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New report says family migration accounts for majority of U.S. immigration

LatinaLista– Today the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released their annual International Migration Outlook for 2010. When it comes to migration or immigration — depending from which side you want to look at it — it’s important to put it in a global perspective since migration is a world-wide phenomenon or better, instinct.




The OECD member countries that are part of the analysis are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

It’s noted in the 358-page report that “migration already accounts for about 60% of total population growth in the OECD as a whole, and more than 85% in the countries of southern Europe, Austria and the Czech Republic.”

According to the report’s authors:

It is important to remember that migrants were contributors to the national economy when times were good; they should not be seen as a burden when times are bad. Those who are without work should be given equal opportunity with native-born unemployed to develop their skills and to re-integrate the ranks of the employed during the recovery. Jobs are the best insurance against social exclusion and marginalisation of migrants and their children. Employment contributes to their integration and to broader social cohesion.

Unfortunately, not everybody feels that way.

The OECD report validates on a global basis why there is an important need for immigrant labor — especially in those countries that think they overtax their social system.

For starters, the report points out that it’s precisely the low-skilled jobs (in the U.S. they’re called jobs Americans won’t do) that are proving less and less attractive to young workers. The report notes that if it were not for immigrant labor the prices for these services/products would be out of reach for many.

Also, many countries are facing an unbalance between their outgoing workforce — retirees, older workers — and their incoming workforce. In many cases, the incoming workforce is smaller than the outgoing.

What does that mean?

It means there won’t be enough workers to fill those jobs.

Another area the researchers note where immigrant labor is needed is in caring for the elderly and young children whose moms work.

Yet, contrary to what most people think, immigration into the United States isn’t all about coming to find work — “Family migration remains predominant in the United States (65%) and in France and Sweden.”

The report has an interesting section on undocumented migration and what other countries are doing to combat it. Yet, rather than make the laws more punitive against the immigrants, some countries are doing the opposite:

…the maximum re-entry ban for foreigners who have been deported from Spain has been reduced from 10 to 5 years.

That makes more sense and is something the United States should adopt as well given that the current ban on re-entry is 10 years.

…in Greece, the government presented a bill in 2010 to grant citizenship to the children of immigrants, contingent on 5 years of legal residence by both parents, and 6 years of schooling in Greece for those born abroad.


In contrast, the United Kingdom has restricted citizenship access for foreign-born immigrants. The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 introduced a system of earned citizenship, to come into operation in 2011. It is based on the principle that British citizenship is a privilege that must be earned, and those who enter the United Kingdom with the intention of making it their home should be encouraged to complete the journey on to citizenship. This journey consists in a period of “probationary citizenship”, which can be accelerated through a demonstration of active citizenship, but can be slowed down or halted altogether by criminality. To achieve this, a new points-based test for earned citizenship to manage better the numbers allowed to settle permanently in the United Kingdom will be introduced.

A major new Bill began its progress through the Spanish parliamentary system in June 2009. The Bill extends to foreigners, including those without residence permits, the same rights of assembly, demonstration, association, unionisation and strike action which the current law limits to legal residents. In addition, the right to free justice is to be extended to all foreigners who will be able to enjoy it under the same conditions as the Spanish.

All in all, this report, while serving as a reference on immigration for what is happening around the world, also should serve as a primer for U.S. policymakers who are serious about reforming our immigration system.

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  • Joe M
    July 13, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Interesting report.
    It’s funny that most of these immigrants coming in have more knowledge of the US civic system than Americans themself.
    You can try out a free practice quiz on this site

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