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Understanding Transnational Dynamics in European Immigrant Integration Policy

March 5, 2015 Comments off

Understanding Transnational Dynamics in European Immigrant Integration Policy
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Although measuring immigrant integration outcomes in destination countries is a difficult task, European Union Member States increasingly recognize that the expected results have thus far failed to materialize. In a political and economic climate that tests social cohesion and labor market resilience, a fresh approach to integration across the European Union is urgently needed—one that ideally takes into account the complexity of the three-way process between the migrant, origin country, and country of destination.

In light of this recognition, policymakers and other actors are beginning to look at the transnational picture: specifically, the role that origin countries can play in the integration process. Migrant-sending countries can play a part in this process by actively engaging their nationals abroad and devoting resources to interventions among emigrants in destination countries. At the same time, while the willingness of origin countries to support integration outcomes can inject new life into a policy area that often comes across as tired, it must also be recognized that they cannot overcome bad integration conditions at destination.

This policy brief explores the transnational dynamics at work behind the scenes of integration policy, including wider sociopolitical factors in origin and destination countries that can make identifying successful integration policies difficult. It also examines the relative effect of origin- and destination-country factors on integration outcomes, and treats the origin country as an integration actor that actively or passively supports—or hinders—integration outcomes for its nationals abroad. The brief argues for the importance of coordinating with and engaging sending countries as equal partners in the integration process in order to ensure that policy changes in one place do not negatively impact initiatives from another.

Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States

March 4, 2015 Comments off

Frequently Requested Statistics on Immigrants and Immigration in the United States
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Immigration has a significant impact on many aspects of life in the United States, from the workforce and the classroom to communities across the country. As such, many seek to know more about those who were born abroad and now make their lives here, whether as naturalized citizens, legal permanent residents, refugees and asylees, international students and others on long-term temporary visas, or unauthorized immigrants. In 2013, approximately 41.3 million immigrants lived in the United States, an all-time high for a nation historically built on immigration. The United States remains a popular destination attracting about 20 percent of the world’s international migrants, even as it represents less than 5 percent of the global population. Immigrants accounted for 13 percent of the total 316 million U.S. residents; adding the U.S.-born children (of all ages) of immigrants means that approximately 80 million people, or one-quarter of the overall U.S. population, is either of the first or second generation.

This article seeks to provide the latest data in one easily accessible resource, bringing together some of the most frequently requested current and historical facts and figures about immigrants and immigration in the United States. It answers questions such as: How do today’s top source countries compare to those 50 years ago? How many visas does the Department of State issue? How many people gained green cards last year? How many unauthorized immigrants are in the United States? How many children live with immigrant parents? What jobs do immigrants hold? How many unauthorized migrants have been deported?

Through an Immigrant Lens: PIAAC Assessment of the Competencies of Adults in the United States

February 19, 2015 Comments off

Through an Immigrant Lens: PIAAC Assessment of the Competencies of Adults in the United States
Source: Migration Policy Institute

In today’s knowledge-driven world, literacy, numeracy, and the ability to use digital technology are foundational to socioeconomic success. However, when it comes to these skill areas, immigrants in the United States lag behind their native-born counterparts. MPI analysis of data from the 2012 Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), a survey that assessed the cognitive skills of adults (ages 16 to 65) in 24 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, finds that immigrants are over-represented among low-skilled adults in the United States—accounting for 33 percent of adults with low literacy skills and 24 percent of those with low numeracy skills while comprising only 15 percent of the overall U.S. adult working-age population.

This report uses PIAAC data to describe the English literacy and numeracy of adults in the United States and explore how these skills are related to key outcomes such as labor market participation, income, and health status. The detailed analysis reveals a number of findings regarding immigrants and their U.S.-born adult children, which taken together underscore deep social inequalities. Roughly 40 percent of immigrant adults lacked basic English literacy and 48 percent lacked basic numeracy in English. The authors point out that the PIAAC competency tests are administered in English, leaving non-English speakers at a disadvantage—regardless of their skills in their native language.

While native-born adults in the United States outperformed immigrants on the PIAAC survey, both groups scored well below international averages. The overall U.S. scores were only marginally affected by immigrants’ low scores, the MPI researchers found. The test results show that between half and two-third of all U.S. working-age adults were not proficient in literacy and numeracy. Even among those with a college degree, 22 percent of natives and 54 percent of immigrants scored below proficient in literacy.

Improving Migrants’ Labour Market Integration in Europe from the Outset: A Cooperative Approach to Predeparture Measures

February 19, 2015 Comments off

Improving Migrants’ Labour Market Integration in Europe from the Outset: A Cooperative Approach to Predeparture Measures
Source: Migration Policy Institute

There is a growing consensus on the value of providing immigrants with integration support at the earliest possible moment in the migration process. Integration services provided prior to departure, such as language instruction, training, recognition of foreign credentials, and job skill-matching, can all have positive impacts on the labor market outcomes of immigrants once they reach their destination—and on their capacity to actively contribute to the development of their country of origin. While European policymakers as well as their counterparts in migrant-sending countries have contributed significant political capital and resources to predeparture integration measures over the past decade, these initiatives generally have yet to fully realize their potential as a tool able to durably improve migrants’ labor market integration. This is largely due to the lack of cooperation between origin and destination countries in the design and implementation of such measures.

This policy brief reviews promising examples of predeparture measures for labor market integration that are jointly designed and/or run by origin- and destination-country actors, illustrating their potential to help effectively address some of the most stubborn obstacles to successful integration. A number of these examples involve destination-country employers, and key elements in their success include flexibility and responsiveness to employer demand. Equally important is the buy-in from origin-country actors, which can be supported through a development-sensitive approach in the design of the programs.

Mentoring Practices in Europe and North America: Strategies for Improving Immigrants’ Employment Outcomes

February 5, 2015 Comments off

Mentoring Practices in Europe and North America: Strategies for Improving Immigrants’ Employment Outcomes
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Mentoring—an experienced individual coaching or advising a more junior partner or peer—is increasingly recognized in Europe as a tool for advancing the labor market integration of disadvantaged individuals, including immigrants. Employment-oriented mentoring programs have the end goal of employment for the mentee, but also aim to achieve important objectives along the way that can promote employment success, including development of social and cognitive skills, expansion of socioprofessional networks, and improved self-confidence and self-reliance.

For many countries in Europe and North America, the labor market outcomes of immigrant populations are worse than those of the native population. In addition, young adults and the low-skilled have been hit hardest by the economic crisis: among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, 26 percent of foreign-born youth and 20 percent of native-born youth are not in employment, education, or training. For highly skilled immigrants who do not enter an OECD country through a labor migration scheme, the pathway to suitable employment may not be straightforward, in which case mentoring initiatives can help new immigrants overcome the challenges posed by recognition of qualifications and lack of professional networks.

This report, commissioned of MPI Europe by the King Baudouin Foundation, highlights a number of relevant “classic” one-on-one mentoring practices in Europe and North America, focusing on the role of different initiators and stakeholders, forms of collaboration, methods, and target groups. It focuses exclusively on apprenticeship and business or employment-related mentoring efforts that aim to generate sustained employment. The report also provides a case study of mentoring practices in Belgium, where the unemployment rate of people with an immigrant background is significantly higher than that of the native born. Finally, the report summarizes a number of key “ingredients,” or elements, that several promising mentoring initiatives share.

Chinese Immigrants in the United States

February 2, 2015 Comments off

Chinese Immigrants in the United States
Source: Migration Policy Institute

Chinese migration to the United States is a history of two parts: a first wave from the 1850s to 1880s, halted by federal laws restricting Chinese immigration; and a second wave from the late 1970s to the present, following normalization of U.S.-Chinese relations and changes to U.S. and Chinese migration policies. Chinese immigrants are now the third-largest foreign-born group in the United States after Mexicans and Indians, numbering more than 2 million and comprising 5 percent of the overall immigrant population in 2013.

MPI Releases Detailed Data Profiles of Unauthorized Immigrants and Estimates of Deferred Action Populations for Top U.S. Counties

January 16, 2015 Comments off

MPI Releases Detailed Data Profiles of Unauthorized Immigrants and Estimates of Deferred Action Populations for Top U.S. Counties
Source: Migration Policy Institute

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) today released data profiles of unauthorized immigrants in the 94 U.S. counties with the largest such populations, including detailed information on population size, countries of origin, recency of arrival, educational enrollment and attainment, health insurance coverage, poverty levels and potential eligibility for the two deferred action programs launched by the Obama administration.

The profiles for the 94 counties, which are home to approximately two-thirds of the 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, are the latest addition to a unique data tool that offers detailed information on this population at national and state levels, including those potentially eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program or the recently announced Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. Using an innovative MPI methodology that takes U.S. Census Bureau data and imputes legal status for noncitizens, the tool also provides estimates of the age, gender, parental and marital status, top languages spoken, labor force participation and home ownership rates for unauthorized immigrants.

The county profiles reveal that the top five counties with the largest populations potentially eligible for relief from deportation through DACA or DAPA — Los Angeles, CA; Harris, TX; Orange, CA; Cook, IL; and Dallas, TX — account for 1.1 million people, over one-fifth of the total potentially eligible population nationwide, which MPI estimates at 5.2 million.

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