Jobs for Immigrants (Vol. 4)

Jobs for Immigrants (Vol. 4)

Labour Market Integration in Italy You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
07 July 2014
Pages :
166
ISBN :
9789264214712 (PDF) ; 9789264214699 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/9789264214712-en

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Until the mid-1990s, the share of migrants in Italy was relatively low in international comparison. With a persistent demand for foreign workers in low-skilled and low-paid jobs, the proximity of conflict areas and the enlargement of the European Union to Romania and Bulgaria in 2007, migration to Italy increased rapidly over the last 15 years. This report presents an overview of the skills and qualifications of immigrants in Italy, their key labour market outcomes in international comparison, and their evolution over time, given the highly segmented Italian labour market and its high share of informal jobs.

It analyses the framework for integration and the main integration policy instruments. Special attention is paid to funding issues and to the distribution of competences between national and sub-national actors. Finally, this report reviews the integration at school and the school-to-work transition of the children of immigrants

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    Foreword and Acknowledgements

    This review of the labour market integration of immigrants and their children in Italy is part of a series conducted by the International Migration Division in the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs (DELSA). Previous countryspecific reports for Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland have been published by the OECD in the series Jobs for Immigrants (Vols. 1, 2 and 3).

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    Acronyms and abbreviations
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    Executive summary

    Italy is among the OECD countries that have experienced the largest flows of immigrants since 2000, both in absolute levels and as a percentage of the total population. While migration consisted initially mainly of low-skilled labour migrants, family reunification has more recently led to a large settled immigrant population, proportionately younger than the native Italian population, and to a growing number of native-born offspring of immigrants.

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    Assessment and recommendations

    With Spain, Italy is the OECD country with the highest annual growth of its legal immigrant population since the beginning of the 2000s. Its location in the middle of the Mediterranean basin and sustained demand for labour in lower-skill occupations has made Italy a major destination for migrants. Between 2001 and 2011, the share of the foreign-born in the total population nearly tripled to 9% of the total population. Immigrants are largely over-represented in the most active age groups (25-44) and overall, they represent nearly 11% of the working-age population (15-64). This share is higher than in Greece and Portugal but remains below the share of most other OECD countries with similar GDP levels.

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    Comparing the characteristics and labour market outcomes of immigrants across countries

    Immigrant employment levels are high in Italy compared with their native peers. This chapter examines factors which nuance the positive interpretation of this indicator. First, the labour market outcomes in Italy are seen in international comparisons, in particular for women. Second, immigrants’ young average age and their underrepresentation among students are examined, to see if they partly drive high immigrant employment levels vis-à-vis their native peers. Third, the chapter looks at regional concentration of immigrants in northern and central regions where labour market conditions are more favourable. Fourth, international comparison of immigrants’ education and skills in Italy is conducted. Finally, the chapter discusses whether immigrants suffered disproportionally from the economic crisis, and the implications for the future sustainability of mostly low-skilled jobs held by immigrants.

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    The framework for integration in Italy

    This chapter presents the evolution of the legislative framework for integration and integration policies in Italy, and the different key actors at the national and sub-national levels. The responsibilities with regard to integration of national and sub-national actors are explored, with a discussion of co-ordination and overlap. Decentralisation and the role of local authorities and third-sector service providers are assessed, in terms of gains from reactivity and flexibility as well as losses from fragmented, clashing, overlapping or incomplete coverage and execution. The chapter examines the planning and implementation nationally and regionally. It also includes a detailed analysis of regional funding for integration and a discussion of difficulties to effectively allocate budgeted resources.

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    The Italian labour market and immigrant integration outcomes

    This chapter examines the links between immigrant integration outcomes and some salient specificities of the Italian labour market: first, due to high regional disparities in labour market performances in Italy, the chapter explores the issue of immigrant mobility, including evidence on whether immigrants are more reactive to adverse labour market conditions than their native peers. Second, some specific groups of migrants have been disproportionally affected by the economic crisis and this trend tends to accelerate. The concentration of immigrants in some of the sectors and occupations hardest hit by the crisis as well as selective return migration of high-educated migrants are explored as possible explanatory factors. The long-term employability of the low-educated migrants who recently arrived is discussed, and evidence of selective lay-offs is presented. Third, immigrants are disproportionally affected by the duality of the Italian labour market. The chapter reviews potential gains from policies aimed at improving the skills of immigrants and enhancing their mobility. Finally, the high incidence of immigrant self-employment in Italy is examined, with policy responses identified.

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    Immigrant integration policies in Italy

    This chapter reviews some important aspects of immigrant integration policies: first, immigrant participation to mainstream active labour market programmes as well as the existence of more targeted programmes are examined. Second, the evolution of language training supply, notably with the introduction of integration contract in 2012, is reviewed, as well as its co-ordination at the regional level. Third, the impact of successive regularisation programmes – through which a large share of migrants to Italy have passed at one time or another – is examined. The extent to which this impact is lowered by the recent economic crisis is considered. The fourth integration policy under review in this chapter is naturalisation criteria which is rather restrictive in Italy in international comparison despite recent amendment affecting native-born foreigners who have been residing continuously in Italy. Finally, the framework for anti-discrimination is evaluated.

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    The integration of immigrant offspring in Italy: An emerging issue

    This chapter evaluates the school and labour market integration of immigrant offspring in international comparison and vis-à-vis the children of natives in Italy. Socio-economic background as well as other factors are explored as possible explanatory factors of their outcomes. Due to the predominance of recent flows, the bulk of immigrant offspring is composed of minor native-born children of immigrants and of young migrants trained in Italy. Immigrant children arrived at the end of mandatory schooling is also a significant group. The impact of their late arrival on their educational and labour market outcomes is considered. The situation of immigrant offspring has not yet received enough attention in terms of national policies. Since growing cohorts of immigrant offspring will soon enter the Italian labour market, it is urgent to set their integration as a top priority. This chapter explores the policies that could best contribute to improve their integration in the Italian educational system and in the labour market.

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      Regional data on immigrant populations and their children
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      Use of CO data in the review

      Random effects models have been applied to CO data (obligatory contributions sent by employers to public employment services) to test the relative wage progression of immigrants since 2009. This kind of model is applied to the analysis of longitudinal data and allows to control for unobserved heterogeneity when this heterogeneity is constant over time and correlated with the independent variables. The main assumption of this model is that the individual specific effects are uncorrelated with the independent variable.

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