“The Coalition believes that immigration policy should be evidence-based. On these pages, we highlight some of the best research that has come to our attention. We provide you with a short summary, as well as the link to the original research if you want to explore further.”

Paper weights the relative advantages and disadvantages of alternative immigrant selection systems

Equipping Immigrant Selection Systems for a Changing World of Work,
Transatlantic Council on Migration, July 2019

The research for this paper was commissioned by the Transatlantic Council for its 2018 meeting in Brussels devoted to the theme of “Building Migration Systems for a New Age of Economic Competitiveness.” The paper explores the implication of the changing world of work for immigrant selection systems, highlighting key challenges such as predicting future labor-market needs, balancing employer demand with human-capital considerations, and building capacity for regional variation into selection processes.  The authors argue for a flexible system of immigrant selection using innovative methodologies for assessing labor-market needs. They summarize the advantages and disadvantages of employer-driven selection systems, e.g. allowing immigrants to fill hiring vacancies vs. human capital-focused systems, e.g. assigning points for qualifications such as levels of education and host country language proficiency, acknowledging that elements of the two systems can be combined into one.

Should the U.S. Move in the Direction of a Point-Based Immigration System? Paper Discusses the Pros and Cons

Competing Approaches to Selecting Economic Immigrants: Points-Based vs. Demand-Driven Systems,
Migration Policy Institute, April 2019

This timely paper examines the two models for the administration of employment-stream immigration: demand-driven and point system. In demand-driven systems, immigrants are admitted, subject to government regulation, based on an offer from employers. In a point-based immigration system, governments devise a preference system based on a number of factors, including labor-market needs, education and skills of the prospective immigrant, previous in-country work experience, language ability and other factors. Employer-driven systems tend to be more efficient, matching arriving immigrant workers with employers. Point systems have had problems with immigrants arriving based on points accumulated, then struggling in the job market. On the other hand, point systems — more successful in countries with strong executive powers over immigration — can quickly adjust to the changing needs of the workforce and are not dependent on years- or decades-long legislative processes. They are more transparent, and more likely to inspire confidence among members of the receiving society. Since their inception, point systems have evolved, and have incorporated elements of demand-driven systems. (A job offer from an employer, or previous in-country work experience, can add points to an immigrant’s score, for example.) The paper also discusses the evolving global marketplace for workers, and stresses that policy makers need not only to think about what benefits their immigration system will bring for their countries, but how they can attract and retain immigrants with needed skills. Immigrant-receiving countries and developing countries are increasingly competing for talented immigrants. A country with an immigration system that cannot quickly evolve in response to changing circumstances will be left behind in the race for top talent.