Information on Immigration in 17 Countries

Gao ID: GGD-79-15 January 12, 1979

GAO reviewed the U.S. immigration policies and trends of people from 17 countries. Sixteen of those countries provided the requested information. The data provided are incorporated in a summary appendix for each country. Information was provided by each countries' representatives familiar with local immigration, policies, and trends. The data gathering methods differed for each country, making comparisons difficult. Due to time constraints, no analyses or conclusions are included in this report. Generalizations, however, have been provided concerning students, refugees, workers, and people requesting permanent citizenship. The problems that each country has in these situations are also generalized. In most cases, alien visitors may not obtain employment in the countries they visit, nor are they eligible for government services. Some governments allow students to work at jobs related to their studies. Australia encourages aliens with specific skills to enter the country and stay for extended periods. Common Market countries allow full access to guest workers. The treatment of refugees ranges from indifference in Thailand to Canada, where refugees are given financial help and employment counseling. Persons requesting permanent resident status usually must complete a trial period. The number of resident aliens permitted to enter countries is closely monitored. The problems that each country faces are aliens entering countries illegally and those who enter the countries legally but violate the conditions of their stay.

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