Executive Summary

Immigration to countries of the Americas

The year 2010 showed signs of recovery in the economy of the Americas after the great recession of 2008-2009. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rates showed significant average growth from -0.4% in 2009 to 5.6% in 2010 for the countries covered in this report.

This improvement in the economy, however, was not fully reflected in an increase in international migration trends, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In Canada and the United States, after a decrease of 12% in 2009 in the temporary immigration of workers, it presented an increase of 5% in 2010. This type of migration is largely determined by numerical limits that the respective governments determine and that in recent years their levels have not been adjusted in response to the economic situation.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, despite the improvement in the economic situation in 2010, permanent immigration fell by 9% and temporary immigration by 6%. This decrease is largely a reflection of the decrease in
immigration in two countries, mainly in Brazil, where in 2010 the decrease in permanent immigration reflected the effect of the regularization carried out in 2009, and in Argentina, which reflects the decrease in the regularizations of the Patria Grande Mercosur program.

Immigration growth rates for Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole have fallen steadily to the rates seen in the pre-crisis period in 2007, when immigration levels were undoubtedly low.

Migratory movements in the different countries of Latin America and the Caribbean seem to have little connection to changes in the state of the national economies of many countries. In fact, in some where the economies have evolved in a similar way from 2009 to 2010, there are both large increases in temporary migration in some and large decreases in others.

It could be that emigration is determined more by conditions in the countries of origin than in the countries of destination.

For most of the countries of the Americas covered in this report, immigration is a regional issue, that is, most immigrants come from the Americas, with the exception of Brazil, Canada, and the United States, where much of the immigration originates outside the Hemisphere.

In 2011 intra-regional flows in Latin America and the Caribbean were half of the region’s flows to Canada and the United States.

In 2010, Asia was the continent of origin for about 45% of immigrants to Canada and the United States, while those from the rest of the Americas accounted for 25%, not including unauthorized migration estimated at around 300,000 people in 2009, from a peak of around 850,000 per year in the first half of the decade (Passel and Cohn, 2010).

There was also a strong concentration of migration from neighboring Latin American and Caribbean countries. For some destination countries, between 40% and 50% of immigration comes from a single neighboring country. This was the case in Argentina (from Paraguay), Barbados (from Guyana), Bolivia and Chile (from Peru), and Costa Rica (from Nicaragua).

Asylum seekers in the Americas

For the period 2010-2011, approximately 13% of asylum applications in the world were made in countries of the Americas, where about three quarters of them were made in the United States and Canada. Although the United States and Canada are, in absolute terms, the countries with the highest number of requests, the number of requests per million inhabitants was for Ecuador 1040, Canada 744, Panama 403, Costa Rica 211, United States 193 and in Venezuela 112 .

Asylum applications in the Americas increased 7% in 2011 over 2010, with the United States showing a 41% increase and Ecuador a 55% decrease. 97% of asylum applications in the Americas come from nationals of six countries, particularly Colombia, Mexico, and Haiti, and to a lesser extent El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

Evolution of remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean

Throughout 2011, remittance flows to Latin America and the Caribbean showed signs of a solid recovery, reaching growth rates close to those recorded before the start of the global economic crisis. Since the last quarter of 2008, increases in unemployment rates in traditional source countries such as the United States, Spain, and Japan, and resulting falls in the earnings of migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean, have caused an unprecedented decline. in the volume of remittances sent to the region. In 2010, remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean showed signs of stabilization of these fl and ended the year with a positive growth trend that resulted in an annual volume that was slightly higher than the previous year. In 2011, the countries of the region received a total of US$61.

Emigration from the Americas to OECD countries

The economic crisis had a substantial effect on emigration from the Americas, in particular to Spain, reducing migration to that country by 38% between the period 2005-2007 and 2008-2010. In absolute figures, this implies a decrease of around 860,000 to 550,000 for the periods indicated.

Authorized flows to the United States decreased by 4%, but it should be noted that the information refers only to so-called green cards, which are the right to permanent residence, remembering that it is in temporary and unauthorized migration where they are observed the biggest declines.

Economic difficulties in Spain and the United States appear to have had the effect of redirecting migration flows from the Americas to other OECD countries of destination.

Migratory flows of emigrants from the Americas to other OECD countries outside Europe grew by 8% (Canada, Chile, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand) and to other European countries by 14% in the period 2008-2010 with respect to the period 2005-2007. The total increase in movements from these two areas amounts to around 105,000, which somewhat offsets the decrease of 360,000 movements to Spain and the United States.

The largest decreases in migration to OECD countries between 2005-2007 and 2008-2010 were observed for migrants from the Andean Region (above 180,000 in the period) and from the Southern Cone (which also fell by more than 180 000) in these periods. Caribbean countries have seen an 11% increase, largely due to migration from Haiti, but especially from the Dominican Republic to the United States.

Although economic conditions have become more difficult almost everywhere within the OECD area, migratory movements from the Americas have remained at a relatively high level, with more than 3 million people during the period. 2008-2010, representing a fall of only 8% compared to the level of movements in the period 2005-2007 before the economic crisis. Not even the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression has been able to significantly reduce migratory movements, which continue and will undoubtedly increase as demographic imbalances in developed countries begin to make their effects felt more strongly.

The labor market situation of emigrants from the Americas in 2010-2011

Demographic and geographic settlement patterns of emigrants from the Americas

Age, gender, and region of destination of emigrants from the Americas
The majority of emigrants from the Americas (82%) in 2010-2011 resided in the United States. The proportion of emigrants from Central America and the Caribbean who lived in the United States was even higher, reaching 99% for Mexican migrants. On the other hand, emigrants from South America resided more in Europe than in the United States. Spain assumed the majority of emigrants in Europe (57%).

The level of education of the emigrant population of the Americas
In 2010-2011, one in three emigrants from the Americas had a low level of education (less than upper secondary), compared to 15% who had a high level (tertiary). Emigrants from Central American countries such as Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras had the lowest proportion of people with high levels of education (an average of 7%). Emigrants from the Americas in the United States had much lower educational levels than the native-born population or other migrants. However, this was not the case for Spain, where the percentage of people with a low level of education is higher for other migrants (+6) and for those born in the country (+14) than for migrants from the Americas. .

The United States, Canada, and Venezuela have the highest proportion of tertiary-educated people in their emigrant populations, with up to 60% for the United States and about 45% for the other two countries. In general, emigration rates are higher among the population with tertiary education, with Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador being the exception.

Results of labor insertion of migrant workers from the Americas

The Great Recession of 2008-2009 had a devastating effect on the Spanish economy; The economy of the United States was also strongly affected, where an even higher percentage of migrants from the Americas lived. In particular, the construction sector, where many immigrants worked, was affected. Job opportunities are now much scarcer and competition between native-born workers and immigrants is more intense. This is reflected in the labor market outcomes of migrants from the Americas.

During 2010 and 2011 there have been some small initial signs of recovery in many OECD countries, but the general situation of immigrants from the Americas in the labor market cannot be said to have improved much.

Signs of a slight increase in employment and a drop in unemployment after 2009 are visible among emigrants from the Americas in the United States. The situation is not the same as in Spain, where the labor market situation for migrants continues to deteriorate, although less so among emigrants from the Americas than among migrants from elsewhere.

Although they undoubtedly remain much more unemployed than the native-born, their situation has begun to diverge (favorably) from that of other migrants, which bodes well for the future, as it suggests that by the time they return to hiring employers do not distinguish, or distinguish less, between the native-born and other Spanish-speakers.

For women in many countries of the Americas, the labor market situation has experienced a negative turn, especially with respect to the employment and unemployment situation, while the rate of participation in the labor force has been less affected. On the other hand, there are signs of a more favorable labor market for Caribbean men in particular and to a lesser extent for Central American men. This reflects to some extent the improvement in the US economy.

The unemployment situation of migrants with low levels of education in Spain is especially difficult, with an average of 26% for women in the Americas and 36% for men. In the United States the corresponding figures for women and men are 14% and 11% respectively.

Part-time work of migrant workers from the Americas

Historically, there is a higher proportion of women employed part-time. Migrants from the Americas are no exception: the share of part-time workers in total jobs held by migrant women was 16 percentage points higher than that of migrant men, and a difference of 6 points above the women born in the country of destination.

With a reduction in the working-age population on the horizon for many OECD countries, increasing working hours among part-time workers is likely to become a strategy to improve economic activity among the resident population. If so, there will be considerable potential to increase working hours for many workers, both native and foreign-born.

Self-employment and entrepreneurship

In 2010-2011, more than 1.5 million self-employed persons from the Americas were registered in the OECD area. The largest group was Mexican and essentially resided in the United States, followed by migrants from Cuba, Canada, Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil.

When migrants are in a position to establish a business and create jobs this can have a measurable effect on the level of employment. In Spain and Italy, for example, nearly one in four entrepreneurs born in the Americas have created jobs through their business. In Spain, between 2007-2008, 9% of people were employed by immigrant entrepreneurs and this proportion is increasing (oECD 2010c).

The occupational distribution of employment among migrant workers in the Americas

Although migrants from the Americas are characterized by having a much higher percentage of people with low education than other migrants or the population born in the United States, this is not the case in Spain, where the percentage of people with low level of education is high in all three groups, but where the percentage of those born in the country with low level of education (57%) is 10 to 15 percentage points higher than among immigrants. Indeed, compared to most OECD countries, Spain lacks workers with secondary education, which in most countries constitutes the majority of jobs in the labor market.

In the United States, emigrants from the Americas in 2010-2011 had a better chance than the native-born population to hold low-skill jobs such as construction, cleaning and maintenance, food processing and services, production and transportation were also less likely than the native-born to work in high-skill jobs such as management, business, legal, financial operations, computer science, architecture, or engineering.

The situation in Europe was a little less polarized. They were present in all occupations but were greatly overrepresented in low-skilled jobs (27% of jobs compared to 8% for native-born).

In southern European countries, including Spain, there was a very large difference between the educational level of retiring workers and that of young residents entering the labor force. Under these circumstances, it is likely that immigrants did not put native-born workers out of work but rather took on jobs without enough candidates among the latter group. The fact that the jobs used to be manual and had relatively low salary levels supports this statement.

The earnings of migrant workers from the Americas

Migrant workers from the Americas in both the United States and Spain tended to be concentrated in the two lowest income quintiles, with more than 60% of them in this situation. In both countries, they were underrepresented in the highest income quintiles. Remittance transfers in 2010 amounted to approximately US$1,500 for each migrant aged 15-64 from the Americas employed in an OECD country.

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