Immigrant workers are more affected by unemployment
in traditional European immigration countries. Conversely, in South Africa, Hungary,
the United States and Estonia, the unemployment rate depends less on the place of
birth. Some groups, such as young immigrants, women or older immigrants have greater
difficulties in finding jobs.
The unemployment rate is the share of the unemployed
in the total labour force (the sum of employed and unemployed persons). In accordance
with the ILO standards, unemployed persons consist of those persons who report that
they are without work during the reference week, that they are available for work and
that they have taken active steps to find work during the four weeks preceding the
Data for the European countries are from the
European Union Labour Force Survey. Data for Australia are taken from the National
Labour Force Survey; those for Canada from the Canadian Labour Force Survey; and those
for the United States from the Current Population Survey. Even if unemployment levels
can at times be affected by changes in the survey design (this occurred in France in
2004) and by survey implementation problems (e.g. non-response), data on unemployment rates are generally consistent
Data for Brazil, Indonesia and the Russian
Federation refer to 2000; data for South Africa refer to 2007.
In 2009, unemployment rates increased both for
foreign- and native-born persons in most OECD countries. However immigrants in
most European OECD countries were much more affected by unemployment than the
native population. In Ireland, Finland, Estonia, Belgium, Sweden and France, the
unemployment rate of immigrants was above 15%. It was close to 30% in Spain. The
unemployment rate was more than twice the level observed for the native-born
population in Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Luxembourg, Switzerland,
Sweden and Finland. In other countries, especially in the settlement countries
(Australia, Canada, the United States) and in recent immigration countries (Greece
and Portugal), the unemployment rate does not vary much by birth status. In
Indonesia, South Africa and Brazil, the native population was more affected by
unemployment than immigrants.
Recent years have seen some sizable increases in
the unemployment rates of the foreign-born (both men and women) in a number of
countries, such as Spain, Ireland, the United States, Portugal and Luxembourg. At
the same time, labour market conditions have improved for immigrants in the Czech
Republic, Switzerland, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland and Germany.
More than 15% of immigrant women are unemployed
in Finland, Belgium, France, Greece and Germany. The unemployment rate of
immigrant women is at least twice as high as that of native women in Norway,
Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Austria and Denmark. In
all OECD countries with the exception of South Africa, immigrant women have a
higher unemployment rate than native women.