Shifts in migration underline need for policy reform, says OECD


Watch the launch of the 2014 International Migration Outlook


01/12/2014 - The increasing number of people moving within the European Union is driving the rise in migration registered in OECD countries, after several years of decline caused by the crisis. High skilled migration and humanitarian movements to OECD countries are also increasing. Migration policies need to keep pace with these changes, according to a new OECD report.


The 2014 International Migration Outlook says that permanent migration flows to the OECD area have begun to rebound, rising by a modest 1.1% in 2013 after a fall of 0.8% in 2012. There are more than 115 million immigrants in the OECD today, about 10 percent of the total population. One in ten new migrants is from China, and one in five from Asia.


“Countries would benefit more from immigration if they consider migrants as a resource rather than a problem, and integration policies as an investment,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, launching the report in Paris, with Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, and Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Canada.


“Migration policies should be a priority for OECD countries, and integration policies should be seen as the best possible investment in terms of growth, social cohesion and well-being,” said Mr Gurría. “The short and long-term costs of standing still in the face of rapidly changing needs are high. Policy makers need to lead an open and informed debate to build confidence and ensure everyone benefits.” (Read the full speech)


During 2013, migration to Germany recorded a double-digit increase to over 450,000 people, its fourth consecutive annual rise. Three-quarters of all immigrants received by Germany are coming from other EU countries, making the country the second destination in the OECD, after the United States.


By contrast, several major immigration countries saw declines, notably the United States, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Net migration is still well below pre-crisis levels, but remains positive in most OECD countries, except notably in Mexico, Iceland, Ireland, Spain and Portugal.


Labour migration has also declined continuously since the economic downturn, falling 12% in 2012. The fall was particularly notable in the European Economic Area, where labour migration decreased by almost 40% between 2007 and 2012.


Asylum claims rose by 20% in 2013, mainly as a result of the Syrian conflict, with more than 550,000 people seeking asylum in the OECD. International cooperation is key to address the humanitarian problems of asylum seekers from countries in the Middle East, says the report.


The number of highly-educated migrants has increased by 70 percent over the past decade to exceed 31 million. But they still have a higher unemployment rate than their native peers and their over qualification rate is 50% higher. Overall, the crisis hit immigrants disproportionately hard. Of the additional 15 million unemployed in the OECD since the start of the crisis, about one in five is foreign-born.


About 12.5% of all 15-year-olds had two foreign-born parents in 2012, an increase of 50 percent in a decade. Their integration, particularly those with poorly educated parents, is a growing concern, according to the report.


OECD ministers in charge of migration are meeting in Paris on 1st and 2nd December at the OECD High-level Policy Forum on migration to discuss these issues in order to identify policies that make better use of migrants’ skills, for the benefits of societies and economies in both destination and origin countries. Transparently managing objectives and using well-designed tools to achieve them is the most effective way to manage migration, not setting quotas or public spending targets, says the OECD.


For further information, journalists are invited to contact Jean-Christophe Dumont (tel. 33 1 45 24 92 43) in the OECD’s International Migration Division. Journalists are invited to download the report from the password protected site or they can contact the OECD’s Media Division


Further information on International Migration Outlook 2014 and detailed country notes can be found at



An embedable data visualisation for this publication is available at:

Please use the ‘+share/embed’ button to customize this tool for your country and language and to generate the embed code for your website.


Related Documents