Turkey


Nations urged to be more welcoming to immigrants

by Ray Clancy on July 17, 2017

Countries around the world are being urged to be more welcoming to immigrants and help them to integrate into society, including refugees, students and temporary workers

Migration, if well managed, brings benefits to host countries as well as the migrants, according to a new report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

(tang90246/Bigstock.com)

But it points out that developed nations are not working hard enough to make people feel welcome and they also under estimate the opportunities immigration brings in terms of skills, diversity and economic potential.

Too often immigration is regarded as a threat to economies and communities and there should be a rethinking of both domestic policies and international co-operation, according to the OECD report.

The report, Immigration Outlook, shows that permanent migration flows to OECD countries have been on the rise, with around five million people migrating permanently to OECD countries in 2016, as compared to 4.7 million in 2015 and the third year in a row that numbers have risen.

Temporary migration has also increased with the number of workers sent by their employers to other European Union countries under local contracts reaching 1.5 million in 2015.

International recruitment of seasonal workers increased in many countries, particularly sharply in Poland. The number of international students also continues to increase, and new residence permits issued exceeded 1.5 million for the first time in 2015.

Humanitarian migration was the main driver behind this rise and OECD countries registered more than 1.5 million new asylum requests in 2016, as in 2015, with at least two thirds of them in European countries.

Turkey alone is providing temporary protection to another three million Syrians. However, in the first six months of 2017, the total number of landings on European shores reached 85,000, around 10 times less than at the peak in the second half of 2015.

‘Improving the integration of immigrants and their children, including refugees, is vital to delivering a more prosperous, inclusive future for all,’ said OECD secretary general Angel Gurría.

‘While integration is largely a domestic issue, better cooperation at the international level is key to make the progress required and address negative perceptions against migration, which are often rooted in a misconception of the benefit that migrants can bring to recipient countries,’ he added.

The report says that some countries have stepped up their integration efforts and cites the good examples of the fast track integration programme introduced in Sweden and the adoption of the first ever law on integration in Germany. But public policies are lagging in other countries and governments should build on positive momentum for further reforms that focus on all migrants.

This 2017 report includes a special focus on family migration, which it says should become an urgent priority for governments. More than 1.6 million family migrants received a residence permit in the OECD area in 2015, representing almost 40% of the total permanent migration inflow.

It explains that Governments face challenges trying to set rules and conditions for family migration and design the right programmes. The right to family life has to be balanced with the need to ensure that family ties are legitimate and that the family has the means to settle in the new country.

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