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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.

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Policy Briefs
January 2018
By  Kathleen Newland and Andrea Riester
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Policy Briefs
September 2013
By  Kathleen Newland and Sonia Plaza
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Policy Briefs
September 2013
By  Dovelyn Rannveig Mendoza
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Reports
September 2013
By  Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Madeleine Sumption
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Policy Briefs
September 2013
By  Michael Clemens
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Policy Briefs
September 2013
By  Rainer Münz

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2014 marked the quiet demise worldwide of the traditional points system for selecting skilled immigrants. Canada, which in 1969 invented the points system, in 2015 will join other countries in adopting a hybrid system that places more emphasis on a demand-driven system. This article examines how following the economic crisis, governments have revamped, hybridized, or ended such programs.

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The U.S. immigrant population—estimated at 40.8 million in 2012 — is the nation’s historical numerical high, and it is also the largest foreign-born population in the world. About 20 percent of all international migrants reside in the United States, even as the country accounts for less than 5 percent of global population. This article presents the latest, most sought-after data on immigrants in the United States—by origin, residence, legal status, deportations, languages spoken, and more—in one easy-to-use resource.

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As Qatar races to build its infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup, international civil-society actors increasingly are highlighting the harsh conditions under which temporary labor migrants often work in Qatar and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. This article examines the emerging roles, challenges, and opportunities that civil-society groups face in the region; it also analyzes the prevailing legal and political structures where civil society operates in the Gulf.

The United Arab Emirates has the fifth-largest international migrant stock in the world, with 7.8 million migrants out of a total population of 9.2 million. Heavily reliant on foreign labor to sustain economic growth, the UAE government in 1971 introduced a temporary guest worker program. This article examines the economic, social, and political challenges and implications of the program for the government, Emirati nationals, and migrant workers in the UAE.

For economic and political reasons, more governments are turning to visas to admit select groups of highly skilled immigrants (especially in high-tech and high-growth fields) to their countries to boost entrepreneurship and enhance job creation. A look at the challenges, opportunities, and increasing popularity of these entrepreneur visa programs.

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Recent Activity

Audio
March 15, 2018

This discussion, featuring California's Labor Commissioner and the head of the Tennessee Bureau of Workers' Compensation, launched a report that examines state innovations in labor standards enforcement in low-wage, immigrant-dense industries. With wage underpayment, payroll fraud, and other violations widespread in industries such as construction and car-washing, the discussion focused on how targeted enforcement can deter practices that hurt native-born and immigrant workers alike, cost state tax revenue, and disadvantage law-abiding employers. 

Reports
March 2018

In low-wage industries, from construction to food service, labor-standards violations have become widespread—with major consequences for law-abiding employers, state tax revenue, and native-born and immigrant workers. As the federal government steps back from workplace regulation, this report examines the innovative approaches conservative and liberal states alike are using to enforce labor standards more strategically.

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Together, Canada, Mexico, and the United States are home to nearly one-quarter of the world's migrants. Despite shifts in the profile of those who migrate and changing demographic realities across the region, such as population aging, perceptions and policies remain set in earlier eras. This article explores the intersection of migration and population dynamics in North America and the Northern Triangle of Central America.

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After receiving more than 2 million asylum seekers in 2015-16, European countries are turning to the task of integrating the newcomers, including getting refugees into work. This article explores labor market integration of refugees in five Northern European countries—Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden—drawing key lessons for today from the experiences of earlier groups of humanitarian arrivals.

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Immigration has driven economic and social development in Australia for more than two centuries. Even as more than one-fourth of the country’s population is foreign born and Australia ranks third among top refugee resettlement countries worldwide, controversy surrounding its hardline treatment of asylum seekers arriving by boat has cast a shadow on its reputation as a welcoming country, as this article explores.

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The United States is by far the world's top migration destination, home to roughly one-fifth of all global migrants. In 2016, nearly 44 million immigrants lived in the United States, comprising 13.5 percent of the country's population. Get the most sought-after data available on immigrants and immigration trends, including top countries of origin, legal immigration pathways, enforcement actions, health-care coverage, and much more.

Policy Briefs
January 2018

Although in many countries immigrants fill labor gaps in fields such as agriculture and construction, few legal migration pathways exist for low-skilled workers. As states meet to negotiate a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, this policy brief takes stock of the channels available for such workers to move legally and take up work abroad, highlighting promising practices and policy gaps.

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An unannounced sweep of 98 convenience stores by U.S. immigration authorities—resulting in the arrest of 21 unauthorized workers—may signal a new approach to worksite enforcement under the Trump administration, moving away from a strategy of paper-based audits that resulted in higher employer fines and fewer worker arrests. This article explores worksite enforcement over recent decades.

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