For the First Time Since 2015, the Number of Asylum Applications Granted by EU Countries Dropped Sharply

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Immigration demands from asylum seeking Migrants to the EU have fallen

IMMIGRATION: In 2017, 440,000 migrants received international protection in European countries, a decrease of 36% compared to 2016 according to the OECD annual report …

  • In 2017, about 258 million people in the world lived outside their country of birth according to the OECD report published on Wednesday.

  • Five million new migrants settled legally in OECD countries last year.

  • That’s almost 5% less than in 2016, a first significant decline.

The fracture provoked in the European Union by the crisis of the humanitarian ship Aquarius has relaunched the debate on immigration. By refusing to welcome the 629 migrants rescued off the coast of Libya, Italy has put migration policy at the center of European issues.

The tightening of legislation in some states , the rise of protectionism and populist parties have fueled the tension of public opinion on this issue. The figures published Wednesday in the annual migration report of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), however, deconstruct a number of political arguments.

The EU is less welcoming

“For the first time, the countries of the European Union have welcomed only half of the asylum seekers in 2017 for the benefit of Canada, the United States or Australia,” said Jean-Christophe Dumont, chief of the International Migration Division at the OECD. That year, around 440,000 migrants received international protection in European countries, a decrease of 36% compared to 2016. The sharp decline in asylum applications lodged in Germany (-73% in one year) is one of the explanations advanced by the report.

Despite this decline, the country led by Angela Merkal remains the second most requested country for asylum seekers in the OECD, behind the United States with 198,000 applications filed in 2017. This dynamic is also found in global scale since all the member countries of the organization have recorded a significant decrease in asylum applications. After an extremely high number of applications in 2016 (1.64 million), “only” 1.23 million requests were recorded in 2017.

From Trump to Brexit

Among the highlights of this report is the significant decrease in visas for students in the United States. In 2016, the number of study permits dropped by 27% followed by a 17% decline in 2017. “Administrative changes for Chinese students explain part of the decline, but the difficulty of obtaining a visa and the reinforcement of the procedures for security reasons could play a role for the students in the choice of the country “, analyzes Jean-Christophe Dumont.

Difficult, however, to see an impact of the policy led by Donald Trump since his inauguration took place in January 2017. France on this point is doing rather well and is ranked 6th OECD with the largest number of foreign students.

In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, it is difficult not to see any link between the result of the referendum on the exit of the European Union and the figures provided by the OECD. Thus, one year after the 2016 Brexit, the recruitment of migrants from highly skilled EU countries fell by 38% across the Channel, about twice as much as for low-skilled and medium-skilled jobs. In parallel, the number of European citizens who decided to leave the country with the result of the vote jumped by 29%.

“Unfounded” fears

“Migrants steal our jobs”, this  is one of the leading arguments of far-right parties . In France, Marine Le Pen had included in its presidential program the establishment of a“national priority for employment” . Through two particularly dense chapters, the authors of the study focused on the impact of migration flows on the labor market.

“The activity rate of refugees is generally low. At the beginning of their stay in the host country, the impact of the refugee population on the labor market and the working population is very low, “states the report before adding:” For all European countries the estimated relative impact of recent refugee inflows on the working-age population should not exceed 0.4% “.

But this does not mean that there is no effect, nuance Jean-Christophe Dumont: “Even if the fears associated with these arrivals are deconstructed in this report, locally and in certain segments of the labor market, an impact can to exist. This is the case in Germany for young men with little or no education. Since access to employment takes time for refugees, the increase in the labor force will lead to more unemployment than to employment. This is the case for Germany where the number of unemployed could increase by around 6% by the end of 2020 “.

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