E.g., 11/30/2023
E.g., 11/30/2023
Equipping Immigrant Selection Systems for a Changing World of Work (Transatlantic Council Statement)

Labor markets are undergoing dramatic changes as new technologies and forms of employment reshape how and where people work. In many countries, knowledge- and service-intensive sectors are booming, creating new opportunities for highly skilled professionals. At the same time, workers without in-demand analytical and technical skills are finding it more difficult to secure reliable work that pays family-sustaining wages. Many countries are also seeing their workforces age, raising concerns about labor shortages.

These trends pose a stubborn challenge for policymakers: even as some native-born workers are unable to find jobs because they lack the higher education and skills employers increasingly demand, some businesses are struggling to fill job vacancies. Tackling this mismatch will require policymakers to update education, training, social protection, and regional economic development systems, and to critically re-evaluate how economic-stream immigrants are selected.

This Transatlantic Council Statement rounds out a series examining how governments can build migration systems for a new age of economic competitiveness. This report explores the implication of the changing world of work for immigrant selection systems, highlighting key challenges such as figuring out how to anticipate future labor-market needs, balance employer demand with human-capital considerations, and build an element of regional variation into selection processes.

Although labor-market change is nothing new, “complacency can be costly,” the authors warn. “[G]lobal competition is unforgiving, and global markets can move quickly to take advantage of policy failures in a particular sector or country.” Immigration policymakers will need to work with public and private stakeholders across sectors if they are to design selection systems with the transparency, consistency, and flexibility to meet both current and future labor-market needs.


Table of Contents 

I. Introduction

II. Selecting for Economic Growth in Changing Labor Markets

A. A Changing World of Work

B. What Are the Implications for Selection Policies?

III. Creating More Forward-Looking Selection Systems: Key Design Choices

A. Anticipating Future Labor-Market Needs

B. Balancing Demand and Human-Capital Considerations

C. Using Immigration to Economically Revitalize Communities

D. Striking the Right Balance between Temporary and Permanent Migration, and “Bridging” Opportunities between the Two

IV. Final Thoughts