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Existing High-Skilled Immigration Policies in OECD Countries34

Migration for employment, particularly for high-skilled workers, remains a core concern for OECD member countries.35 EU countries, especially those with developed S&E capacity, have implemented strategies to facilitate retention and immigration of the technically skilled. Several OECD countries have relaxed their immigration laws to attract high-skilled students and workers. Some are increasing growth in their international-student populations and encouraging these students to apply for resident status.36

  1. Points-Based Immigration for High-Skilled Workers

    Points systems, while not widespread, are starting to develop. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom use such systems to recruit highly skilled workers. The Czech Republic set up a pilot project that started in 2004. In 2004, the EU Justice and International Affairs council adopted a recommendation to facilitate researchers from non-EU countries, which asks member states to waive requirements for residence permits or to issue them automatically or through a fast-track procedure and to set no quotas that would restrict their admission. Permits should be renewable and family reunification facilitated. The European Commission has adopted a directive for a special admissions procedure for third-world nationals coming to the EU to perform research. This procedure will be in force in 2006.

    • Canada has put into place a points-based program aimed at fulfilling its policy objectives for migration, particularly in relation to the labor-market situation. The admission of skilled workers depends more on human capital (language skills and diplomas, professional skills, and adaptability) than on specific abilities.37 Canada has also


Unless otherwise noted, policies listed are from an overview presented in: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Trends in International Migration: 2004 Annual Report. Paris: OECD, 2005.


OECD members countries include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


K. Tremblay. “Links Between Academic Mobility and Immigration.” Symposium on International Labour and Academic Mobility: Emerging Trends and Implications for Public Policy, Toronto, October 22, 2004.


Applicants can check online their chances to qualify for migration to Canada as skilled workers. A points score is automatically calculated to determine entry to Canada under the Skilled Worker category. See Canadian Immigration Points Calculator Web site at

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