E.g., 08/09/2020
E.g., 08/09/2020

Selection Systems

Selection Systems

Immigration flows are comprised of various streams: economic-based, family reunification, and humanitarian. Immigrant selection systems—for example points systems or employer-led selection—represent means by which countries determine the types and numbers of permanent and temporary workers they seek to bring in legally. The research offered here examines the various immigrant selection systems that have been tried in major immigrant destinations around the world, analyzing their success, failures, and evolutions.

Recent Activity

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Competing Approaches to Selecting Economic Immigrants: Points-Based vs. Demand-Driven Systems
Reports
April 2019
By Demetrios G. Papademetriou and Kate Hooper
Policy Briefs
November 2018
By Randy Capps, Mark Greenberg, Michael Fix, and Jie Zong
Policy Briefs
April 2018
By Kate Hooper and Brian Salant
Reports
March 2018
By Jeanne Batalova, Andriy Shymonyak, and Michelle Mittelstadt
Policy Briefs
January 2018
By Kathleen Newland and Andrea Riester
Reports
January 2018
By Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter, and Andrew Selee

Pages

Marine naturalization

While much attention has focused on President Trump's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, the administration has moved, via a much wider scope of actions, to reduce legal immigration to the United States. This article explores changes including slowed processing of family- and employment-based visas, dramatic cuts in refugee admissions, and heightened vetting and evidence requirements for would-be immigrants.

Chinese lanterns

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.

Airport protest

During its first year, the Trump administration methodically put in place a series of bureaucratic barriers that could significantly reduce opportunities for foreigners to come to the United States legally. Among the actions taken during 2017: Imposition of a much-challenged travel ban suspending the entry of nationals from certain Muslim-majority countries, cuts to refugee admissions, and increased scrutiny for visa applicants.

Citizenship ceremony in Edmonton

Even as the United States and countries in Europe have made a right turn on immigration in recent years, Canada has remained a largely welcoming country. Underlying this resilience is an approach to immigration focused on active management and refinement of policies as well as long-term economic, social, and political integration, as this article explores.

A Chinese businessman looks out over a hazy Shanghai.

Over the past decade, immigrant investor programs have proliferated around the world, and Chinese applicants have dominated in a number of countries. In 2015, about 9,000 Chinese millionaires moved to other countries, many through so-called golden visa programs. This article explores the social and cultural factors driving well-off Chinese to move abroad and examines perceptions of elite emigration in China.

Pages

Video, Audio
July 13, 2017

A reflection by MPI's co-founder, Demetrios Papademetriou, on the challenges and opportunities ahead for international migration systems in the United States and internationally over the next few decades. After opening remarks, Papademetriou engages in a conversation with incoming MPI President Andrew Selee about the trends and realities confronting policymakers and publics, including over immigrant-selection systems, the disruptions artificial intelligence will bring to workforce needs, and more.

Video, Audio
May 25, 2016

A discussion on how the politics and migration policies of the British government influenced the decision to hold the "Brexit" referendum, how public attitudes towards immigration might influence the decision whether the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, and how the outcome might impact migration policy in the United Kingdom and European Union more broadly.

Video, Audio
December 1, 2015

A discussion on the U.S. EB-5 program, the motivations underpinning recent changes to other investor visa programs in North America, Europe, and elsewhere, and the implications for the future direction of these programs. 

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.

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.

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Recent Activity

Reports
July 2019

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.

Reports
July 2019

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.

Articles

The Trump administration’s plan to create a "merit-based" U.S. immigration system, lessening the longstanding focus on family reunification in favor of more economic migrants, has met with a lackluster response from Democrats and Republicans alike. This Policy Beat article explores how the Trump proposal would reshape immigration to the United States, and how it compares to selection systems in other countries and past debates about changing the U.S. system.

Reports
May 2019

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.

Video, Audio
May 17, 2019

With the U.S. administration calling for the United States to adopt a more “merit-based” immigrant selection system, this conversation focused on what policymakers should consider in designing—and managing—immigrant selection systems in a time of intense labor-market and demographic change.

Explainers
April 2019

Through which visa categories can immigrants move temporarily or permanently to the United States? What are the main channels by which people come, and who can sponsor them for a green card? Are there limits on visa categories? And who is waiting in the green-card backlog? This explainer answers basic questions about temporary and permanent immigration via family, employment, humanitarian, and other channels.

Reports
April 2019

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.

Reports
April 2019

A relatively new destination for immigrants, Spain has developed a labor migration system that builds on longstanding relationships with countries outside the European Union and that actively involves employers, trade unions, and regional governments. This report examines how this legal framework has evolved in recent decades, and how it could serve as a model for EU policymakers in admitting non-EU workers.

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