(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) PARIS, June 20 (KUNA) -- Migration flows to the industrialized nations of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) declined in 2017 for the first time in six years, dropping to 5.0 million migrants from 5.3 million in 2016, the OECD said in a report on "International Migration Outlook" published Wednesday.
The drop was attributed largely to a decline in humanitarian asylum applications, which fell to 1.2 million last year from 1.6 million a year earlier.
More importantly, the report noted that there has been "a very large increase" in applications for asylum in the United States, where demand rose by 26 percent in 2017.
In addition, demands for asylum in Australia rose 29 percent and the increase in demands in Canada rose a huge 112 percent.
Overall, Europe only accounts now for about half of asylum requests which illustrates the current upward trend for asylum applications in the US, Canada and Australia.
The report indicated that the 35 OECD industrialized countries currently host 6.4 million refugees, with more than half of that number located in Turkey, coming principally from Syria.
The leading countries for asylum seekers are Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, the report revealed.
While the report assessed positively the progress in integrating migrants from a language and qualification recognition point of view, the OECD called for better cooperation with employers of migrants and also "more and better coordination among recipient countries to deal with migration flows, especially in the European Union." There are sharp policy differences between the 27 EU member countries and some have completely shut the door on migration in violation of agreed policy in Brussels.
The report also remarked that despite fears among public opinion, the impact of migrants on local labor markets is generally minimal, although in Austria and Germany it could have a stronger impact on the labor market and job seekers.
Steps need to be reinforced to prevent hiring of immigrants in illegal or "irregular" situations, the report stressed.
Overall, in 2017, 67.1 percent of migrants in the OECD were employed, up 1.0 percent over the previous year.
The report also noted an increase in temporary migration and seasonal work, which rose 11 percent in the 2016-2017 period, reaching 4.2 million temporary workers in the industrialized zone. (end) jk,msa