The Wall Street Journal reports: “Government actions to attract foreign nationals for skilled and unskilled jobs have spread from Germany to Japan and include countries with longtime immigration restrictions and some with a populist antipathy to streams of foreign workers.
The U.S. remains an outlier. Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have arrived through back channels, but the country isn’t openly welcoming more legal workers, despite the tight labor market.
Around five million more people moved to affluent countries last year than left them, up 80% from pre-pandemic levels, according to a Wall Street Journal data analysis. [This amounts to about a 0.5% increase on the workforce. In the U.S. the workforce adds about 0.3% due to immigration. In Canada, the annual increase is about 1%.]
The Journal examined 10 countries that received most of the migration, including the U.S., Germany, the U.K., Canada, Australia and Spain. Migration experts say it is the highest number ever reported. That total includes about two million refugees from Ukraine. Even excluding that surge, net migration was significantly higher than 2019 levels, according to the data.
In Europe and North America, the working-age population is expected to decline from 730 million to 680 million over the next two decades, according to United Nations estimates. Such places as South Korea and Taiwan stand to lose more than half their workforce over the coming decades. The working-age population in sub-Saharan Africa, meanwhile, will increase by 700 million by 2050, according to U.N. projections; in Latin America and the Caribbean, the U.N. estimated an increase of 40 million by midcentury.
Paul Papalia, a government minister in Western Australia, said the region desperately needs workers in both public and private sectors to serve the mining industry, which is booming from global demand for battery-powered vehicles that rely on locally mined lithium, cobalt and nickel. Mr. Papalia led a delegation in March to pubs and other spots in the U.K. to try to lure as many as 30,000 British workers with the prospect of better salaries and sunny weather. Nearly 70,000 job seekers expressed interest so far, including 1,100 applications to join the police force, he said.