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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The qualifications of immigrants and their value in the labour market

A comparison of Europe and the United States

This chapter provides a systematic overview of the qualifications of the foreign-born and their returns in the labour market, both in Europe and the United States, compared with the native-born with similar demographic characteristics living in the same countries. Immigrants with foreign qualifications have on average lower educational attainment levels than the native-born. The differences are larger in the United States than in Europe, and are also larger for immigrants who have been longer in the country. Immigrants with foreign qualifications have lower returns to tertiary education than the native-born in terms of employment and in terms of job quality. There are also large differences in the qualification levels of immigrants and their returns on the labour market depending on their migration category, with labour migrants having higher qualifications and better outcomes than humanitarian and family migrants. Immigrants who report language difficulties have lower employment and higher overeducation than otherwise similar immigrants who do not. Finally, immigrants who have their foreign degrees recognised have significantly lower overeducation rates than immigrants who do not, even after accounting for the origin of the qualifications and the field of study.

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