Index weighs effects of migration on developing world

A newly compiled index has ranked the world's 27 richest countries according to how their migration policies will affect the developing world. The Commitment to Development Index rated the countries on how their migration policies would assist the development of poorer countries. Austria came first in the migration category followed by Norway and Switzerland. Canada came fifth. New Zealand came eighth. The United States came 13th. The United Kingdom came 16th. Australia was 18th. The list was compiled by a team from the Center for Global Development (CGD), a Washington think tank.

The CGD report states that 200 million people in the world today (3% of the global population) live in a different country from the one in which they were born. This figure, the report says, is destined to grow substantially as the population in the developed world ages and developed countries encourage greater immigration. This will mean that migrant workers will send a great deal of money back to poorer countries. However, there is a downside, the report says. If all migration is skilled migration, then this will exacerbate the 'brain drain' effect.

Developed countries can also foster development with other policies such as teaching students from developing countries and accepting refugees. Below is a summary of each category.

The 27 countries total migration scores were calculated by combining scores in five areas of immigration policy. These were
• The change in the number of unskilled residents from developing countries as a percentage population in the 1990s
While Austria came first in this category, The United States scored highly coming third. 1.02% of the US's population now comprises unskilled migrants who arrived in the US in the 1990s. New Zealand came 4th (1%). Canada came 10th (0.55%) and Australia 11th (0.5%). The United Kingdom came 19th on 0.26%.
• The inflow of developing country migrants as a percentage of population in one recent year
In this category, Greece came first. In one recent year, people from developing countries equivalent to 0.72% of that country's population arrived in Greece. Canada came 4th (0.43%). New Zealand was 9th. The UK came 14th and Australia came 16th. The United States came 20th.
• The number of students from developing countries
In this section, the CDG team calculated what percentage of the number of students who go to study in any country come from developing countries. This calculation places Greece top again with Australia in 3rd place. 89% of foreign students studying in Australia come from developing countries. Canada is 4th on 85%. New Zealand comes 11th and the United States comes 13th (71%). The UK came 17th (63%)
• Tuition fees for developing country students
Norway, Sweden, Finland and Poland do not charge overseas students to study in their countries so score highly in this section. Many continental European countries score moderately as they charge overseas students the same as their own students. All Anglophone countries Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US and the UK score poorly as they charge overseas students more to study than they do their own citizens.
• The number of refugees and asylum seekers accepted
In this category the number of refugees living in a country and the number of successful asylum applications are weighed against a given country's GDP to give a score. Switzerland scores highest with 334 points. Canada comes 5th on 156. The UK comes 10th (138). Australia comes 17th and New Zealand comes 20th (26). The US comes 21st (24).

The report's authors said that, overall, there was room for a great deal of improvement but welcomed the slight improvements in the performances of wealthy countries since last year's survey. 'What we see are slight improvements, but overall, industrialised countries and the largest, richest, nations in particular, fall well short of their potential,' said David Roodman, co-author of the report.

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