Jobs for Immigrants (Vol. 2)

Jobs for Immigrants (Vol. 2)

Labour Market Integration in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Portugal You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
03 Nov 2008
Pages :
334
ISBN :
9789264055605 (PDF) ; 9789264036178 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/9789264055605-en

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When immigrants arrive in a new country, they are confronted with new labour market requirements such as language proficiency, familiarity with job search procedures and work practices which they are not always able to satisfy. These obstacles affect not only new immigrants, but, surprisingly, their children too, even if the children are born and educated in the receiving country. This publication presents reviews of the labour market integration of immigrants and their children in four OECD countries (Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Portugal), and provides country-specific recommendations. Governments have a role to play in promoting language and vocational training, and encouraging diversity in the workplace. Immigrants themselves must accept the requirements of the host country employers. The viability of future migration policies, in particular greater recourse to immigration, will depend to a large extent on how successful OECD countries and immigrants are in achieving these objectives.

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    Summary of the main findings on the labour market integration of immigrants and their children
    This introductory chapter summarises some of the key themes covered and lessons learned in the second round of OECD reviews on the labour market integration of immigrants and their children. The topics below have emerged as common themes in the four countries covered, in addition to those that were already highlighted in the first summary publication (OECD, 2007a).
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    The labour market integration of immigrants and their children in Belgium
    Immigration to Belgium is characterised by a significant heterogeneity regarding the origin and distribution of the immigrant population and their labour market outcomes. With more than 12% foreign-born in the population, Belgium has one of the larger immigrant communities in Europe. Belgium is a country with a long immigration history with successive migration waves of immigrants coming for different reasons and from different countries. Until the early post-war period, immigration was work-related, with immigrants mainly coming from the neighbouring countries and from Italy. Over the following decades, inflows gradually shifted to a more diverse set of origin countries, and towards family and humanitarian migration.
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    The labour market integration of immigrants and their children in France
    The issue of labour market integration of immigrants in France evokes immediately the incidents of autumn 2005, which saw clashes between police and young persons of immigrant background and widespread burning of automobiles and damage to property, in areas with high concentrations of immigrants. The image conveyed in media outside of France about these events is often one of failed integration, of rootless youth with inadequate education and without employment. However, as was pointed out by numerous observers at the time, in many cases the persons involved in these incidents were not immigrants, but rather the offspring of immigrants, many of them born and educated in France and holding French citizenship. The classical economic view of integration (Chiswick, 1978) in which immigrants lacking country-specific human capital (especially language) acquire it over time and see their labour market outcomes converge to those of the native-born does not seem particularly relevant in this context.
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    The labour market integration of immigrants and their children in the Netherlands
    The labour market integration of immigrants and their children has long been a topical issue in the Netherlands. This is partly attributable to the fact that sizeable immigration to the Netherlands is not a new phenomenon – already in 1972, about 10% of the population were either immigrants or had at least one foreign-born parent.
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    The labour market integration of immigrants and their children in Portugal
    The Portuguese situation with respect to the labour market integration of immigrants differs quite significantly from that of the other countries which have been under review thus far (Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and Sweden).
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