This top group primarily holds countries that are significant destinations for immigration, with dynamic migrant communities and often with strong state-run programs facilitating integration.
New Zealand, Australia, Luxembourg and the USA all depend economically in some fashion on immigrants. All have sought to attract high-skilled migrants, though the US immigration debate centers on controlling low-skilled, often illegal immigration, and significant prejudice and restrictive state laws are on the rise.
Canada and Luxembourg have strong integration programs offering a speedy path to citizenship. Luxembourg has enabled dual citizenship, quadrupling applications. Both countries have weaknesses in some aspect of immigrant education, however.
Norway’s integration policy is well-organized and well-funded, but complaints about discrimination persist.
In this upper group, active but uneven integration policies have helped immigrants in many areas, but points of weakness remain.
Integration has been a longtime focus in the post-colonial UK, with significant strides made in recent years. Ireland went from a tradition of net emigration to becoming the EU’s largest net destination for migrants, and back again after the financial crisis.
Sweden’s extensive integration policy efforts have had only modest outcomes, while Portugal’s are highly praised despite gaps. Denmark and Iceland are comparatively restrictive for non-EU citizens.
Switzerland’s policy is fragmented and incoherent. Despite some cantonal bright spots, the continued prominence of political anti-immigrant rhetoric is a concern.
All countries in this group show weaknesses in immigrant educational attainment, though Sweden and Denmark are stronger at the secondary level, and Ireland and the UK at the tertiary level. Denmark’s foreign-born employment level has risen, but remains very low in cross-OECD comparison.
This group is largely split between countries lacking developed integration policies, often because they do not view themselves as primary destinations, and those that have had problems integrating significant migrant communities.
France, Germany and Belgium all have comparatively large migrant communities, often of second- or third-generation immigrant families. Despite active policies, the communities remain troublingly isolated, with problems in education and the labor market.
Spain welcomed large increases in migrants during the boom, but has become more skeptical following the crash. Finland has historically been difficult for immigrants, with low education and employment outcomes, but strong gains in the foreign-born employment share make it this criterion’s top SGI 2011 gainer.
In this group, integration policies are typically lacking, either because of public opposition to immigration or a lack of policy interest.
Austria shows the criterion’s most significant decline, with experts noting a vicious cycle: An absence of policy leads to failed integration, which instills a still-more hostile public mood, and thus further reinforces disincentives to policy-making.
A similarly negative political environment in Italy has led to large-scale work by immigrants in the black economy, but their growing economic importance bodes well for future policy improvements.
Integration policy is undeveloped in Turkey and Poland, the latter of which extends support primarily to ethnic Poles.