Migration Policy Institute
"Merit-Based" Immigration: Designing Successful Selection Systems
Jean-Christophe Dumont, Head of International Migration Division, Directorate for Employment, Labor, and Social Affairs, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
Julia Gelatt, Senior Policy Analyst, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, Migration Policy Institute (MPI)
Demetrios G. Papademetriou, MPI President Emeritus
Meghan Benton, Senior Policy Analyst and Assistant Director for Research, International Program, MPI
The U.S. administration is calling for the United States to adopt a more “merit-based” immigrant selection system, looking to Canada and Australia as potential models. An immigration proposal under consideration by the administration would adjust the composition of legal immigration, giving greater preference to skills over family ties. Much of the advanced industrial world—from Germany and the European Union to China and other Asian states—is also grappling with how best to attract and retain highly skilled immigrant workers as a means of enhancing human capital and economic competitiveness.
The conversation between Jean-Christophe Dumont, Head of the International Migration Division at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Migration Policy Institute (MPI) President Emeritus Demetrios G. Papademetriou focused on what policymakers should consider in designing—and managing—immigrant selection systems in a time of intense labor-market and demographic change. The discussion relied on recent MPI and OECD research on this topic, focusing primarily on the Canadian and Australian selection systems. MPI’s Julia Gelatt commented on the conversation from a U.S. policy perspective, discussing how lessons from abroad could apply to the United States.