International Migration Outlook 2009

image of International Migration Outlook 2009

Migration to OECD countries has been sharply rising over the past two decades and in recent years labour migration has significantly increased. This publication first examines the economic crisis and its impact on international migration, describes how flows and migration policy have been recently affected by the crisis, and analyses the forecast medium and long-term impact. Then, it turns to the management of labour migration, both of the highly and lesser skilled. It examines how countries should prepare now for future labour market demand and how best to redirect irregular migration into authorised channels. A dynamic link (StatLink) is provided for each table and graph. It directs the reader to a web page where the corresponding data are available in Excel® format.

English Also available in: French

International Migration and the Economic Crisis

Understanding the Links and Shaping Policy Responses

While it is too early to have a clear view of the full impact of the unfolding economic crisis on net migration flows, the expected consequences on labour market outcomes of immigrants are unambiguous: past experience has shown that immigrants are among those hardest hit in the labour market during a downturn.

In most OECD countries, immigrants have made an important contribution to employment growth during the past decade. In some cases, relatively easy access to labour through international recruitment has contributed to limit wage increases and to fuel the expansion phase. The big rise in the construction sector in several OECD countries is illustrative of this phenomenon. This means that the deterioration in labour market conditions will probably be stronger in countries which have recently witnessed the most rapid increase in migration flows (e.g. Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom or, to a lesser extent, the United States). More generally, given their characteristics and distribution across sectors, migrant workers are expected to be particularly vulnerable to changes in the labour market due to the economic downturn.

English Also available in: French



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