International migration fell in 2009, reflecting lower demand for workers in OECD countries for the second consecutive year after a decade of growth, according to a new OECD report.
The 2011 International Migration Outlook says that migration into OECD countries fell by about 7% in 2009 to 4.3 million people, down from just over 4.5 million in 2008. Recent national data suggest migration numbers fell further in 2010.
Impact of the 2008 financial crisis
International student mobility attracted increasing attention. “Education for aid” gave way to “education for trade” as countries and their educational institutions realised that international students could be a source of income and skills.
More countries changed their legislation to allow international graduates to stay on and seek and take up work. International employers began to target such people – mobile and multi-lingual – as part of their global human resources
Job creation during the crisis and beyond
During an economic downturn, although net job creation is negative, new hiring does not stop. Immigrant employment increased in some sectors (education, health, long-term care, domestic services) while it was shrinking in others (construction, finance, wholesale and retail trade, etc.). However, whether laid-off migrant workers can take-up new employment opportunities remains to be seen. In this context, there is therefore a risk that long-term
unemployment for specific categories of workers, especially low- and medium-skilled men will persist.
Integration efforts should be strengthened further
Although most immigrants are well integrated, it would be false to claim that there are no problems. Integration has to be seen as a long-term investment in the future of our societies rather than a short-term cost. A rapid integration of recent arrivals into the labour market is important, but for the medium term, so also are the educational outcomes of their children. Too often, excessive geographical concentrations of disadvantaged and low-educated immigrants have been allowed to develop, with often devastating effects on local school environments and on schooling results. Relegating immigrant
disadvantage to certain neighbourhoods and schools does not address it; it merely perpetuates it, as well as maintaining social differences. Governments have been slow to realise this and need to better address this.