Migration has reached record highs in recent years. However, new migrants settling in the EU and the OECD every year still represent less than 0.5% of the host-country populations on average, and the current focus on new arrivals should not neglect the longstanding presence of already settled migrants and their offspring.

Migrants bring skills and a dedication to fulfil their aspirations for a better future. This has enormous potential for host countries. For these aspirations to become a reality, however, it is paramount to promote a fast and effective integration of migrants and their children. According to the recent Eurobarometer on Integration in the EU, many citizens in the EU are concerned about the economic and social integration of migrants. Providing reliable facts is therefore a prerequisite for a better-informed public debate and for better-targeted policymaking.

In this context, we are happy to present the second edition of the joint OECD-EU Settling In, which identifies both successes and areas for improvement with respect to immigrant integration. Building and extending on the “Zaragoza indicators” introduced at a ministerial conference under the Spanish presidency of the EU in 2010, this publication provides the most comprehensive international comparison of integration outcomes of immigrants and their children. It covers economic and social outcomes, both through quantitative and qualitative measurements of integration.

The good news is that many countries have made improvements in integrating immigrants and their children into the labour market and social life of their country. However, many challenges still remain, and a significant amount of the potential that migrants bring with them remains unused, hampering both economic growth and social inclusion. In many countries, some vulnerable migrant groups – such as refugees – may take 15 years or more, on average, to reach similar employment rates as the native-born and labour migrants. The inclusion of the large group of family migrants, among which many are women, is also an issue of concern. In addition, in many countries unfavourable outcomes of immigrant parents extend to their native-born children, who also often lag behind their peers with native-born parents.

At the national and European levels, the recent increase in refugee inflows has prompted new approaches and significant innovation with respect to integration in education systems, in labour markets and in society as a whole. Integration has been a priority in many OECD and EU countries, supported at EU level through different concrete measures included in the European Commission's Action Plan on the integration of third-country nationals, including the EU’s skills profiling tool, the European Integration Network, as well as through increased funding now and in the future.

Monitoring changes in integration outcomes is an important element in assessing the success of integration policies. International comparisons help, not only to provide benchmarks and to identify common challenges across countries, but also to foster peer learning on what works and what does not. The comparison between EU countries, on the one hand, and those OECD countries that were ‘settled’ by immigration, on the other hand, is particularly promising in this respect.

While domestic policies in the host countries play a key role in the integration of immigrants, international co-operation can and should support the process. This edition shows once again that a lack of integration can lead to significant economic costs in terms of lower productivity and growth. It also entails political costs and instability, and more generally negatively affects social cohesion. Moreover, integration failure in one country can negatively affect integration prospects in other countries as it may influence the overall perception of migrants. Poor integration outcomes of immigrants also constrain the political space to better manage future migration, whether it is for work, family or protection purposes.

Integration is thus a key issue for both national and international policymaking, and the present publication comes at a crucial moment for the latter: the adoption of the UN Global Compacts on Migration and on Refugees. Both compacts stress the need for better data and monitoring, which is a prerequisite for well-informed policymaking. This second edition of the joint EU and OECD monitoring of integration outcomes is an important contribution in support of that goal. We hope that this work also provides for a better understanding of both the successes that have already been achieved, and of the challenges that still need to be addressed – at national and international levels alike, and the incentive to act.


Angel Gurría

Secretary-General of the OECD



Dimitris Avramopoulos

European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship

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