Monday, January 31, 2011

UK, Spain, Germany, and Italy: most popular EU immigration destinations

The United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, and Italy topped the charts for non-EU immigration in 2008, according to the latest figures from Eurostat.

Each of the four Countries allowed in 100,000 immigrants in the latest year for which data is available 2008. These were the only Countries in the EU that took in more than 100,000 immigrants each.

Spain allowed in the most non-EU immigrants during this period, at 498,000 immigrants. This was followed by the UK at 307,000 immigrants, Italy at 283,700 immigrants, and Germany at 237,900 immigrants.
France, was in the past a major immigration destination Country. In 2008 only 89,000 immigrants emigrated to France.

Overall, the European Union took in 3.8 million immigrants in 2008, a six percent decrease from the previous year.

Immigration is a hot issue for some EU member states. The UK Government is attempting to curb non-EU immigration via a controversial immigration cap. There is already a temporary immigration cap in place in the UK. The permanent immigration cap will go into effect in April 2011.

The measure is unlikely to reduce immigration to the "tens of thousands" as hoped by the UK Government; Under EU law most EU citizens are allowed to work in most other EU Countries. In recent years the majority of new immigrants coming to the UK have been from other EU Countries.

EU Countries including Germany, the UK, Spain and Italy are expected to see further declines in their working age populations in future. Increasing immigration from outside the EU is needed to deal with skills shortages.

Research shows immigrants earn more in US than Canada

A new Statistics Canada study shows that highly skilled migrants in Canada earn significantly lower salaries than migrants in the United States.

From 1980 to 2005, highly skilled Canadian immigrants saw their earnings drop dramatically in comparison to native-born Canadians. As of today, new male immigrants to Canada with university degrees earn about 50 percent less than their Canadian-born counterparts. However, the gap in the United States is much lower, at 30 percent.

The gap in pay worsened in the 1990s, according to the study's main author, Aneta Bonikowska. However, it is unclear as to why. Bonikowska said it was not due to recruitment strategies because engineers and other occupations in high demand flooded the labor markets of Canada and the United States at the same time. She did have a couple theories, though.

"One is that there's been a much more rapid increase in the supply of university-educated new immigrants in Canada than the U.S., so supply may be an issue," Bonikowska said. "The second is language ability."

Since 1980, Canada has been accepting a larger percentage of university-educated migrants. In 1980, twenty percent of immigrants had a university degree. By 2005, that number had risen to 55 percent. In the United States, that number grew much more slowly, with only 35 percent of immigrants having a higher education.

Canada has also seen a rise in immigration from countries in Asia, with immigrants who speak neither English nor French at home. The study suggests that these immigrants have a harder time finding higher paid jobs in the Canadian labor market.

Australian businesses call for more skilled immigration

Reconstruction efforts in flood-stricken Queensland are expected to make it more difficult to recruit skilled labor for the Australian building industry, causing industry stakeholders to call for more skilled immigration.

Business groups have called on the Federal government to ensure immigration rules do not adversely affect their ability to hire overseas workers. Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale said the government should consider changes to its immigration programs, as the reconstruction effort was likely to exacerbate skills shortages.
The floods in Queensland are expected to cost billions of dollars and pull in workers from other Australian states. Low unemployment make it more likely that skills gaps will form across Australia and affect peripheral industries -- even tourism.
It could be even more difficult in future to recruit tradespeople starting next July when new rules go into place which will make it more difficult for people with skilled trade experience to obtain a visa under the General Skilled Migration program.

Scottish universities campaign against UK immigration cap

Scottish Universities are warning the UK Government that Scotland will have one of the strictest visa regimes in the World for foreign students if the Government goes ahead with its plans to reduce student immigration.

The UK Government has laid out plans to restrict student immigration for students studying at below-degree level, limit work rights for students, and ban students from bringing family with them. The Scottish education sector depends heavily on fees that overseas students pay for tuition.

Currently, the UK Border Agency is undertaking a public consultation on the planned restrictions, causing the education industry across Britain to voice their concerns at what many see to be a major mistake on the part of the UK.

Scotland wants a separate immigration policy for students as well as highly skilled migrants, stating that Scotland's needs are different to the rest of the UK.

Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, has written to MPs calling for a separate policy. Sim says any student immigration restrictions would seriously threaten Scotland's education industry.

"At the same time as university funding is cut across the UK, and universities are told to increase their income from other sources, we face a set of proposals which will completely undermine our ability to succeed in what is already a highly competitive market," Sim said.

International student fees at Scotland's universities resulted in £188 million of income during the 2007-08 academic year.