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August 1995, Volume 2, Number 8

OECD Releases Migration Trends Report

The OECD in June 1995 released Trends in International Migration: 1994 Annual Report, which found that immigration flows into OECD nations stabilized in 1993 and 1994 as a result of changes in asylum systems, and changes in immigration countries entry criteria. The report expressed the hope that, with fewer entries, OECD countries could turn their attention to integrating newly-arrived immigrants and their children.

The report emphasizes that economic recovery or labor shortages in the immigration countries, or recession and instability in emigration counties, could increase migration again. The report seemed to endorse more immigration, noting that Canada, Germany and the United States had increased immigration since 1988 without noticeable negative economic effects.

The OECD report identifies three key migration trends--fewer asylum seekers, more unskilled temporary foreign workers, and more highly-skilled migrants.

According to the report, the 1993 foreign populations in European countries ranged from 6.9 million in Germany to 3.6 million in France to two million in the UK and 1.3 million in Switzerland. About half of the foreigners in each of these countries were in the labor force: Germany had 3.4 million foreign workers; France 1.5 million; the UK, 1 million; and Switzerland, 700,000 (in some cases, temporary or seasonal foreign workers are included, although the foreign population data refer only to settlers).

In 1993, Germany took 990,000 foreigners, including 320,000 asylum seekers. Half of the asylum-seekers arriving in OECD countries in 1993 were from Europe, usually from former Yugoslavia, Romania and Turkey. In 1993, Germany recognized four percent of asylum applicants as refugees, Belgium, Italy and Norway recognized about 10 percent; France, 28 percent; and Canada, 50 percent.

In April 1995, Eurostat published a report entitled "International Migration in the EU Member States - 1992" that put net immigration into the 15-member EU at 1.2 million in 1992. Net immigration to the EU was close to zero in 1984, reached 1 million in 1990, and may have peaked in 1992. According to Eurostat, net immigration to Europe is increasing as immigration flows rise and emigration remains stable.

Most immigrants to EU member nations are Europeans--from 60 to 90 percent in all EU nations except Sweden where less than half of the immigrants are from Europe.

For example, Germany in 1992 had 1.5 million immigrant arrivals, and 720,000 emigrant departures, according to Eurostat. Germany received two-thirds of the immigrant arrivals to the EU in 1992, and accounted for 60 percent of the EU's emigrants.

Immigrants in these data include returning citizens. In Denmark, Greece, Spain, Ireland and the United Kingdom, half of all 1992 "immigrants" are returning citizens.