E.g., 03/06/2021
E.g., 03/06/2021

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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Policy Briefs
April 2018
By  Kate Hooper and Brian Salant
Policy Briefs
January 2018
By  Kathleen Newland and Andrea Riester
Reports
January 2018
By  Sarah Pierce, Jessica Bolter and Andrew Selee
Policy Briefs
July 2016
By  Muzaffar Chishti and Stephen Yale-Loehr

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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.

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.

Faced with labor shortages in key sectors of the economy, South Korea has moved carefully in recent decades toward accepting greater numbers of workers—albeit in temporary fashion. Its Employment Permit System, launched in 2003, earned international accolades for bringing order and legality to immigration in the country, although several challenges remain to be addressed as this Country Profile explores.

The Brussels terrorist attacks have renewed national debate in the United States over whether the U.S. refugee admissions program could be a gateway for terrorists to enter the country. Meanwhile, federal courts have frustrated state efforts to block resettlement of Syrian refugees even as some members of Congress have sought to reform the refugee admissions process through new legislation, as this article explores.

Citizenship came under fire in new ways around the world in 2015, with attempts to both restrict who is eligible to become a citizen and who can be deprived of citizenship. Driven by fears of international terrorism, a number of countries proposed or passed legislation making it easier to narrow citizenship and broadening the range of offenses for which individuals can be stripped of their citizenship.

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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.
Video, Audio
May 6, 2013

A panel discussion on the release of the Regional Migration Study Group's final report, Thinking Regionally to Compete Globally: Leveraging Migration & Human Capital in the U.S., Mexico, and Central America, outlining its findings and offering recommendations to policymakers in the region.

Video, Audio
March 19, 2013

This discussion covers some of the most difficult issues that must be addressed if the United States is to reform its immigration system in ways that work not only for today’s reality but tomorrow’s future.

Video, Audio
January 13, 2011

In a report by MPI's Labor Markets Initiative, noted economist and Georgetown University Public Policy Institute Professor Harry J. Holzer examines the economic reasoning and research on these questions and looks at the policy options that shape the impact of less-skilled immigration on the economy. The discussion is on what policy reform would best serve native-born American workers, consumers, and employers, as well as the overall U.S. economy.

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Recent Activity

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.

Reports
April 2019

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.

Articles

Mexicans migrate to Canada in much smaller numbers than to the United States, yet over the last 30 years the country has become an increasingly attractive destination. Canada prioritizes highly skilled, educated Mexicans for permanent residency, but also attracts temporary workers from Mexico. This article examines Mexican migration to Canada and how it has been shaped by visa requirements, trade policy, and more.

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