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Immigration Policy in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States: An Overview of Recent Trend

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Immigration policies in most host nations of the west have undergone
significant changes in recent years. Based on the four country-specific
papers that appear during this section of the journal, and also on our own
research, we present an summary of those changes and their context.
In all countries, economic considerations play a central role in shaping
immigration policy and greater importance is given to scientific
research. Several common policy changes are noted in Australia,
Canada and New Zealand which include: a shift faraway from a person’s
capital focus toward more targeted selection supported market
demand for specific skills, increased emphasis on temporary foreign
worker programs, attraction of international students, an overhauling
of the refugee system, and regionalization of immigration. In the
U.S., while adoption of a number of these changes has often surfaced in
public policy and academic discussions, legalization of unauthorized
migrants remains a crucial policy debate, with recent arguments
focusing on the economic benefits of legalization.

RECENT TENDENCIES IN NATIONAL IMMIGRATION
POLICIES
Over the past fifteen years, immigration policy in the countries under
review has become more sensitive to economic outcomes. Importance is
given to documenting the economic impacts of immigration and formulating policy accordingly. Since the mid-1990s, the Australian, Canadian,
and New Zealand governments have invested resources in developing
immigrant databases such as the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to
Australia (LSIA), Longitudinal Immigrant Survey of New Zealand (LisNZ), and Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC) that have
enabled policy-oriented research on economic and social outcomes of
immigrants.3 In the U.S., the American Community Survey (ACS) provides an important database to facilitate research related to economic and
social outcomes of immigration.

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