Improving the labour market integration of immigrants

Immigrants make up one fifth of the Belgian working age population, but their labour market integration is poor. Employment rates of non-EU immigrants, in particular, are very low, and the problem extends to their native-born offspring. Further, with more precarious jobs and lower wages, immigrants are heavily exposed to poverty. This is explained by low educational attainment and correspondingly high vulnerability to disincentives to work and relatively high minimum wages, but also by more diffuse handicaps, like discrimination and imperfect knowledge of the languages of Belgium.Improving the labour market performance of immigrants requires a two-fold strategy. First, policies specific to migrants need to be enhanced. To improve job matching, immigrants need more support to develop and validate their human capital, and employers, both public and private, need stronger incentives to hire a more diverse workforce. Second, general reforms to improve the functioning of the economy, desirable in any case, could also have a significant positive impact on immigrants. There is vast scope to reduce labour costs and increase work incentives for low-skilled workers. Also, the education system needs to become more equitable and responsive to the needs of the children of immigrants.

English Also available in: French


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error