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OECD countries are currently entering what is likely to be a significant period with respect to international migration movements. The effect of the retiring baby‐boom cohorts and of declining youth cohorts is beginning to make itself felt in almost all countries.
There have been significant labour migration movements over the past decade in southern Europe, Ireland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the traditional settlement countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States). Elsewhere,
although long‐term labour migration has tended to be more limited, there are far from negligible contributions to the labour force from family and humanitarian migrants, which together account for more than half of all permanent‐type immigrants in many countries,
as well as from free circulation movements in countries where such regimes exist. While there is a consensus about the desirability of higher skilled migration and, in many countries, concern about costs and risks associated with lower skilled migration, labour shortages
are manifesting themselves in sectors where there are many lesser skilled occupations. The same sectors are appearing as shortage areas across many countries, in particular construction, hotels and restaurants, food processing, agriculture, household services,
cleaning, personal care. Often the jobs involved are low paid and the working conditions unappealing to the domestic work force.