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Matching Economic Migration with Labour Market Needs

image of Matching Economic Migration with Labour Market Needs

This publication gathers the papers presented at the “OECD-EU dialogue on mobility and international migration: matching economic migration with labour market needs” (Brussels, 24-25 February 2014), a conference jointly organised by the European Commission and the OECD. It provides new evidence on the role that international migration has played in Europe and in selected other OECD countries over the past decade in terms of labour force; educational attainment; and occupational changes. It analyses the availability and use of migrants’ skills based on an in-depth literature review as well as new data analyses for Europe and the United States, Canada and the OECD as a whole, taking advantage of the International Survey of Adult Skills – PIAAC. Finally, several chapters discuss the potential role of international migration in meeting current and future labour market needs in Europe, in the United States and in the European Union. This work shows that although migration can make an important contribution to labour force growth, its role in counterbalancing the effects of population ageing will depend on the capacity of countries to match labour needs to migrants’ characteristics.

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Immigrant skills, their measurement, use and return: A literature review

This chapter compares immigrant and native skills in OECD countries and discusses whether immigration policy is effective in attracting immigrant skills to the host countries. It reviews the academic literature on the returns to immigrant skills in terms of labour market outcomes: employment, skill mismatch and wages, and emphasizes the importance of taking into account different measures of skills as well as the country where the skills were acquired. The chapter reviews two sets of explanatory factors for the lower returns to immigrant than to native skills: on the one hand, immigrants with similar skills to natives may in reality be less productive in the host country; and on the other hand, employers may prefer to hire natives than immigrants. The conclusion puts forward key policy questions and challenges.

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