Special Report

You Don't Want to Work Abroad in These Wealthy Countries

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6. Chile
> Foreign-born unemployment rate: 5.8%
> Foreign-born participation rate: 78.4%
> GNI per capita: $24,190
> Population: 18.7 million

As in many OECD nations, one factor that may deter foreign workers from migrating to Chile may be anti-immigrant sentiment associated with a recent spike in immigration. According to a survey by the National Institute of Human Rights, 68% of Chileans want to restrict immigration, and nearly half believe that immigrants take jobs from locals.

One of the most targeted groups are immigrants from Haiti. Haitians make up the sixth-largest foreign-born population in Chile, after Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Argentina. Reports of anti-Haitian sentiment have risen in conjunction with an influx of Haitian immigrants. In November 2018, the Chilean government began offering Haitians a free one-way ticket back to Haiti, flying two plane loads of Haitian immigrants home.

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5. Italy
> Foreign-born unemployment rate: 13.7%
> Foreign-born participation rate: 70.6%
> GNI per capita: $42,020
> Population: 60.4 million

One factor deterring potential migrants from Italy may be the lack of quality job opportunities for foreign-born workers. While 10.3% of native-born Italians are unemployed, 13.7% of the foreign-born labor force in Italy are — one of the larger disparities of any OECD country. Additionally, while 40.1% of native-born workers are employed in high-skilled positions such as managers, professionals, and technicians, just 13.6% of foreign-born workers are — the largest disparity of any OECD country other than Greece.

Italy also grants fewer foreign work permits per capita than any other European Union nation. According to a report by the Italian think tank Leone Moressa Foundation, Italy issued 0.23 permits to immigrants for every 1,000 existing residents in 2018, a fraction of the EU average of 2.24.

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4. Israel
> Foreign-born unemployment rate: 3.5%
> Foreign-born participation rate: 81.6%
> GNI per capita: $39,830
> Population: 8.9 million

In 2016, Israel immigration authorities introduced stricter criteria for obtaining work permits. Permit recipients must now earn at least twice the average salary in Israel, and are required to receive their salary in an Israeli bank account, when the job does not require academic certification. Also, foreign workers employed in jobs that do not require academic certification are not permitted to request permits for their dependent family members.

In addition to the difficult immigration process, potential workers may be deterred from the lack of high-skilled jobs for foreign nationals in Israel. While 41.6% of native-born workers in Israel work in low- to medium-skilled jobs, 51.5% of foreign-born workers do. This represents one of the largest disparities of any OECD nation.

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3. Greece
> Foreign-born unemployment rate: 28.6%
> Foreign-born participation rate: 73.9%
> GNI per capita: $29,410
> Population: 10.7 million

In a report measuring quality of life, inclusiveness, and other pull factors for immigrants, Greece ranks as one of the least attractive countries for foreign workers in the OECD. One factor deterring potential migrants from Greece may be the lack of advanced job opportunities for foreign workers. While 31.6% of native-born workers in Greece are employed in high-skilled occupations, just 9.7% of foreign-born workers are — the largest disparity of any OECD nation. Additionally, while 18.6% of the native-born labor force is unemployed, 28.6% of the foreign-born labor force is — each the largest such share of any OECD country, and one of the largest disparities.

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2. Mexico
> Foreign-born unemployment rate: 4.1%
> Foreign-born participation rate: 54.1%
> GNI per capita: $19,360
> Population: 126.2 million

Mexico is one of the most restrictive countries in the OECD for foreign workers. Under the Federal Labour Law, businesses are required to keep foreign workers to less than 10% of their total workforce. Heavy restrictions may deter some potential immigrants from seeking work in Mexico. Foreign individuals currently constitute just 0.5% of the working-age population in Mexico, the smallest share of any OECD nation.

Despite the heavy restrictions, foreign workers earn more on average than native workers in Mexico. According to data from the International Labour Organization, the average worker born outside the country earns 8,896 pesos ($460) per month, 2,591 pesos ($135) more than the average native-born worker.

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1. Turkey
> Foreign-born unemployment rate: 12.1%
> Foreign-born participation rate: 53.9%
> GNI per capita: $27,470
> Population: 82.3 million

While restrictions on foreign work permits in Turkey have loosened in recent years, the country still has some of the strictest immigration policies of any OECD country. In most sectors, for example, Turkish businesses are required to employ five Turkish citizens for every foreign-born resident. Additionally, refugees cannot exceed 10% of a company’s workforce.

Turkey also has a history of worker’s rights abuses for low-skilled workers. Due to these abuses, which included the murders and arrests of several union leaders in 2018, Turkey ranked as one of the 10 worst countries on the International Trade Union Confederation’s Global RIghts Index. Currently, some 21.1% of foreign-born workers in Turkey are employed in low-skilled industries, more than the 14.4% share for native-born workers and one of the largest shares of any OECD nation.

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