Building Migration Systems for a New Age of Economic Competitiveness
September 2018 Meeting
Labor markets around the world are undergoing profound changes, which immigration systems have been slow to address. Demand for skilled workers in sectors as diverse as digital technology or health care is at a premium, while opportunities for many low- and middle-skilled workers are diminishing as advances in robotics and artificial intelligence threaten to render some of the most reliable low- or middle-skilled jobs in production, administration, or sales obsolete.
Most societies do not produce enough well-qualified workers to meet the needs of constantly changing economies when and where they need them. Human capital lies at the heart of economic growth and competitiveness, and even a small difference in the skills and experiences of key workers can make a large difference in the success of a firm and, in turn, the broader economy. Immigration policymakers thus face a balancing act: creating smart and flexible policies to help employers access talent and provide the conditions for prospective newcomers to succeed, while simultaneously working to make the best use of current native-born and immigrant workers.
The nineteenth meeting of the Transatlantic Council on Migration explores how in an era of labor market upheaval and increasing competition for talent, governments should be thinking about how to develop the human capital their economies need while attracting, choosing, and retaining the foreign talent that they invest in admitting through their immigration systems. Read the concluding Council Statement.
The individual papers presented at the meeting are available below:
Exploring New Legal Migration Pathways: Lessons from Pilot Projects
As European countries launch ambitious new legal migration partnerships with several origin and transit countries in Africa, this report takes stock of the long and mixed history of such projects. To make the most of their potential to encourage skills development and fill pressing labor gaps, policymakers will need to think carefully about the partners and sectors they choose, among other key considerations.
Competing Approaches to Selecting Economic Immigrants: Points-Based vs. Demand-Driven Systems
National systems for selecting skilled foreign workers have evolved in two directions: Points-based systems in which governments select economic immigrants based on labor and human-capital considerations and demand-driven ones that rely heavily on employer involvement. This report explores these two models—and their convergence—and offers tips for designing selection systems that are flexible, transparent, and effective.
The Canadian Express Entry System for Selecting Economic Immigrants: Progress and Persistent Challenges
Since its launch in 2015, the Express Entry system has changed how economic immigration to Canada happens and how it fits into public and political debates. And while it has proven successful in cutting through application backlogs, some challenges remain. This report looks at how and why this points-based system was introduced, what its impact has been, and how it could be further finetuned.
The Evolution of the Australian System for Selecting Economic Immigrants
Since the mid-1990s, Australia has moved away from a focus on family reunification to place greater emphasis on workers coming via temporary and permanent channels. The evolution of the country's points-based model for selecting economic migrants and move to a predominately employer-driven system offer lessons for other countries that seek to develop a tailored and targeted immigration selection system.
Start-Up Visas: A Passport for Innovation and Growth?
Over the last decade, a number of governments have launched start-up visa programs in the hopes of attracting talented immigrant entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas. With the track record for these programs a mixed one, this report explains how embedding start-up visas within a broader innovation strategy could lead to greater success.
TRANSATLANTIC COUNCIL STATEMENT: Equipping Immigrant Selection Systems for a Changing World of Work
As technological developments—from automation to artificial intelligence and machine learning—reshape the world of work, governments face the challenge of updating how they attract, select, and retain economic-stream immigrants. This report, concluding a series on building migration systems for a new age of economic competitiveness, lays out the key considerations for "future-proofing" immigrant selection systems.