International migration fell for the third consecutive year in 2010 but started picking up again in 2011, according to a new report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Migration to the United States fell by 8% in 2010. It dropped by 3% to European OECD countries – excluding intra-European movements – and rose by more than 10% to Canada, Korea and Mexico, according to the 2012 International Migration Outlook published on June 27, 2012. Permanent migration into OECD countries fell by about 2.5% in 2010 from the previous year, to 4.1 million people, the report adds.
Recent national data suggest that migration picked up in 2011 in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and in most European OECD countries, with the exception of Italy, Spain and Sweden.
“Labor market developments and migration flows are closely linked. The decline in labour demand has been the driving force behind the fall in migration during the crisis, not restrictions imposed by migration policies, as our 2012 Migration Outlook shows,” said OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría, presenting the report in Brussels.
Over the past decade, new immigrants accounted for 70% of the increase in the labor force in Europe, and 47% in the US. This positive role of migration in maintaining the size of the labor force in many countries is expected to become more important as more baby-boomers retire. By 2015, immigration – at the current level – will not be sufficient to maintain the working age population in many OECD countries, especially in the EU.
The report highlights migration and integration policies that can help labour markets function better:
- Make better use of the skills of migrants already living in countries to meet rising demand for skilled workers.
- Strengthen integration efforts for certain groups at risk. Young low-skilled migrants accumulate disadvantages, and are at higher risk of long-term unemployment.
- Exercise caution with regard to international recruitment into occupations where employment is strongly cyclical.
- Maintain channels of migration for occupations which continue to be in shortage, even in the current slack labor market.