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Towards a harmonization of European Statistics on International Migration


  • Xavier Thierry


The immigration and emigration statistics of the different European Union countries are difficult to compare. Each has its own definition of an international migrant, sometimes including asylum seekers and students, for example, and sometimes not. The minimum length of stay also varies, ranging for just a few days in Germany and Spain to one year in the United Kingdom and Sweden. The data sources differ likewise. Countries with population registers rely mainly on this source, while those with no register make use of other tools, such as border surveys in the United Kingdom, administrative records of medical examinations or of residence permits in France. To improve the comparability of statistics, the European Union has issued a regulation recommending that countries count all migrants whose length of stay is at least one year, whatever their reason for admission.

Suggested Citation

  • Xavier Thierry, 2008. "Towards a harmonization of European Statistics on International Migration," Population and Societies 442, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
  • Handle: RePEc:idg:posoce:442

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