Expatica news

Expat workers still in strong demand

22 January 2004

AMSTERDAM — Despite the current global economic slump, industrialised nations are increasingly welcoming highly-educated expatriate workers, with the US, Germany, Britain and Japan topping demand, a new report indicated on Thursday.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also said record numbers of people are moving to many industrialised nations and that the need for expat workers was structural, rather then cyclical, and lower-educated foreigners were also required.

The US admitted entry to one million permanent immigrants in 2001-02, about 25 percent more than in 2000. European countries including Austria, France and Switzerland admitted about 15 percent more immigrants in the same period.

Southern European countries, Canada and New Zealand also saw sharp increases in their immigration flows, but Japan, Korea and northern European nations reported smaller increases.

Rising demand for expat workers, which started in the mid-1990s, did not decline across the OECD region of industrialised nations despite negative 0.7 percent economic growth in 2001 and the same trend was expected to have continued in 2002. The OECD refused to make long-term forecasts.

Lower demand for expat workers in some countries did not affect the general upward international trend, the OECD said in its Trends in International Migration report.

There was a significant increase in labour-oriented migration of both temporary and permanent workers in the period 2001-02. The trend was noticeable across all employment categories and other categories of admission, such as family unification, refugees and students also continued to grow.

It means that many nations are not only in search of computer technicians and bioengineers, but there is also demand for less-educated foreigners to work in the healthcare, agriculture, construction and education sectors. Various governments are thus easing regulations to assist in the free movement of labour, one of the key tenets of European Union policy.

Factors influencing expat choices include the economic prosperity of the destination region, the presence of family members or people of the same ethnic origin and the point of entry into the country and its proximity to the country of origin.

Some nations are also trying to improve their image by cracking down against discrimination in the labour market, Dutch daily newspaper De Volkskrant reported on Thursday.

Despite this, the Paris-based OECD said “some foreign workers — particularly women and younger and older workers — remained vulnerable”. The integration of these vulnerable groups in their host country is thus not fully assured.

The OECD report said recent international migration trends echoed changes in immigration policies in certain nations. For example, Britain, Italy and Portugal relaxed regulations permitting the entry of foreign workers
France, Sweden and Italy are competing to attract foreign students, who are considered to be an attractive, highly educated reserve workforce. It is thought that during the course of their studies, foreigners will become accustomed to and gain confidence in a host country and its customs.
Changes in the geographic origins of migration have also been detected, with the increase in the arrival of Asian nationals, especially Chinese and Filipinos and people from Russia and the Ukraine into all OECD nations. Migration from Latin America was also on the rise.

Meanwhile, OECD nations are not only trying to make themselves more attractive for foreign workers, but are also trying to manage the inflow. A large number of nations are thus moving to restrict illegal foreign workers and the Netherlands was singled out for its success in reducing the inflow of asylum seekers.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: German news