This paper introduces a method and preliminary findings from a database that systematically measures the character and stringency of immigration policies. Based on the selection of that data for nine countries between 1999 and 2008, we challenge the idea that any one country is systematically the most or least restrictive toward admissions. The data also reveal trends toward more complex and, often, more restrictive regulation since the 1990s, as well as differential treatment of groups, such as lower requirements for highly skilled than low-skilled labor migrants. These patterns illustrate the IMPALA data and methods but are also of intrinsic importance to understanding immigration regulation.
The International Migration Review (2016). doi: 10.1111/imre.12169 (early view)