Friday, June 09, 2006

Romanians, Russians, Ukrainians, Moldovans, and Latin Americans Lead Sharp Uptick In Legal Migration To Rich OECD Countries

PRAGUE, June 8, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- "Migration to rich countries has risen sharply, while the number of asylum seekers is down, according to a new report out today by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It says long-term migration to its member countries rose some 15 percent in 2004, and a growing number of migrants are coming from Ukraine, Russia, and Latin America.

The OECD says this is the first time statistics give a comparable picture of migration flows. To do that, the group only counted people with long-term residency, and not students, seasonal workers, or illegal migrants....

The OECD's Georges Lemaitre says that's partly due to a 34 percent increase in migration to the United States.

"In the United States, the Green Cards have gone back up after a temporary downturn due to restrictions that were introduced following September 11," he says. "But there are a number of countries where there have been substantial increases. Australia has increasing migration, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain -- these are countries that are essentially going after workers."

The report, the "International Migration Outlook," noted some other recent trends. One was a large rise in the numbers of international students -- an increase of some 45 percent between 1998 and 2003. Requests for asylum continued down, falling by one-fifth in 2004. And more and more migrants are coming from Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

In 2004, more Romanians than any other nationality, 196,000, migrated to OECD countries. And Ukraine and Russia each sent over 65,000.

"The countries on the border [of the OECD area in Europe] do allow movements in, generally on temporary work permits, and you're seeing most of the movements in those border countries [or close to it] -- the Czech Republic, Slovakia," Lemaitre says. "Most of the movements into those countries for temporary work are coming from Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, etc."

The report says the OECD is likely to need more workers to migrate there in the future. That's because populations in rich countries are ageing, while interest in some occupations, like construction, is falling.

The OECD has 30 member states, including most of the EU members plus Canada, Mexico, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, and Japan."

Kathleen Moore "OECD: Eastern Europe Fuels Rise In Migration" Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty June 8, 2006


"Between 3 and 3.5 million immigrants, including those already living in their new country on a temporary basis, became official long-term residents in OECD countries in 2004, according to International Migration Outlook, the latest edition of the OECD’s annual report on migration movements and policies.

Immigration rose sharply to the United States (+34%), Italy (+28%) and the United Kingdom (24%) during 2004, the latest year for which comparative figures are available. By contrast, immigration dropped sharply in Finland (-25%), Germany (-15%) and New Zealand (-14%). Over the same period, the number of asylum seekers arriving in OECD countries declined by more than 20%, continuing a trend that has seen a 35% drop since 2000.

International Migration Outlook includes for the first time statistics which give a comparable picture of migration flows by counting only migrants on long-term resident visas, and not those, such as students or seasonal workers, with non-renewable or short-term residence permits. The statistics do not include unauthorised migration.

The number of temporary, seasonal, and contract workers has been increasing over the past ten years as OECD countries continue to recruit temporary foreign workers. In the countries and categories for which detailed data are available, temporary entries for employment increased by approximately 7% in 2004, reaching 1.5 million. The increase in the number foreign students is also significant, particularly in New Zealand, Japan, Australia, France and Germany.

Following the enlargement of the European Union to 25 states in May 2004, only three EU member countries - the United Kingdom, Ireland and Sweden - opened their labour markets to nationals of the new accession countries. Since then, the UK and Ireland have received a significant number of immigrants from these countries, Sweden to a lesser extent. From May 2004 to the end of December 2005, 345 000 workers from the new member states were registered in the United Kingdom. In Ireland, from May 2004 to May 2005, 83 000 nationals of the new EU member states were registered, equal to 4% of the Irish labour force.

Many countries have adopted measures to attract highly skilled immigrants and foreign students by introducing or improving selection policies. Security and the fight against irregular migration, however, remain key elements of policies to control migration flows. In parallel, new measures were adopted to develop or improve the integration of newcomers. These include obligatory language courses (Denmark and the Netherlands), assistance to find jobs, increased ethnic diversity within enterprises (almost all OECD countries), and the fight against discrimination (France) and for equal opportunities (Belgium, Finland, Sweden, among others).

International Migration Outlook evaluates migration policies and programmes which fix quotas and set numerical limits. It notes that these systems can be difficult to manage if the levels set do not take account of existing family or humanitarian migration as well as unauthorised movements. It also reviews the links between migration, financial remittances to immigrants’ countries of origin and development in these countries."

OECD "Immigration rises in OECD countries but asylum requests fall, says OECD" June 8, 2006,2340,

Romanian factory interior.

Eastern European nations are struggling to replace outdated manufacturing technology so that these nations can employ their educated and growing populations.

Photo credit: International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. With thanks. Insight/vol32/training.html


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