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International Migration in the Americas: SICREMI 2017

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OAS and OECD Present Report on International Migration in the Americas (SICREMI 2017)

December 18, 2017

  • Between 2012-2015, 7.2 million people left their countries in the Americas.

  • 48% emigrated to the United States and Canada, 34% to Latin America and 18% to Europe.

  • Barbados, Chile, Ecuador and Panama, new emerging destinations for migrants.

The Organization of American States (OAS) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), today presented - in the framework of the celebration of “International Migrants Day”- the “Fourth Report of the Continuous Reporting System on International Migration in the Americas (SICREMI 2017).”

The SICREMI 2017 report (available here) highlighted the following data:

  • Between 2012 and 2015, of the 7.2 million people that emigrated from the countries of the Americas, 48% moved to Canada and the United States, 34% to Latin America and the Caribbean and 18% to European countries of the OECD.

  • In 2015, 880,000 people from all over the world emigrated to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, which represents 20% of the total emigration. Barbados, Chile, Ecuador and Panama have established themselves as the new emerging countries of immigration in the Americas.

  • In the last 15 years, the total number of immigrants residing in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean increased by 2.6 million people, or 45%; the number of immigrants residing in the United States increased by 34% and in Europe by 30%.

  • In 2015 there were 184,000 asylum applications in the Americas, representing an increase of 83% over 2013. This amount represented 6% of all requests made worldwide, which increased 187% in that period as a result of the armed conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

  • Around one third of immigrants from the Americas present in Spain between 2002 and 2016 left the country in 2015. Nearly 20% were immigrants from the Caribbean region, and more than 40% were immigrants from Bolivia, Brazil, Chile , Mexico and Paraguay.

  • Between 2014 and 2015 the employment situation of emigrants from the Americas in the United States and Europe improved, which was reflected in a general decrease in unemployment compared to 2012/2013. Nevertheless, the employment situation of migrant women continues to be more unfavorable than for men.

The study presented at the headquarters of the hemispheric institution in Washington, DC., highlighted that "In recent years, the deceleration of economic growth in Latin America and the global recovery in advanced countries have led to an increase in outflows from LAC, in particular to Spain and to the United States. In the latter case, total permanent immigration increased both in 2014 and 2015 – without, however, recovering its pre-crisis level – while temporary migration reached 1.9 million in 2015. In addition, annual entries to Canada represent about 1.7% of the total population, the highest rate after Barbados and before the United States. In the Americas, as in other parts of the world, migration trends have been reinforced by the increase in the number of people fleeing their countries, whether from natural catastrophes, or economic or political instability." In addition, the report notes that “A significant proportion of the increase in intra-American migration, however, can be attributed to persons fleeing conflict zones, natural catastrophes or conditions of economic collapse or underdevelopment, for example in Colombia, Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela. In other words, the increase in immigration in this region cannot be entirely viewed through the lens of a greater-economic-integration perspective.”

The OAS Assistant Secretary General, Nestor Mendez, stressed that "today we have overwhelming evidence confirming that the practice of respecting and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants benefits both migrants and the countries of destination, both for the growth of its economy and social cohesion. Unfortunately, the violation of the human rights of migrants is an undeniable reality. The risks of death, extortion, xenophobia, trafficking and trafficking in persons, the separation of families, forced return to the country of origin, and violence exercised by organized crime, are not a reality alien to our hemisphere. That is why we must continue working for a human rights approach to migration and the explicit recognition of the economic and social contributions made by migrants," he added.

For his part, the Head of the Division of International Migration of the OECD, Jean-Christophe Dumont, assured that the study “SICREMI 2017” helps “to understand the overall magnitude of migration movements at regional level, their nature, their evolution over time and how they are affected by changes in policy.” He added that the report also shows “how immigrants are faring and contributing to the economy, and the labor market, in both destination and origin countries,” and “tries to monitor and describe migration policies and identify common challenges across countries and differences in terms of policy responses.”

Since its inception in 2009, the objective of the SICREMI project has been to compile, analyze and publish statistics on international migration in the Western Hemisphere, and also from the countries of the Americas to OECD countries. The publication shows recent changes in migratory movements and policies in the Americas.

Reference: E-093/17