Migration is not out of control says the OECD


A new study from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says that the recent global recession slowed migration. The amount of people leaving poor or developing countries into rich nations fell by seven percent during 2009. The OECD says that the results of the study prove that rich nations can not say that migration is “out of control” as we often hear in the US.

From the Guardian, writer Angelique Chrisafis unpacks the study details.

The inflow of permanent immigrants to 24 OECD countries, including founder EU members, the US, Canada and Australia, fell by 7% in 2009. Much of this decline was the result of a 36% drop in “free-movement” migration within the EU between 2007 and 2009. There was a drop in migration from new EU member countries, notably Romania, Poland and Bulgaria. The number of temporary workers also fell sharply, particularly seasonal low-skilled agricultural workers and fruit-pickers. Seasonal migration dropped by 13% between 2008 and 2009, largely in Spain where people hit by the economic downturn took poorly paid, low-skilled work such as salad-picking, once only done by immigrants.

The growing economic power of China and India had led to more people emigrating for work. Chinese citizens are now the number one migrants to OECD countries, accounting for around 9% of all arrivals. They tended to move to Japan, Korea or Australia and much less to the UK. Indian citizens were the third biggest group of migrants, butmany came to the UK.

The number of asylum-seekers remained stable and relatively low compared with the early part of the decade or the historical highs of the early to mid-1990s. Iraq, Serbia and Afghanistan are the biggest countries of origin. But South Africa was the main destination for asylum-seekers, with many fleeing Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ethiopia.

However, the report warned that the world economic crisis had had a “disproportionate effect” on immigrants who now faced problems of long-term unemployment, particularly low- and medium-skilled immigrant men, as well as youths in their late teens and early 20s. This was particularly so in countries where immigration had soared in recent years, namely Ireland and Spain. In Spain in the last quarter of 2010, unemployment among foreigners was 29%, against 18% among the native Spanish.

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