OECD: International Migration Outlook 2014

This flagship publication on migration analyses recent developments in migration movements and policies in OECD countries and selected non-OECD countries. This edition also contains two special chapters on “The labour market integration of immigrants and their children: developing, activating and using skills” and “Managing labour migration: Smart policies to support economic growth”. It also includes Country notes and a Statistical Annex. This special edition is launched at the occasion of the High-level Policy Forum on Migration (Paris, 1-2 December 2014).

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Highlights from the Executive Summary

Investing in the labour market integration of immigrants
First- and second-generation immigrants are playing a growing role in the workforce. In countries settled through immigration, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, as well as inWestern Europe, immigrants are well established. Elsewhere, in Southern Europe for example, they are a relatively recent but growing presence in the education system and the labour market.
The integration of immigrants and their families has been a prime policy objective in many OECD countries for at least the past 15 years. Perhaps the most important challenge is unleashing immigrants’ full skills potential. A number of policy approaches can help make this happen:
● Make information on foreign qualifications more widely available and improve their recognition.
● Ensure immigrants have access to active labour market programmes and that they benefit from them.
● Put immigrants more directly in contact with employers.
● Provide immigrants’ children with high-quality early childhood education and care.
● Provide language training adapted to immigrants’ skills.

Key figures
● Preliminary data suggests permanent migration flows to the OECD rose by about 1% in 2013 compared to 2012, following a 0.8% drop in 2012 compared to the previous year.
● Labour migration has declined continuously since the economic downturn and fell by about 12% in 2012. By contrast, free-movement migration rose 10%.
● Asylum seeking increased by 20% in 2013 compared to 2012.
● Worldwide, the number of students enrolled outside their country of citizenship more than doubled since 2000 to reach 4.5 million in 2012, with 75% enrolled in OECD countries.
● With a little over half a million emigrants, China accounted for almost 10% of all flows to OECD countries in 2012, followed by Romania (5.6%) and Poland (5.4%).
● There are more than 115 million immigrants in the OECD, about 10% of the total population.
● In 2012, about 12.5% of all 15 year-olds had two foreign-born parents – 50% more than a decade earlier. Their integration, particularly those with parents with low levels of education, is a growing concern.
● The crisis hit immigrants disproportionately hard: of the additional 15 million unemployed in the OECD since 2007, about 1 in 5 is foreign-born.
● Despite the crisis most immigrants are in work. On average, a higher proportion of low-educated immigrants (54.1%) are in work than their native-born peers (52.6%).
● By contrast, tertiary educated immigrants are less likely to be in work than their native-born counterparts (77% versus 84%). And when employed, they are 50% more likely to be over-qualified for their jobs.

Via OECD Library 

Remember the young ones: Improving career opportunities for Britain’s young people

This report by the Institute of Public Policy Research looks at five critical elements of the school-to-work transition for young people – the role of employers, vocational education, apprenticeships, careers guidance, and the benefits system – and at lessons the UK can learn from European economies with better youth employment records.

A long period without work at a young age can have a long-lasting effect on a person’s life chances, leading to a higher future likelihood of unemployment and lower future earnings. For this reason, UK policymakers should be particularly worried about the present level of youth unemployment. There are currently 868,000 young people aged 16–24 unemployed in the UK, and 247,000 of them have been looking for work for over a year.

This is not simply due to the financial crash and recession. While the last six or seven years have been particularly tough for the latest generation of young people, even before the financial crisis many of those entering the labour market for the first time were struggling to compete with older workers for jobs. This suggests that even a full-blown economic recovery is unlikely to solve the problem of youth unemployment in the UK.

The report makes a series of recommendations to address five critical policy areas, each of which requires a focused response.

  • Employers are dissatisfied with the school-leavers who are applying to them for jobs, but a large part of the problem arises because employers are not prepared to be sufficiently involved in young people’s training to ensure that they develop meaningful, useful skills. The best way to increase employers’ engagement is to have them take a financial stake in the success of the system.
  • Vocational education in England needs to be reformed so that it is held in higher esteem by employers and young people alike. As a pathway into work, higher-level vocational education should be seen as a valid alternative to a university education.
  • Policy on apprenticeships in recent years has been dominated by a preoccupation with quantity, putting quality at risk. Apprenticeships should be seen by students and employers as a high-quality vocational route into work for young people.
  • In those European countries that have low rates of youth unemployment, careers education and guidance play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth transition from education to work. Our recommendations focus on embedding and resourcing careers advice in schools, particularly at key milestone moments when young people make vital decisions about their future.
  • The current benefits system fails to differentiate between the needs of younger unemployed people and older jobseekers, such as finishing basic education or receiving on-the-job work experience. We propose that a distinct work, training and benefits system should be established for young people.

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Read also the McKinsey and Company report Education to employment: Getting Europe’s Youth into Work

The Transition from School to Work for Children of Immigrants with Lower-level Education Credentials in the US and France

jcmsThis paper compares the transition from school to work among Mexican-origin youth in the United States and North African-origin youth in France relative to the native-majority youth with similar low-level credentials. The goal is to understand the extent to which these groups experience ethnic penalties in the labor market not explained by social class, low-level credentials, or other characteristics. The patterns of employment for second-generation minorities play out differently in the two contexts. In France, lack of access to jobs is a source of disadvantage for North African children of immigrants, while in the United States, second-generation Mexicans do not suffer from a lack of employment. Indeed, the Mexican second-generation shows a uniquely high level of employment. We argue that high levels of youth unemployment in the society, as it is the case in France, means greater ethnic penalties for second-generation minorities.

By Amy Lutz, Yaël Brinbaum & Dalia Abdelhady

Download the paper from Amsterdam University Press 

Completing education: a local case study from Austria

Working with young people before they drop out of school is a priority – working with young people when they have already left the education system can be significantly more challenging and costly. Network DYNAMO in Vienna works with both young migrants who have dropped out of the school system and those at risk of dropping out, helping them to complete education and attain basic qualifications.

The project was established in 2007 with the aim of compensating for the disadvantage that young people with a migration background experience in education. The participating organisations are the Vienna Adult Education Centre and the Integrationshaus Vienna, both long established partners of the City of Vienna. The Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture is the main funding authority.

Network DYNAMO focuses on the transition between school and work and offers opportunities for young people to attain basic qualifications, enter training and the labour market. The services offered include professional and personal counselling, support in German language learning, additional training prior to the re-taking of school examinations and acquiring further qualifications. Almost 15 000 people have taken advantage of educational information, counselling, and orientation services since the network began.

It has proven to be particularly innovative as a result of the diverse programmes it offers, which means that flexible and complementary packages can be developed, tailored to the individual’s needs. Young people can participate in several consecutive programmes which helps create a seamless career-planning service. The scheme provides a comprehensive support structure and offers advice on a broad range of subjects beyond education and employment. Since 2010 Network DYNAMO has undergone restructuring but its aims and activities remain the same.

More information

Froy, F. and L. Pyne (2011), “Ensuring Labour Market Success for Ethnic Minority and Immigrant Youth”, OECD Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Working Papers, 2011/09, OECD Publishing.

Via Skilles OECD