The OECD has published the International Migration Outlook 2019, analysing trends and recent developments in migration and integration in OECD countries. Notably, this year’s edition of the report provides the first empirical examination of the relationship between delays in family reunification and long-term integration outcomes in OECD countries.
The report also details broad trends in migration flows, employment and the impact of temporary migration on labour markets. Country-specific notes provide an overview of major changes and developments in each OECD countries.
In 2018, the employment rate of immigrants reached 68.3% on average in OECD countries (2.4 percentage points lower than native-born). Unemployment among immigrants decreased from 9.4% to 8.7% between 2017 and 2018.
However, specific groups still have difficulty in the labour market. In the EU, more than 18% of immigrants aged 15 to 24 were not in employment, education or training (NEET) compared to 11% among their native-born peers. Since 2013, there has been little improvement in the labour market outcomes of migrants born in the Middle East who live in the EU. Women and people aged 55 to 64 showed the biggest gains in employment rates, but major challenges remain for immigrant women.
The share of migrants whose spouse is absent from the host country is below 20% in all OECD countries, but delays in family reunification are frequent—only 54% of married migrants arrive in the same year as their spouse. Evidence from Germany shows that setting conditions for reunification, such as reaching a certain level of language proficiency, can cause significant delays in reunification.
The evidence regarding the relationship between delays in family reunification and long-term integration outcomes shows mixed results. There is evidence that delays in the arrival of spouses result in lower wages for the ‘principal’ migrant (i.e. spouse arriving first). Delays in reunification can have a negative impact on integration outcomes of the later-arriving spouse, especially for women.
For children, long delays can have a big impact on integration outcomes. Children who arrive at pre-school age fare much better as adults than children who arrive after they have already reached school age.
However, migrants who arrive without their spouses are more likely to be employed after ten years, and the presence or absence of the spouse does not seem to affect subjective well-being of the principal migrant.
As inflows of asylum seekers and refugees have decreased, countries have shifted from managing reception of newcomers to creating or enhancing integration policies, including providing more resources to local authorities. Civic integration courses, efforts directed at youth and women and assessment/recognition of skills and qualifications are increasingly important elements of integration strategies. Language training and early labour market integration remain major areas of attention. Monitoring and evaluation are playing increasingly important roles in the design of integration policies.
Read the International Migration Outlook 2019
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