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 Versión Español | October 2015


New OAS-OECD Report: International Migration in the Americas

Migration has become one of the central themes in the hemispheric political agenda, given its complexity and international nature. To identify the main trends of migration flows in the Americas, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published the report “International Migration in the Americas” (SICREMI 2015), which seeks to contribute to the formulation of public policies based on evidence, leading to the improved management of migration in the region.

The report is based on the Continuous Reporting System on International Migration in the Americas (SICREMI), which since 2009 has become a unique source of information on migratory flows to and from countries of the Americas. SICREMI uses data from various sources - censuses, surveys, administrative records, among others - to analyze the magnitude, trends and characteristics of international migration in the countries participating in the report.

This Third Report highlights regional migration trends for the 2010 and 2013 period, highlighting topics of interest, such as the feminization of migration; asylum and refuge; settlement or return; the labor market situation of migrants from the Americas to Europe and the United States; over-qualification of migrants and remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Among its findings, SICREMI 2015 reports that between 2010 and 2013, intraregional migration - within Latin America and the Caribbean - increased by 17% and if it continues growing at the same rate, would double in the next four years. It is estimated that in 2013, 1 in 4 immigrants in the Americas settled in Latin America and the Caribbean, while 2 out of 4 immigrants opted for more traditional destinations like the United States or Canada.

Natashia ArredondoIntraregional migration: Natashia Arredondo, a Colombian-US American, lived in Colombia until she was 19 years old, when she migrated to the United States to pursue undergraduate studies. After completing her degree, she moved to Panama seeking better working conditions. Natashia obtained work and residence permits through one of the latest waves of the “Crisol Razas” regularization program, and worked in Panama for two years as the General Manager of a company recycling electronic materials. In 2014 Natashia migrated once again to Mexico, where she opened a branch of the Panamanian company. Currently, Natashia lives with her husband and son in the Federal District, and is open to the possibility of emigrating yet again. 


The report also notes that rates of over-qualification of immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean are 15 to 20 points higher than those of local citizens. That is, compared to the host country, immigrants from the Americas tend to reduce their employment prospects if they are unable to find jobs commensurate with their skills, and accept, if only temporarily, lower paying jobs that require inferior levels of competency.

Alicia QuinteroOver-qualification of Migrants: Alicia Quintero, 55 years old, is an industrial engineer with a Masters in Business Administration. For many years, Alicia worked at Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), until the oil strike of 2002-2003 when she lost her job. Since then, Alicia failed to find work in her field, which is why in 2006, she began the process of acquiring a skilled-worker visa in Canada. Currently, she is in Canada working in a customer service company. Despite being overqualified for the job, Alicia feels that her living conditions have improved in comparison to her country of origin.


A section of the report features summaries per participating country, which highlights developments in public policy, provides an update on migration policy frameworks, as well as major indicators of migratory movements, the migrant population and the employment of migrants. 20 member states of the OAS participated in the SICREMI 2015 Report: Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, United States and Uruguay.

Migration is a major issue for the OAS given that public policies in one country affect citizens from other countries, thus its discussion and management necessarily requires bilateral and multilateral considerations to guarantee the rights of migrants. "We should remind everyone that human rights are the central issue of all debates on migrants and migratory policies. All migrants, in virtue of their human dignity, are protected by international human rights law, without discrimination, in equality with citizens, regardless of their administrative situation or condition," stressed the Secretary General of the Organization, Luis Almagro, during the launch of the publication on 28 August.

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