Immigrants prospering in OECD countries

Immigrants made up 10% of the population in OECD countries in 2010, according to a new report from the OECD.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development was founded in 1961 by 20 countries, mostly in western Europe and North America to encourage trade. Since then, another 14 countries have joined. The US, the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Japan and New Zealand are all members.

The new report from the OECD, called Settling In: OECD indicators on the integration of immigrants 2012 was released on 3rd December 2012. It finds that the percentage of immigrants rose by a quarter between 2000 and 2010. In some countries the increase in the migrant population has been particularly noteworthy. For example, in Spain, the immigrant population trebled over the period. It more than doubled in Iceland and Ireland. The Netherlands, France, the US and Germany did not see large rises in their populations.

Some countries have skewed their immigrations to favour more highly skilled immigrants over unskilled workers. The proportion of immigrants who are graduates settling in countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia and Germany has risen. This may be a factor behind the rise in employment rates among immigrants in those countries. There is now an average 65% employment rate among immigrants in OECD countries, compared to 67.5% among the native populations.

For example, in the UK, the employment rate among migrants rose from 62% in 2000 to 66% in 2010. In Germany it rose from 57% in 2000 to 62% in 2010. However, in the US and in Spain, which were particularly badly hit by the global recession, the employment rate among immigrants actually fell slightly; in the US it fell from 70% in 2000 to 67% in 2010. In Spain it fell from 62% to 57% over the same period.

The survey found that educational outcomes for the children of some immigrants were poor. The survey found that children who migrated with their parents at the age of six or below did well in school but those who did so between 11 and 16 years of age did less well in some countries. It is thought that language differences led to the poor performance of some older children. The problem did not seem to affect the United Kingdom where there was little difference in performance.

Unfortunately, many children of immigrants in France, Belgium, Spain and Austria end up in the 'NEET' category (Not in education, employment or training).

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