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Migration to the West

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an association of 37 countries. Its members are among the most successful market economies in the world. When people go in search of a new and better life, they usually want to settle in an OECD country.
The picture shows the silhouettes 8 migrants crossing into Hungary. Photo.
Åpne bilde i et nytt vindu

The OECD is mainly made up of countries that are colloquially referred to as the West, or Western countries. However, countries like Mexico and Chile are also members.

The OECD regularly publishes statistics on immigration to the OECD. According to OECD statistics, one in ten of the OECD population is foreign-born. On the top of the list we find countries like Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland, with more than 20% foreign populations.

On average, migration has contributed to half of the population growth in OECD countries over the last ten years. Consequently, many OECD countries face the challenges of the economic and social integration of immigrants and their children. Developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America find themselves suffering from a brain-drain. Among those deciding to leave their country are some of the best educated people. This is particularly the case in the health sector, science and IT.

If we look at the migrant population as a whole, it cannot be seen as a well-educated group. In terms of education, migrants differ from the average native population in the sense that they are either better qualified, such as highly skilled Indians and Chinese, or have less or no education compared to the native born. Migrants therefore emerge as a very complex and divided group.

The recent OECD report also states that skilled immigrant workers are likely to get lower skilled jobs than what they are qualified for, and that the OECD countries receiving lots of immigrants still have a long way to go to integrate immigrants socially and in their work lives.


Link to OECD statistics webpage.

Relatert innhold

CC BY-SASkrevet av Knut Inge Skifjeld.
Sist faglig oppdatert 13.05.2018


Immigration and Multiculturalism