Matching Economic Migration with Labour Market Needs

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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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The international portability of migrant human capital

Canadian experiences

Post-migration skill utilisation is fundamental to the successful economic integration of immigrants in a receiving country. Essential to the process are both the role of diverse economic actors in influencing skill relevance and credential/qualification recognition, and the growing understanding that the value of certain skills (e.g., education) in the labour market is conditional on the presence of other skills (e.g., receiving country language ability) together with the incorporation of this understanding into policy. This chapter explores recent developments in Canada, focusing primarily on immigrant selection policy related to skill portability. Canada is in the midst of a major reform of its immigrant selection system that is strongly influenced by a desire to facilitate skill portability leading to labour market success, and which seems to align with recent research findings. However, unanticipated responses to public policy initiatives are common, and there is a need to monitor ensuing developments to ensure that the observed changes in outcomes align with the policy goals.

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