IT worker shortage and asylum seekers boost migration to OECD countries

OECD Observer

Migration flows into the OECD area have risen markedly in recent years, in part because of a IT workers. In 2000 a shortage of around 850,000 technicians was reported in the US and nearly 2 million in Europe. This is the key trend to emerge from the OECD’s latest annual Trends in International Migration. The report also shows that the range of nationalities involved in migration has widened and flows, particularly into Europe, have been boosted by asylum seekers.

Migration involving qualified and highly qualified workers rose sharply between 1999 and 2000, helped by better employment prospects and the easing of entry conditions. Instead of granting initial temporary work permits only for one year, as in the past, some OECD countries, particularly in Europe, have been issuing them for up to five years and generally making them renewable. Countries such as Australia and Canada, where migration policies were mainly aimed at permanent settlers, are also now favouring temporary work permits valid for between three and six years.

In addition to a general increase in economic prosperity, one of the main factors behind the recent increase in worker migration has been the development of information technology, a sector where in 2000 there was a shortage of around 850,000 technicians in the US and nearly 2 million in Europe, according to estimates cited by the OECD.

The survey also finds that more women are migrating.

©OECD Observer December 2001




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