Rich countries feel the migration surge

Make some room! International migration to advanced economies reached an all-time high last year, with estimates suggesting a further influx this year, per new OECD stats. 

Driving the news: Per the Financial Times, the OECD added ~6.1 million new permanent migrants across its 38 member nations last year, a 26% jump from the year before.

  • The reason for this is twofold: A labour shortage-fuelled demand for workers in rich nations and worsening humanitarian and environmental disasters in developing ones.
  • The migrant employment rate also reached its highest on record, with more than 70% in work and fewer than 8% unemployed, though mothers are notably lacking support. 

In Canada: Immigration records have been routinely shattered over the past year, and now, the number of asylum seekers is rising. This is partly due to changes affecting the visitor visa program, which no longer requires proof of sufficient funds to stay in Canada. 

  • This week, the Canada Border Services Agency said it processed over 26,000 asylum claims at airports in September, a 54% increase from last year. 

Why it matters: As more people arrive in Canada, the system meant to manage it all faces the risk of falling apart. Per the most recent numbers, there is a backlog of ~2.2 million permanent resident, visitor visa, and work/study permit applications awaiting processing. 

  • With a system that overtaxed, it’s no wonder a recent auditor general report told the feds that they need to shape up their management of immigration programs.

Bottom line: Whether rich nations are able to relieve backlogs and properly manage asylum seekers is a big question. It’s an even bigger question that, once migrants actually get in, if there will be enough affordable housing and suitable jobs to support them.—QH