Migration Policy Trends in OECD Countries

33 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2017 Last revised: 16 Jun 2017

See all articles by Marc Helbling

Marc Helbling

University of Mannheim

Dorina Kalkum

Humboldt University of Berlin - Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research

Date Written: June 14, 2017


This article investigates whether migration policies in OECD countries have become more liberal or restrictive over the last decades and whether these policies have con-verged or not especially among EU countries. So far, it has been virtually impossible to trace general trends in migration policies across a large number of countries due to a lack of data. The few existing studies in this field have mostly focused on policy outcome data. Various and sometimes contradicting arguments have therefore largely remained untested. In this paper data from the Immigration Policies in Comparison (IMPIC) project will be analysed. The database includes measures on immigration policies for different fields from 1980-2010 in all OECD states. We find that the conditions and criteria to enter and stay in a country have become more liberal for labour migrants, asylum seekers and people joining their families. At the same time, we however observe that more restrictive control mechanisms are put in place to help monitor whether migration policies are adhered to and to prevent irregular migrants from entering a country. We also find that there is a general convergence trend in the migration policy field that however varies in intensity across policy fields. There are only small differences between EU and non-EU OECD countries and thus hardly any Europeanization effects.

Keywords: Migration Policies, Policy Convergence, European Union

JEL Classification: J68, P16

Suggested Citation

Helbling, Marc and Kalkum, Dorina, Migration Policy Trends in OECD Countries (June 14, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2985960 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2985960

Marc Helbling (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim ( email )

A5, 6
Mannheim, 68159

Dorina Kalkum

Humboldt University of Berlin - Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research ( email )

Mohrenstraße 40-41

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