system to seek permanent residence. Germany has enacted a series of visa obligations and special control measures for guest-workers, but it has had continued problems with regulating the increasing number of asylum applications.
A significant proportion of immigrants into European countries—two in five—are refugees, almost twice the proportion for the United States. Labor migration plays roughly the same role in many European countries and in traditional immigrant-receiving countries, including the United States—about one-third of total immigration. Where the United States stands apart is in the relative numbers of family-oriented immigrants.
As shown in Table 2.13, the source countries for immigration are diverse. Among countries receiving immigrants, the top three source countries vary greatly. Although Mexico is the major source country for immigration into the United States, Mexico is not a major source country for other immigrant-receiving countries. Other countries also tend to receive specialized immigration flows: only the United Kingdom tends to receive a significant proportion of immigrants from Australia and New Zealand.
Canada and the United States receive immigrants from a large number of countries. Less than one-fourth of immigrants into these two countries are from the top three sources. This contrasts with the situation in several other countries, such as France, where most immigrants are from only two or three countries.
Although the concern of this report is with immigration into the United States, the United States also supplies immigrants to other countries. Australia is the only major immigrant-receiving country that receives a substantial proportion from the United States. In addition, although the United Kingdom, Japan, and Israel do not receive a large volume of immigrants, persons from the United States constitute an important source of their immigrants.
Any time immigration is restricted, there must be a mechanism for choosing immigrants. Countries have adopted a wide variety of procedures that emphasize different factors. Which set of rules is chosen has large consequences for the composition of immigration. Canada offers an interesting contrast to the United States, because it places less emphasis on family unification and more on employment skills, admitting more than one-half of its annual immigrants on economic grounds.
A comparison of the United States and Canada illustrates how immigration selection works in another country. It is not meant as an endorsement or criticism of the Canadian immigration system, nor that the United States should place more weight on a point-based preference system that stresses employment skills.
The Canadian immigration system, which has been operating for two decades, begins by setting a total for immigration for planning purposes, along with projected immigration in several components (Citizenship and Immigration