aviv city rail project; Sea ports projects; Turkish construction workers; Foreign Construction Workers (5 bilateral agreements)

Daily workers: unlimited; other workers: renewable up to 63 months.

Capped.

Tourism: Jordanian daily workers in hotel industry and construction in Eilat

Unlimited.

Capped.

Agriculture

Not renewable.

Capped.

Home care

Renewable up to 63 months (or up to 7 years if no employer change between 5 and 7 years of stay).

Uncapped.

Specialists and skilled (experts working visa)

Unlimited.

Uncapped.

Italy

Seasonal workers

 

Working holidaymakers

 

Other workers

 Up to 12 months

Japan (New visas, excl. re-entry)

Working holidaymakers: Working holidaymaker visas

 

 

Trainees: Trainees and Technical intern training

Intra company transferees

 

 

Other workers: Professor; Artist; Religious Activities; Journalist; Researcher; Instructor; Entertainer; Cultural Activities

 

 

Korea (Visas issued)

Industrial trainees: D-3

 

 

Working holidaymakers: H-1

 

 

Intra-company transferees: D-7

 

 

Other workers: visas D-6; D-9; E-1 to E-9; H2

 

 

Luxembourg

Trainees

 

Intra-company transferees

 

Other workers

 Up to 12 months

Mexico

Seasonal workers: Cards of visiting border-worker (Tarjetas de Visitante Trabajador Fronterizo)

 Up to 5 years

 

Other workers: Temporary residence permit (Tarjetas de Residente Temporal) for work

New Zealand (excludes Australian citizens)

Seasonal workers: Recognised Seasonal Employer Limited Visa; Supplementary Seasonal Employment (extensions)

Up to 7 months (or 9 months for citizen-residents of Tuvalu and Kiribati); extensions possible up to 6 months.

Capped.

Working holidaymakers: Working Holiday Scheme

Up to 12 months (or 23 months for citizens of the United Kingdom or Canada).

Capped for some countries.

Trainees: Work experience for student; Medical & dental trainee; NZ racing conference apprentice; Religious Trainees

Practical training for students not enrolled in New Zealand (or enrolled for 3 months maximum): up to 6 months; Religious trainees: up to 3 years; Apprentice jockeys: up to 4 years.

Uncapped.

Others workers:

 

 

Essential skills (other temporary workers)

Up to 5 years.

Uncapped.

Entertainers and Associated Workers (other temporary workers)

Contract duration.

Uncapped.

Talent (Accredited Employer) (other temporary workers)

Up to 30 months.

Uncapped.

Exchange Work (other temporary workers)

Up to 12 months.

Capped.

Long Term Skill Shortage List Occupation (other temporary workers)

Up to 30 months.

Uncapped.

China Special Work (other temporary workers)

Up to 3 years.

Capped.

Skilled Migrant and Specialist skills (other temporary workers)

No limit.

Uncapped.

Talent - Arts, Culture and Sports (other temporary workers)

No limit.

Uncapped.

Norway (non EU/EFTA nationals)

Seasonal workers

Not renewable

 

Working holidaymakers

 

Trainees

 

Intra-company transferees

 

Other workers: Unskilled non seasonal temporary workers

 

Poland

Seasonal workers (Eurostat statistics)

Up to 6 months

Uncapped

Other workers: Estimates based on administrative forms from employers for recruiting workers from six countries of origin (Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine) under simplified procedures.

Up to 6 months.

Uncapped.

Portugal

Other workers

Up to 12 months

Slovenia

Seasonal workers

Other workers

Up to 12 months.

Spain

Seasonal workers: Authorisations for temporary employment

 

Intra-company transferees

 

Other workers: Permits for employees with contracts of limited duration; Permits for international service providers;Temporary residence permits for specific professions not requiring a work authorisation; Researchers; Trainees and workers in Research and development

 

Sweden

Seasonal workers: Berry pickers

 

 

Working holidaymakers: Working holiday visas

Trainees

 

 

Other workers: Athletes and coaches; Au Pair; Intra-company transferees; Performers; Visiting researchers.

 

 

Switzerland

Trainees

Up to 18 months.

Capped.

Other workers (excluding detached workers):

 

 

Employed with work permits

Up to 12 months.

Capped (contracts of 4 to 12 months duration) or uncapped (permits<4 months).

Musicians and artists

Up to 8 months.

Uncapped.

United Kingdom (Entry clearance visas granted)

Tier 5 – pre PBS Youth Mobility up to 24 months (multi-entry visa)

 

 

Other workers:

 

 

Tier 2 - Intra Company Transfers Short Term (closed on 6 April 2017)

 

 

Tier 2 - Intra Company Transfers Long Term

Maximum 5 years (9 years if salary > GBP 120 000 per year).

 

Tier 5 - pre PBS Youth Mobility (WHM)

Up to 24 months (multi-entry visa).

 

Tier 5 - pre PBS Charity Workers

Up to 12 months or the time given on the certificate of sponsorship plus 28 days, whichever is shorter.

 

Tier 5 - pre PBS Creative and Sporting

Maximum of up to 12 months, or the time given in the certificate of sponsorship plus up to 28 days, whichever is shorter.

 

Tier 5 - pre PBS Government Authorised Exchange

Up to 12 or 24 months (depending on the scheme) or the time given on the certificate of sponsorship plus 28 days, whichever is shorter.

 

Tier 5 - pre PBS International Agreement

Maximum 2 years, or the time given on the certificate of sponsorship plus up to 28 days, whichever is shorter.

 

Tier 5 - pre PBS Religious Workers

Maximum of up to 3 years and 1 month, or the time given on the certificate of sponsorship plus 1 month, whichever is shorter.

 

Non-PBS - Domestic workers in Private Households

Up to 6 months.

 

United States (non-immigrant visa statistics)

Seasonal workers: H-2A - Temporary worker performing agricultural services

Up to 3 years.

 Uncapped.

Working holidaymakers: J-1 - Exchange visitor, Summer Work Travel Programme

Up to 4 months.

Capped.

Trainees: H3

Up to 2 years.

Intra-company transferees: L-1 - Intracompany transferee (executive, managerial, and specialised personnel continuing employment with international firm or corporation)

Maximum initial stay of one year. To 3 years (L-1A employees). Extended until reaching the maximum limit of seven years (5 years for L-1B).

 

Other workers:

 

 

H-2B - Temporary worker performing other services

Up to 3 years.

Capped.

H-1B - Temporary worker of distinguished merit and ability performing services other than as a registered nurse

Up to 3 years initially. Maximum limit of six years in total (with some exceptions).

 

H-1B1 - Free Trade Agreement worker (Chile/Singapore)

 

 

H-1C - Nurse in health professional shortage area (expired in 2009)

Up to 3 years.

 

O-1 - Person with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics

Up to 3 years (extension up to 1 year).

 

O-2 - Person accompanying and assisting in the artistic or athletic performance by O-1

Up to 3 years (extension up to 1 year).

 

P-1 - Internationally recognized athlete or member of an internationally recognized entertainment group

Up to 5 years (1 year for athletic group). Maximum limit of 10 years (5 years for athletic group).

 

P-2 - Artist or entertainer in a reciprocal exchange program

Up to 1 year initially (extension up to 1 year).

 

P-3 - Artist or entertainer in a culturally unique program

Up to 1 year initially (extension up to 1 year).

 

R-1 - Person in a religious occupation

Up to 30 months initially.

 

TN - NAFTA professional

Up to 3 years.

 

Notes

← 1. Together, they reflect what might be called “entries into permanent status” or “additions to the permanent resident population”, rather than actual physical inflows of permanent immigrants, although in many cases the two coincide.

← 2. The average duration of a posting is 98 days for postings falling under Article 12 of the Regulation and 305 days for postings falling under Article 13 of the Regulation. For a detailed review of the data limitations, see De Wispelaere and Pacolet – HIVA-KU Leuven (2018).

← 3. The discussion of permanent and temporary migration in previous sections was based on standardised definitions designed to make the scale and composition of migration comparable across countries. With the exception of a handful of countries, however, no such standardised data are yet available by country or region of origin. In contrast, national data from population registers and other ad hoc sources obtain information on the origin of recent migrants. While the figures should be treated with caution, as they may be composed of mixed groups of permanent and temporary migrants across receiving countries, they do nonetheless offer an indication of the magnitude and make-up of flows by country of origin.

← 4. During 2017 the number of concessions of Spanish nationality per residence has been reduced due to administrative causes.

← 5. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uks-future-skills-based-immigration-system

← 6. Mig-Dir 142 - Compilation MS Replies.docx:

ec.europa.eu/transparency/regexpert/index.cfm?do=groupDetail.groupMeetingDoc&docid=27531.

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Chapter 1. Recent developments in international migration movements and policies