Special Report

Countries With The Most Immigrants

Alexander, Thomas C. Frohlich

8. Canada
> Immigrants: 7.3 million
> Pct of population: 20.7%
> GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $42,734
> Gov’t immigration goals: Maintain

Currently, 7.3 million immigrants live in Canada, equivalent to more than 20% of the nation’s total population. As 2011, the Canadian government was one of the few to propose policies that would increase the level of immigration for the purpose of family unification. The level of immigration, more generally, was considered satisfactory in the same year, according to the U.N. In spite of Canada’s exceptionally liberal immigration policies, there has been concern recently over whether Canada’s immigrants are successfully integrating into society. To avoid the potential social tension that could arise from a growing economic difference between immigrants and locals, the Canadian government has restructured its screening process to emphasize factors such as job skills and language fluency.

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7. France
> Immigrants: 7.4 million
> Pct of population: 11.6%
> GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $35,548
> Gov’t immigration goals: Decrease

Just 11.6% or France’s roughly 65 million residents are international migrants. According to the U.N. Population division, while the French government promoted some policies aimed at attracting skilled immigrants as of 2011, the governments overall attitude toward immigration was generally negative. As a member of the European Union, France is obligated to support the free movement of EU nationals between the EU nations. In recent years, however, the European Commission has criticized the French government for expelling Roma, popularly called Gypsies, from the country. France’s existing immigrant population is older, with nearly 20% at least 65 years of age, compared to just 11.1% globally.

6. United Kingdom
> Immigrants: 7.8 million
> Pct of population: 12.4%
> GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $36,941
> Gov’t immigration goals: Decrease

About 7.8 million million immigrants live in the U.K., up from just under 6.5 million as of 2010. This is despite the U.K. government’s view, as of 2011, that the large influx of foreigners to the country was somewhat of a problem. The government’s policies intended to lower the level of immigration to the country, including high-skilled workers immigration. Only one of the world’s eight largest destinations for immigrants, the United Arab Emirates, had a higher average annual increase in immigration that exceeded the U.K.’s 4.0%. Although the country’s aging population may actually signal a necessity for more immigrants, British Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that immigration has strained the nation’s public services.

5. United Arab Emirates
> Immigrants: 7.8 million
> Pct of population: 83.7%
> GDP (PPP) per capita 2012: $49,012
> Gov’t immigration goals: Decrease

A stunning 83.7% of UAE residents are international migrants the most of any country in the world, excluding only Vatican City. Between 2010 and 2013, the emirates let in more than 4.5 million migrant workers, more than any other nation in the world. The UAE is able to attract workers to come there because the country is extremely wealthy, with an economy driven by oil and finance. As of 2012, the nation’s per capita GDP exceeded $49,000, on-par with that of the U.S. But despite the nation’s appeal for immigrants, the UAE’s government as of 2011 considered immigration to be too high. Additionally, the country has been criticized for the poor living and working conditions faced by many migrant workers.