Over the past two decades, an average of two million people immigrated each year to the United States and Europe. Their native countries receive billions of dollars and euros annually in remittances, in some cases accounting for up to thirty percent of these countries’ GDP. In North America and in Europe immigration is generally thought to ameliorate labor force shortages and provide demographic and economic vitality and expand the consumer and tax bases, even as it raises challenges. It is important that receiving countries develop strategic policies that will facilitate and control the economic absorption and social assimilation of new arrivals. It is equally important that these countries recognize and embrace the benefits of migration. As the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development—the association of thirty democratic nations with advanced economies) countries consider how best to shape their future immigration policies, a number of researchable questions arise. What competition exists now and in the future among OECD countries for developing countries’ skills? To what extent is trade a substitute for or complement to migration? What are the consequences of the so-called brain drain on developing countries?
The OECD-hosted workshop “The Future of International Migration to OECD Countries” will organize a review of current research in order to examine the key drivers of global migration and project the shape of things to come. This conference will focus on three key components of the future impact of migration. The first session will examine population, education, and environment in sending countries and labor demand, skill availability, and qualifications in the labor pool of receiving countries. In the second session participants will create independent scenarios of how such events as environmental disaster and shrinking labor pools effect potential policy designs. The final session will identify key gaps in our understanding of the possible trends in future migration and discuss areas for future research. The conference, initiated by the OECD’s International Futures Programme, will include participants and observers from a diverse group of senior government officials; executives from agencies and corporations; and specialists from leading research institutions, foundations, and NGOs. Selected attendees will represent both OECD and non-OECD countries. The conference will provide unique insights for the long-term future of migration and the ability of OECD and non-OECD countries to predict migration flows and understand the forces behind them.