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Employment & the Economy

Employment & the Economy

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As workers and consumers, immigrants play a role in the labor markets and economies of the countries in which they settle. The research collected here examines how immigrants fare in the labor market, whether they are affected differently than native-born workers during cycles of boom and bust, the role of immigration policymaking as a lever of competitiveness, immigrant employment by sector and skill, and the fiscal impacts of immigration. MPI's research also assesses the role of temporary workers and the labor recruitment process.

Recent Activity

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Reports
February 2016
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou, Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza, Brian Salant and Guntur Sugiyarto
coverthumb_TCM Emigration Portugal
Reports
February 2016
By  David Justino
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Policy Briefs
December 2015
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza
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Fact Sheets
November 2015
By  Jie Zong
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Reports
November 2015
By  Irial Glynn , Tomás Kelly and Piaras Mac Éinrí

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Agricultural workers break for lunch on a cucumber farm in Virginia.

Although President Trump has repeatedly pledged to preserve "U.S. jobs for U.S. workers," employers are increasingly relying on temporary visas as a result of labor shortages in agriculture, high tech, and beyond. This article examines the increases occurring in key temporary worker programs, affecting seasonal agricultural and nonagricultural industries, as well as high-skilled tech jobs.

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Record number of Venezuelans are emigrating to escape the country's economic mismanagement, insecurity, and shortages. This article examines the causes of the current crisis and draws from a study of thousands of Venezuelans abroad to examine who is leaving, where they have headed, and what their hopes are for the future of Venezuela. It also scopes future opportunities for diaspora engagement.

St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The history of dynamic migration flows throughout the Soviet Union pre- and post-collapse has significantly shaped the current migration reality in Russia. Even as borders have shifted and policies changed, inflows and outflows still occur mostly within the former Soviet space. As this article explores, Russia has worked in recent decades to strengthen its migration management system and update its residence and citizenship policies.

JapanElderly HanselAndRegrettal Flickr

One of the most rapidly aging societies in the world, Japan is looking to immigration to address increased labor shortages—albeit slowly and largely without public debate. This country profile offers a brief overview of Japan’s migration history and examines the current immigration system, in particular policies and programs to bring in foreign workers, particularly on a temporary basis.

AfricanSwitzerland Thomas8047 Flickr

In recent years, Switzerland has become a popular destination for highly skilled migrants, including from the Senegambia region of West Africa. Meanwhile, migration also flows the opposite way with Swiss migrants heading to Senegal and The Gambia. This article compares and contrasts the experiences of these migrants at destination as well as their motivations to migrate and attitudes toward remittances and citizenship.

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EVENTPH 2014.10.28  The Global Boom in Investor Immigration (youtube E.Collett)v.3
Video
October 28, 2014

A discussion on the extraordinary boom in investor immigration, including the rapidly expanding EB-5 visa in the United States, Malta’s controversial “cash for citizenship” policy and a host of programs across Europe and the Caribbean.

EventPH2 2014.8.13 Giving Cities and Regions a Greater Voice in Immigration Policy
Video
August 13, 2014
MPI researchers and representatives from London and Detroit discuss the policies and strategies used—at national and local levels—to attract immigrants into local economies.
EVENTPH 2014.5.14 State Level Initiatives to Address Brain Waste
Audio
May 14, 2014

A discussion of data compiled by MPI on "brain waste" among foreign-trained nurses, engineers, and teachers, with updates on three state-level initiatives—in Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington State—that are working to analyze and address challenges faced by immigrants and refugees with degrees and training in these fields.

EventPH 2014.02.19 A Transatlantic Conversation Managing Migration in the Era of Mobility2
Video, Audio
February 19, 2014

This discussion explores how the 2014 Greek Presidency of the European Union and the United States can work to address the challenges of managing migration while meeting humanitarian obligations and nurturing economic growth.

EVENT PH 2014.02.05 Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally  A presentation in Guatemala on the Regional Migration Study Group
Video
February 5, 2014

During this public briefing in Guatemala City (conducted in both English and Spanish), the Co-Directors of the Migration Policy Institute-convened Regional Migration Study Group, MPI President Demetrios G.

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Recent Activity

Articles

Border closures and lockdowns amid the COVID-19 pandemic have put a chill on intra-EU labor mobility, most immediately with the difficulty for European farmers to gain access to much-needed seasonal workers and for health-care institutions to get care workers. This article explores how these workers, who often face difficult situations, may be more vulnerable now. It also takes on implications for intra-EU labor mobility post-pandemic.

Articles

On the frontlines of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic yet also more disproportionately affected by the virus and with reduced health-care access, immigrants in the United States have largely found themselves blocked from federal economic relief. As states and philanthropic groups seek to plug the gap, this article examines conditions and changing policies around immigration and the coronavirus response.

Video
April 22, 2020

In this bipartisan discussion, two border-state members of Congress—Rep. Veronica Escobar and Rep. Dan Crenshaw—discuss the response to the coronavirus outbreak, how it is affecting the interconnected border region, and what the future might hold.
 

Articles

Until recently, the Venezuelan immigrant population in the United States was relatively small compared others from South America. But it has grown significantly, reaching 394,000 in 2018, as Venezuela's destabilization has driven large-scale emigration. Compared to other immigrants in the United States, Venezuelans have higher levels of education but are also more likely to live in poverty, as this Spotlight explores.

Commentaries
April 2020

In a time of critical shortages of U.S. health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, retired doctors are being called back to work and medical students are graduating on a fast track. There is another important pool that could be tapped: Immigrants and refugees who have college degrees in health fields but are working in low-skilled jobs or out of work. MPI estimates 263,000 immigrants are experiencing skill underutilization and could be a valuable resource.

Articles

While migration once was a lower-priority topic for African governments, the last decade has seen a deepening in governance. Policymakers have integrated migration into their national development strategies and mainstreamed it across policy domains such as health and education. The actions are promising on paper, yet questions remain about the extent to which they will translate to more effective migration management.

Expert Q&A, Audio
March 31, 2020

Governments are facing urgent pandemic-related questions. One of the more pressing ones: Who is going to harvest crops in countries that rely heavily on seasonal foreign workers? In this podcast, MPI experts examine ways in which countries could address labor shortages in agriculture, including recruiting native-born workers and letting already present seasonal workers stay longer. Catch an interesting discussion as border closures have halted the movement of seasonal workers even as crops are approaching harvest in some places.

Commentaries
March 2020

As governments have reacted to the coronavirus pandemic by closing borders, seasonal workers have been kept out, raising a pressing question: who is going to produce the food amid agricultural labor shortages? Policymakers in the Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America have responded by seeking to recruit residents, lengthen stays for already present seasonal workers, and find ways to continue admitting foreign seasonal labor, as this commentary explores.

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