copy the linklink copied!Chapter 2. Labour market outcomes of migrants and integration policies in OECD countries

This chapter examines the labour market outcomes of migrants during the period 2007-18. Particular attention is given to the evolution of the labour market outcomes of recently arrived migrants and of all immigrants’ job quality in a context of global economic recovery, as well as high recent migration flows, notably humanitarian ones. The second part of this chapter discusses recent changes in integration policies in OECD countries, with a special focus on how migrants integrate into their host country’s labour market.

    

The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

copy the linklink copied!Introduction

The improvement in the labour market situation of immigrants and natives alike was confirmed in 2018. In this favourable employment environment, humanitarian migrants who arrived over the past number of years are progressively entering labour markets. However, the intensity of these flows has been unequal across countries and therefore had contrasting impacts on the overall labour market outcomes of immigrants. The first section of this Chapter puts these recent developments into a longer-term context and looks at the outcomes of immigrants according to their socio economic characteristics. A specific section is dedicated to examining how the quality of immigrants’ jobs has evolved over time. The second part of the Chapter investigates recent developments in policies governing immigrants’ integration into the labour market.

copy the linklink copied!Main findings

  • The evolution of the labour market outcomes of immigrants in 2018 confirmed the positive trends observed in a majority of OECD countries over the last five years. On average across OECD countries, migrants’ unemployment rate decreased from 9.4% to 8.7% between 2017 and 2018 and two thirds of immigrants were employed; +1 percentage point compared to 2017.

  • For the first time in 2018, in the European Union, migrants’ overall unemployment rate was lower than its 2007 pre-crisis level and reached 10.6%, four percentage points more than the native-born. In contrast, immigrants’ labour market outcomes in Australia, Canada and New Zealand were comparable to those of the natives or even more favourable in the case of the United States.

  • Access to employment remained difficult for specific immigrant groups, especially the youth and the low-educated. Women and older people (55-64) experienced the biggest improvement in employment rates. Immigrant women, however, remain systematically discounted in the labour market compared to their native peers and immigrant men.

  • In the European Union in 2018, more than 18% of immigrants aged 15-24 were neither in employment, education or training (NEET) compared to 11% of their native peers. In non-European OECD countries, the incidence of NEET was lower. Improvements are recorded in most countries.

  • In contrast to most other migrant groups, the labour market outcomes of migrants born in the Middle East hardly improved between 2013 and 2018 in the EU. More than one in five migrants from this region was unemployed in 2018, which hardly changed since 2013.

  • Improvements in employment rates of recent migrants have been stronger in countries where rates were already relatively high, such as in Ireland or the United Kingdom. In contrast, no change was observed in countries where their outcomes were initially least favourable, such as in Italy and France, where only around 40% of recent migrants were employed in 2018.

  • Improvements in employment rates were often associated with a higher share of immigrant workers living in poverty. In-work poverty rates were the highest in Southern European countries as well as in the United States. In 2017, in the European Union, around 18% of immigrant workers were poor compared to 8% of their native counterparts.

  • More immigrants, notably women, work part-time and the share of those wishing to work longer hours has generally grown.

  • With the continuous decrease in inflows of asylum seekers and refugees, policy attention has progressively shifted from organising the reception of new arrivals to the creation or refinement of integration policies. Some countries have reinforced resources in local authorities in order to promote newcomer integration.

  • Many countries have taken measures to improve immigrants’ language skills.

  • Civic orientation courses are becoming an increasingly important part of the integration strategy of OECD countries.

  • Several countries have implemented systems for assessing and recognising formal vocational qualifications.

  • The promotion of youth integration, notably in schools, has gained more policy attention. While some countries have focused their attention on securing the residential pathway of unaccompanied minors, some others have targeted families with children more broadly.

  • Monitoring and evaluation is increasingly influencing the design and innovation of integration policy.

  • Naturalisation requirements increasingly emphasise integration outcomes, notably the acquisition of host-country language skills, rather than years of residency.

copy the linklink copied!Recent changes in labour market outcomes of migrants in the OECD area

This section starts with a snapshot of changes in labour market outcomes between 2017 and 2018, and then puts these recent changes into a longer-term perspective over the period 2007-18 to examine whether immigrants have fully recovered from the economic crisis and how their working conditions have evolved. This section will help to answer the following questions: i) How have different immigrant groups benefited from the economic recovery; ii) Are recently arrived migrants better integrated than in the past; iii) Has the increase in employment opportunities contributed to reduce immigrant worker poverty.

Immigrants benefited from the overall improvements in economic conditions in recent years

The evolution of the labour market outcomes of immigrants in 2018 confirmed the positive trends observed in the majority of OECD countries over the last five years. On average, across OECD countries, the migrant unemployment rate dropped from 9.4% to 8.7% between 2017 and 2018 (Table 2.1).

The trend in the migrant employment rate mirrors this positive development. On average, more than two thirds of migrants were employed in 2018 across OECD countries; nearly one percentage point more than the previous year. However, gaps in unemployment and employment rates between the foreign and native-born populations remained unchanged.

Progress in immigrants’ labour market outcomes was particularly marked in the European Union, with an increase in the foreign-born employment rate of 1.6 percentage points to 66% in 2018. The most striking improvements were recorded in Austria, Poland and the Slovak Republic in a context of overall improvement of labour market conditions. In contrast, the situation has deteriorated in Estonia, Hungary and Iceland.

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Table 2.1. Immigrants’ labour market outcomes in OECD countries in 2018

2018

Annual change

Gap with the native-born in 2018

Percentages

Percentage points

Unemployment rate

Employment rate

Unemployment rate

Employment rate

Unemployment rate

Employment rate

Australia

5.5

72.0

-0.4

+1.2

0.1

-3.0

Austria

9.4

68.0

-1.3

+2.5

5.7

-6.4

Belgium

11.5

58.3

-1.8

+1.8

6.8

-7.7

Canada

6.4

72.3

-0.4

-0.4

0.6

-2.0

Chile

7.5

76.9

+1.7

+3.1

-0.8

16.7

Czech Republic

2.5

79.4

-0.5

+1.9

0.2

4.8

Denmark

9.8

66.4

-0.8

+1.4

5.5

-10.6

Estonia

7.9

70.1

+1.4

-1.6

2.7

-5.2

Finland

14.1

62.2

-1.7

+1.9

7.0

-10.6

France

14.6

58.5

-0.8

+1.9

6.3

-7.9

Germany

6.0

69.5

-0.4

+1.4

3.1

-8.1

Greece

28.6

52.8

-1.3

+0.1

10.0

-2.3

Hungary

4.6

71.7

+1.2

-2.0

0.9

2.5

Iceland

5.1

82.5

+2.4

-5.6

2.6

-2.8

Ireland

7.2

70.7

-1.0

+1.7

1.8

2.7

Israel

3.5

78.8

-0.2

-0.1

-0.8

12.1

Italy

13.7

60.9

-0.5

+1.0

3.4

2.8

Korea

4.6

70.9

-

-

-

-

Latvia

7.7

69.0

-0.3

+2.4

0.1

-3.0

Lithuania

7.4

71.1

+0.9

+1.0

1.2

-1.4

Luxembourg

6.4

71.4

-1.5

+0.6

2.0

9.6

Mexico

4.1

51.8

-0.1

-0.4

0.7

-9.7

Netherlands

7.0

64.9

-1.9

+1.9

3.6

-14.3

New Zealand

4.1

77.2

-0.5

+0.8

-0.5

-0.5

Norway

7.9

69.7

-1.2

+0.3

5.0

-6.8

Poland

4.7

73.0

-3.6

+3.1

0.8

5.7

Portugal

8.5

75.1

-1.5

+0.8

1.4

6.0

Slovak Republic

n.r.

73.3

n.r.

+3.5

n.r.

5.7

Slovenia

6.5

67.0

-2.0

+0.7

1.4

-4.6

Spain

20.7

61.6

-2.7

+1.9

6.5

-1.0

Sweden

15.7

66.7

+0.2

+0.4

11.8

-14.1

Switzerland

7.9

76.6

-0.1

+0.7

4.5

-5.3

Turkey

12.1

47.4

-3.3

+1.2

1.0

-4.7

United Kingdom

4.7

73.7

-0.5

+1.2

0.7

-1.2

United States

3.5

71.6

-0.5

+0.7

-0.6

2.4

OECD average

8.7

68.3

-0.7

+0.8

2.9

-2.4

OECD Total

7.1

69.0

-0.7

1.0

1.4

1.9

EU28

10.6

66.0

-1.0

+1.6

4.1

-2.9

Note: Korea: The rates refer to the long-term resident foreign-born population aged 15-59 who is foreign or was naturalised within the last five years; Chile: The rates are for the year 2017 and the evolution presented is for the period 2015-17; "OECD Total" (weighted average) and "OECD average" (simple average) exclude Chile, Korea and Japan.

Source: European countries and Turkey: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); Australia, Canada, Israel; New Zealand: Labour Force Surveys; Chile: Encuesta de Caracterización Socioeconómica Nacional (CASEN); Korea: Survey on Immigrants’ Living Conditions and Labour Force and Economically Active Population Survey of Korean nationals; Mexico: Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo (ENOE); United States: Current Population Surveys.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989665

Outside Europe, immigrants’ labour market outcomes have improved in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Turkey and remained stable in Canada. Chile has experienced a large decrease in immigrant inactivity rates since 2015, which resulted in increases in both unemployment and employment rates. In all these countries (except Turkey), more than 70% of working-age immigrants were employed in 2018.

On average, at the EU level, progress in labour market outcomes benefited both immigrant women and men (Annex Table 2.A.1). In the majority of European countries, however, the improvement has been stronger among immigrant men. Annual changes among non-European OECD countries have generally been lower than one percentage point for both men and women, except among immigrant women in Australia whose employment rate increased by two percentage points and in Mexico where their situation deteriorated in the same proportion.

A longer term perspective on the evolution of employment and unemployment of immigrants since 2007 shows diverging trends

Over the last decade, the immigrant population has increased quite significantly in a number of OECD countries. This is, for example, the case for the European Union, Australia, Canada and the United States. In these countries, the working-age native population has either grown much more slowly (in Australia and the United States) or decreased (in the EU and Canada) (Table 2.2). In the European Union, the number of working-age EU mobile citizens increased much more rapidly than that of migrants born in third countries.

As a result, the total employment of immigrants increased in all OECD countries. In the EU, the number of employed immigrants born in another EU country increased by 80%, while employment of those born outside the EU increased by only 24%. In Australia and Canada, immigrant employment increased by more than 40% since 2007, while in the United States the growth has been more modest, around 16%.

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Table 2.2. Change in employed and working-age populations by place of birth, 2007-18
Percentages

Change over 2007-18

Share of foreign-born in the 15-64 population in 2018

Foreign-born

Native-born

EU28

Working-age population

EU-born

+67.3

4.5

Non-EU born

+22.8

9.1

All

+34.6

-5.0

13.6

Population in employment

EU-born

+79.9

4.8

Non-EU born

+24.3

8.2

All

+40.3

+0.2

13.1

Australia

Working-age population

 

+36.3

+9.3

32.1

Population in employment

 

+43.1

+9.5

31.2

Canada

Working-age population

 

+42.5

-2.3

27.7

Population in employment

 

+45.9

-2.2

27.1

United States

Working-age population

 

+16.4

+3.3

11.1

Population in employment

 

+16.1

+1.7

18.7

Note: The working-age population refers to the population aged 15-64.

Source: European countries: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); Australia, Canada: Labour Force Surveys; United States: Current Population Survey.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989684

In the meantime, OECD countries went through a severe employment crisis in 2007-2008. The average unemployment rate in the OECD area increased from 5.6% to 7.9% between 2007 and 2013, before decreasing to 5.3% in 2018.

Between 2007 and 2013, overall unemployment increased particularly in Southern European countries, as well as in Ireland and the Baltic countries. In more than 15 OECD countries, unemployment rates remained higher in 2018 than in 2007 (Figure 2.1). This is especially the case in Greece, Spain and Italy. Total unemployment rates also remained high in Turkey and France. In contrast, in the other half of OECD countries, unemployment rates were below 5% in 2018 and generally lower or close to their pre-crisis level. This is, for example, the case in the United Kingdom, the United States and the Netherlands.

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Figure 2.1. Unemployment rates in OECD countries
OECD harmonised unemployment rates, 2007, 2013 and 2018
Figure 2.1. Unemployment rates in OECD countries

Source: OECD Short-Term Indicators Database (cut-off date 20 February 2019),

https://doi.org/10.1787/data-00039-en.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989418

Immigrants have been particularly hard hit by the 2007-08 economic recession. In Europe, over the period 2009-14, immigrant unemployment rates remained higher than 15%, five percentage points more than the native-born (Figure 2.2). The rate finally dropped to lower than its pre-crisis level for the first time in 2018. Significant challenges, however, remain in Southern European countries (except Portugal), Sweden, Finland and France, where more than 13% of migrants were unemployed in 2018.

The United States also experienced a severe job crisis in 2007-08, but the gap between natives and immigrants remained small and current unemployment rates are at record-low levels. Even smaller changes were recorded in Australia and Canada.

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Figure 2.2. Unemployment rates by place of birth, 2007-18
Percentages of the active population aged 15-64
Figure 2.2. Unemployment rates by place of birth, 2007-18

Note: The data for the EU28 refer to the first three quarters for the year 2018. The series on non-EU born and EU born exclude Germany.

Source: European countries: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); Australia, Canada: Labour Force Surveys; United States: Current Population Surveys.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989437

The employment recovery did not benefit all immigrant groups to the same extent

Beyond the overall improvement in labour market outcomes of immigrants in most OECD countries, there are some key differences across immigrant groups according to their gender, age, education and regions of origin. This section examines to which extent the overall progress benefited different immigrant sub-groups.

The evolution of employment rates between 2007 and 2018 for immigrants and natives by gender, age and educational attainment in the EU28, Australia, Canada and the United States is shown in Figure 2.3 and Annex Figure 2.A.1. Changes in labour market outcomes of immigrants by educational attainment have been distinguished in the figure. In the European Union, the United States and Canada, employment rates among the low-educated foreign-born have declined between 2007 and 2018. This has been particularly marked in Canada, with a five percentage point drop. At the same time, in Canada, among the highly educated immigrants, there has been a significant increase in employment rates (+3 percentage points). In the European Union, the employment rate in this category has increased by only one percentage point, while it has decreased in the United States by two percentage points.

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Figure 2.3. Change in the employment rate across various demographic groups, 2018 compared to 2007
Percentage points
Figure 2.3. Change in the employment rate across various demographic groups, 2018 compared to 2007

Note: The reference population is the working-age population (15-64). “Low-educated” here refers to less than upper secondary attainment; “Medium-educated” to upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary; “Highly educated” to tertiary. The data for European countries refer to the first three quarters only.

Source: Panel A: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat). Panel B: Current Population Surveys. Panel C: Labour Force Surveys. Panel D: Labour Force Surveys.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989456

In the European Union, women and older people (55-64) experienced the greatest improvement in their employment rates. However, for immigrant women, the increase in employment rates is smaller than among the native-born. The very large increase in employment rates observed for the older immigrants is similar to that of native-born old-age workers (+14 percentage points for both groups). This trend is largely explained by their rising participation in the labour market due to the ongoing population ageing.

In Canada and Australia, the most striking change among immigrant groups was also the increase in the employment rates of older individuals and women. In both countries, immigrant women experienced a larger increase in employment opportunities than native-born women.

In the United States, in 2018, employment outcomes of the foreign-born were roughly comparable to their 2007 level across groups, with the exception of younger individuals, who experienced a decrease of about six percentage points in the employment rate. In the European Union, younger individuals have also suffered a significant decrease in employment opportunities, with a drop of more than six percentage points in their employment rate. Comparatively, their native-born counterparts experienced a much smaller decrease (1.5 percentage points).

Additionally to employment, for younger immigrants it is also important to look at those who are neither in employment, education or training (NEET). Overall, in the European Union more than 18% of immigrants aged 15-24 were neither in employment, education or training, compared to 11% for their native counterparts in 2018. The share of NEET was lower in non-European OECD countries (Figure 2.4) and the gap between natives and foreign-born was smaller than in the EU, except in New Zealand and Mexico.

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Figure 2.4. NEET rates by place of birth in selected OECD countries, 2013 and 2018
Share of the population aged 15-24 that is not in employment, education or training
Figure 2.4. NEET rates by place of birth in selected OECD countries, 2013 and 2018

Note: The data for European countries refer to the first three quarters only. Compulsory military service is excluded from the calculation.

Source: EU28: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); New Zealand, Canada, Israel: Labour Force surveys; Mexico: Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo (ENOE); United States: Current Population Surveys.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989475

Across OECD countries, the share of NEET has been substantially decreasing since 2013, both among the foreign- and the native-born. In the EU, it decreased by 2.1 and 2.6 percentage points, respectively. The reduction in the NEET rates in the United States was even more pronounced (-2.9 and -3.4 percentage points, respectively) while it was relatively modest in Canada.

Figure 2.4 shows that a vast majority of youth not in employment, education or training (NEET), either native or foreign-born, were not looking for a job in 2018. However, this proportion was slightly larger among the foreign-born than the natives, except in Mexico. In the European Union, two-thirds of the 15-24 immigrant NEET population were not looking for a job (against 59% of their native peers) and were more prone to report childcare as the reason. Additionally, two-thirds of them reported not being registered at a public employment office.

For most OECD tertiary educated workers, employment prospects improved. However, the proportion of tertiary educated immigrant workers in low- and medium-skilled jobs remained disproportionally high across OECD countries. Figure 2.5 shows that, with the exception of Switzerland, highly educated immigrant workers are systematically more at risk of being over-qualified than their native peers. Across OECD countries, since 2007, the average gap between foreign- and native-born increased by 1.5 percentage points to 12%. Over-qualification rates have increased the most in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Denmark and decreased substantially in Greece and Spain.

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Figure 2.5. Differences in over-qualification rates between foreign- and native-born workers, 2007 and 2018
Percentage points
Figure 2.5. Differences in over-qualification rates between foreign- and native-born workers, 2007 and 2018

Note: The reference population are persons in employment with a high education level aged 15-64 who are not in education, except in Israel where the calculation includes persons in education. The data for European countries and Turkey refer to the first three quarters only in 2018. The data for Australia refer to the years 2014 and 2017.

Source: European countries: Labour Force Survey (Eurostat); United States: Current Population Survey; Israel: Labour Force Survey.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989608

Mixed progress across regions of birth

Labour market outcomes across immigrants typically vary by regions of origin. Additionally, since 2014, the distribution has changed due to the surge in humanitarian migration.

Reflecting the overall trends in employment, many migrant groups have experienced an improvement in their labour market conditions over the period 2013-18, although not to the same extent (Table 2.3). A notable exception are migrants from the Middle East in the European Union, an important region of origin of humanitarian migrants. In 2018, more than one in five migrants from this region of birth were unemployed in the EU; this proportion has hardly changed since 2013. Previous OECD studies have revealed that refugees’ and other humanitarian migrants’ labour market outcomes are worse than those of other categories of migrants (OECD, 2019[1]). Several factors of vulnerability can be observed. Their overall lower educational attainment compared with other migrant groups hinders their labour market integration (although levels of skills are heterogeneous across countries of birth). In addition, the existence of trauma among many of them as well as the fact that they were forced migrants creates obstacles in their integration process.

Since 2013, the unemployment rate for the North-African-born decreased by more than seven percentage points in the European Union, although around 21% of them were still unemployed in 2018 (Table 2.3). Unemployment rates of migrants from Central and South America also remained relatively high (16%), despite a ten percentage point decrease since 2013. Additionally, the Sub-Saharan African-born as well as intra-EU migrants also experienced a strong reduction in unemployment.

By 2018, in the United States, unemployment rates of all migrant groups were at least twice as low as in 2013; however, evolution of employment varied among the groups. While the employment rate of Canadian-, Asian- and Middle-Eastern-born migrants hardly changed over the period, it increased by around five percentage points among other groups, notably migrants from Mexico and South America.

In Canada, unemployment rates ranged from 3.4% for migrants born in Oceania to nearly 10% among migrants from the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa. In Australia, despite an overall improvement in their labour market conditions since 2013, migrants from North Africa and the Middle East still remained the most disadvantaged group in 2018 with an unemployment rate of nearly 11% – twice the average foreign-born unemployment rate.

Differences in labour market outcomes between immigrants from different regions are informative of the obstacles encountered by these groups. It should, however, also be kept in mind that these immigrants have been living in their destination country for varying lengths of time. For working-age immigrants, duration of stay in the destination country is one of the key determinants of employment status. The economic situation in the destination country at arrival is also a very important predictor of successful integration.

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Table 2.3. Employment and unemployment rates by region of origin in selected OECD countries in 2013 and 2018
Percentages

Employment rate

Unemployment rate

Region of birth

2013

2018

2013

2018

Australia

Other Oceania

75.7

77.2

6.2

5.7

Europe

73.9

77.9

4.5

4.0

North Africa and the Middle East

47.7

50.9

12.1

10.7

Sub-Saharan Africa

74.1

75.6

6.1

6.9

Asia

66.7

69.4

6.4

5.7

Americas

73.7

79.1

5.3

5.0

Foreign-born (total)

69.7

72.0

5.9

5.2

Native-born

73.3

74.9

5.8

5.4

Canada

Sub-Saharan Africa

65.3

69.9

12.3

9.5

North Africa

60.8

69.5

14.8

8.0

Middle East

59.1

61.4

12.0

9.7

Asia

69.4

72.6

8.1

5.7

Europe

74.3

77.3

5.8

5.4

Oceania

79.2

76.4

5.8

3.4

Central and South America and Caribbean

71.8

73.2

8.7

7.0

Other North America

70.8

69.5

6.4

5.1

Foreign-born (total)

69.9

73.8

8.2

5.9

Native-born

73.2

74.4

6.9

5.7

EU countries

EU28 and EFTA

66.2

72.0

13.5

8.3

Other European countries

54.9

62.2

19.7

13.0

North Africa

45.6

50.3

28.9

21.1

Sub-Saharan Africa

58.7

64.9

21.1

14.0

Middle East

50.6

50.2

22.0

22.0

North America

69.1

70.8

6.4

6.9

Central and South America and Caribbean

56.8

64.7

27.2

16.1

Asia

64.3

66.1

10.4

6.9

Other regions

62.6

66.2

11.4

11.2

Foreign-born (total)

60.9

65.0

17.1

12.0

Native-born

64.3

67.4

10.3

7.2

United States

Mexico

66.2

70.9

7.7

3.7

Other Central American countries

73.6

74.9

6.5

3.5

South America and Caribbean

69.0

73.6

8.7

4.1

Canada

73.2

71.3

6.2

2.7

Europe

70.6

75.4

6.2

3.0

Africa

66.9

71.4

9.4

4.5

Asia and the Middle East

68.1

69.2

5.3

3.0

Other regions

63.6

68.8

7.8

4.6

Foreign-born (total)

68.4

71.6

7.0

3.5

Native-born

65.7

69.2

7.7

4.1

Note: The population refers to working-age population (15-64) for the employment rates and to active population aged 15-64 for the unemployment rate. ‘EU countries’ does not include Germany because data by region of birth are not available for this country in 2013. Therefore, results are not comparable to those presented in Table 2.1. The regions of birth could not be made fully comparable across countries of residence because of the way aggregate data provided to the Secretariat are coded. The data for European countries refer to the first three quarters only.

Source: European countries: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); Australia, Canada: Labour Force Surveys; United States: Current Population Surveys.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989703

A special focus on labour market outcomes of settled and recently arrived migrants

In the last decade, the share of recent immigrants – arrived in the previous five years – in the working-age immigrant population in OECD countries has fluctuated in response to the economic crisis and to the large humanitarian inflows in 2014-16. In the years preceding the global economic crisis, several OECD countries, especially in Southern Europe, had experienced robust economic growth and relatively large inflows of economic migrants. As a result, in 2007, the share of recent immigrants had reached about 20% in the EU28, and much higher levels in countries such as Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom or Italy (Figure 2.6). The economic downturn led many of these recent migrants to return home and discouraged many others from emigrating in the first place.

By 2013, when unemployment reached a peak in the EU, the share of recent migrants had decreased in most EU countries. This was particularly striking in Ireland, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Portugal. For the EU28 as a whole, in 2013, the share of recent migrants was only 15%. In 2018, the share of recent immigrants in the working-age foreign-born population was 18%.

In non-European countries, such as the United States and Australia, changes were less remarkable. The share of recently-arrived migrants has remained stable in the United States since 2013 at around 13%. It has slightly increased in Australia but represented only 7% of the total immigrant population in 2018.

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Figure 2.6. Share of recent migrants in the working-age immigrant population in 2007, 2013 and 2018
Figure 2.6. Share of recent migrants in the working-age immigrant population in 2007, 2013 and 2018

Note: Recent migrants have arrived over the five years prior to the survey date.

Source: European countries and Turkey: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); Australia, Israel, New Zealand: Labour Force surveys; United States: Current Population Surveys.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989627

Since 2007, the education distribution of the working-age recently-arrived migrant population (arrived within the previous five years) has changed markedly (Figure 2.7). The share of tertiary-educated in this group has increased by 14 percentage points in the EU and by 24 percentage points in the United States. Another striking feature is the increase in the share of those born in the Middle East among recent migrants in the EU, from 2% in 2007 to 8% in 2018 (13% including German data for which the regional distribution of the immigrant population is not available prior to 2018). In the United States, immigrants from South America and the Caribbean have seen their share in the recent migrant stock increase from 15 to 21%, and those from Asia (including the Middle East) from 26 to 40%. On the other hand, the share of Mexican-born decreased sharply from 32 to 12% of all newcomers.

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Figure 2.7. Demographic characteristics of recent migrants in selected OECD countries, 2007 and 2018
Percentages, 15-64 population
Figure 2.7. Demographic characteristics of recent migrants in selected OECD countries, 2007 and 2018

Source: EU28: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); United States: Current Population Surveys.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989646

The employment rate of recent migrants has fluctuated widely in many EU countries as well as in the United States between 2007 and 2018 and variations have generally been more pronounced than among settled migrants. In the EU, the employment rate of non-EU born recently arrived migrants has been decreasing continuously until 2014 and increased moderately afterwards (Figure 2.8). This is not the case for EU-born recent migrants whose employment rate has been increasing continuously since 2012. In 2018, 75% of them were employed, a higher proportion than in 2007. In the United States, employment rates of recently arrived migrants declined until 2010 and were mostly stable since, showing some signs of improvement more recently.

Improvements in employment rates of recent migrants have been stronger in countries where rates were already relatively high, such as in Ireland or in the United Kingdom, and to a lesser extent in the United States. In contrast, recent migrants’ employment rates have hardly changed in countries where their situation was least favourable in 2013. This was the case in Italy and France, where only around 40% of recent migrants were employed in 2018, but also in Sweden and the Netherlands where their rates stagnated at around 50% (Figure 2.9).

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Figure 2.8. Recent migrant employment rates in the European Union and the United States, 2007-18
Figure 2.8. Recent migrant employment rates in the European Union and the United States, 2007-18

Note: Recent migrants have arrived over the five past years prior to the survey date. Since public German data do not allow distinguishing immigrants born in other EU countries from those born in a third country prior to 2018, Germany is not included in the EU average.

Source: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); United States: Current Population Survey.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989494

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Figure 2.9. Immigrants’ employment rates by duration of stay, 2007, 2013 and 2018
Figure 2.9. Immigrants’ employment rates by duration of stay, 2007, 2013 and 2018

Note: Recent migrants arrived in the country over the last five years prior to the survey date.

Source: European countries: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); Australia: Surveys on recent immigrants (aged 15 and above); Canada, New Zealand: Labour Force Surveys; United States: Current Population Surveys.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989513

In countries such as Germany, Sweden and Austria that have experienced large flows of humanitarian migrants over the past five years, the employment rate of recently-arrived migrants hardly changed compared to that of the cohort that entered over the 2008-13 period. The favourable economic situation, but also the additional efforts made to integrate newly arrived migrants may have contributed to limit the deterioration of recent migrant labour market outcomes in these countries.

Higher employment rates are often associated with higher in-work poverty

Despite overall improvement in labour market conditions in the recent years, the proportion of immigrant workers living below the poverty threshold has increased in many EU countries, and generally at a stronger pace than for natives.

In 2017, in the European Union, around 18% of immigrant workers aged 18 to 64 years old were poor compared to 8% of their native counterparts (Figure 2.10). The difference between the native-born and immigrants has increased from about six percentage points to almost ten percentage points in the last ten years. The increase in the poverty rate of immigrant workers has been particularly strong in Spain and Italy, where about 30% of foreign-born workers were poor in 2017-18. Poverty rates of immigrant workers in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands also increased at a fast pace in the last ten years, although did not reach the same levels as in Southern Europe.

In some European countries, such as Belgium, France, Norway and Sweden, and the United States, the share of immigrant workers below the poverty line increased between 2007 and 2013 before decreasing somewhat between 2013 and 2017-18. Finally, in the United Kingdom, there was a modest decline in the poverty rate of immigrant workers during the whole period of 2007-17, while their native-born counterparts experienced an increasing risk of poverty.

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Figure 2.10. Poverty rates of workers by place of birth in selected OECD countries, 2007, 2013 and 2017-18
Figure 2.10. Poverty rates of workers by place of birth in selected OECD countries, 2007, 2013 and 2017-18

Note: The poverty rate used here is the share of workers living below the poverty threshold as defined by Eurostat (60% of the median equivalised disposable household income in each country).

Sources: European countries: Eurostat dataset (population aged 18-64) [ilc_iw16] extracted on 10 July 2019; United States: Current Population Survey (population aged 15-64).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989532

The large concentration of immigrant workers in low-skilled jobs is one of the main drivers of in-work poverty. Across the OECD, nearly one in five immigrant workers held a low-skilled job in 2017, compared to one in ten native workers (OECD, 2019[2]). These shares remained stable over the decade. In Korea, the United States, as well as in Southern European countries (except Portugal), shares and gaps with the employed natives were the largest (OECD/EU, 2018[3]). Immigrant women were even more likely to be employed in low-skilled jobs.

Working conditions (hours worked, type of contract, etc.) also contribute to determine wages and household income. OECD studies have shown that immigrants’ working conditions have tended to deteriorate over the past years (OECD/EU, 2018[3]). In particular, in a majority of OECD countries, more immigrants (notably women) work part-time (Figure 2.11) and the share of those wishing to work longer hours has generally grown. While no significant change in the share of temporary contracts has been observed in the past decade in the OECD area, this share has increased significantly in a number of countries such as France, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Italy.

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Figure 2.11. Change in the share of women working part-time between 2007 and 2016
Percentage points, 15-64
Figure 2.11. Change in the share of women working part-time between 2007 and 2016

Sources: OECD/EU (2018), Settling In 2018: Indicators of Immigrant Integration, OECD Publishing, Paris/EU, Brussels, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264307216-en.OECD/EU 2019.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989551

copy the linklink copied!Recent changes in integration policies in OECD countries

The high inflows of asylum seekers and refugees are now several years behind us in most countries. Policy attention continued to shift from organising the reception of new arrivals to the refinement of integration policies, guaranteeing resources are efficiently used in the context of an important demand and public attention, and to addressing the needs of all vulnerable groups, whether they come from humanitarian flows or not. This section provides an update on recent integration policy changes in OECD countries as well as in Bulgaria, Romania and the Russian Federation.

Early intervention remains the key concern for successful integration of newcomers

Countries continue to create integration programmes to structure early integration activities

Throughout 2017-18 and into early 2019, several OECD countries have adopted new structured early integration strategies or significant reforms of previous ones. In this period, new programmes or strategies were introduced for instance in Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland. The Norwegian government presented a new integration strategy at the end of 2018. This resulted in a revision of the Introduction Act, with the aim of improving outcomes and increasing access to introduction courses. The strategy focuses on four areas: education and qualification; work; everyday integration; and the right to a free life, free from negative social control. In March 2018, the Dutch government launched the “Integral Migration Agenda”, which defines a number of long-term policy goals and emphasises the need for coordination between different stakeholders. In addition to migration policy goals, the Agenda stresses reinforcing efforts for integration, particularly at early stages.

In Belgium, the integration programme in the German-speaking Community became mandatory in 2018 for most adult foreign nationals registered at a municipality of the German-speaking Community with a residence permit valid for more than three months.

In Poland, since 2018-19, all foreign residents are entitled to comprehensive integration support. Support is available throughout Poland under two- or three-year projects implemented by provincial governors in co-operation with NGOs, with co-funding from the European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. As of 2018, holders of a permit granting labour market access are also eligible for an allocation to cover school-related expenses for their children and, since 2019, this group of migrants is also eligible for housing allocations under the “Flat for Start” programme.

Colombia also presented a new strategy in November 2018 to address the major inflow of Venezuelans. The strategy aims at meeting newcomers’ basic needs, which includes health services, education and early childhood support, labour market measures, as well as housing support and security measures. The budget is planned to be around USD 120 million for the time period 2019-21, with the majority of the funding channelled through the Colombian Family Welfare Institute.

Where introduction programmes have existed for some time, countries are restructuring services

In most countries where introduction programmes have been in place for several years, new developments aim to increase effectiveness and improve the organisation and the co-ordination of these measures.

The new coalition agreement of March 2018 in Germany comprises a number of measures on integration, including a view of improving coordination between the federal, Länder and municipal levels. Among the objectives, one is to better orient the integration courses to target groups and to tailor them more according to participants’ skills. Additionally, those who are not expected to leave Germany in the short term should benefit from language learning and employment offers. Further measures are planned with respect to improving labour market integration for persons whose deportation has already been suspended for many years.

France adopted a new law on asylum and immigration during the summer of 2018 that, among other objectives, intends to make integration policy more effective. To achieve this goal, the government plans to enhance social and administrative support (health, social rights, training, etc.) from 2019, to help newcomers during the first months after obtaining refugee status. Moreover, the law triples the funds for the HOPE programme (accommodation, orientation, career path to employment), which offers eight months of language training and apprenticeship opportunities in sectors such as construction. It also aims to provide 20 000 additional housing units for refugees by the end of the year, set up specific shelters for vulnerable refugee women and facilitate the management of post-traumatic syndrome.

To cope with the recent large inflows of asylum seekers, funding to the municipalities and county councils receiving the larger number of asylum seekers and newly arrived migrants has increased in Sweden in 2017/18. It also increased resources to the social partners that work on ‘fast-tracks’, for newly arrived refugees, with education, training or work experience in occupations for which there is high labour demand.

Canada has also taken measures to address the recent rise in asylum seekers by increasing funding for temporary housing in the cities and provinces under pressure.

The growing importance of integration also figures in Switzerland, where it is now possible to link granting of a residence permit to signature of an integration agreement. This integration agreement becomes binding; non-fulfilment on the side of the migrant can be sanctioned (for instance by downgrading an unlimited residence permit to a renewable permit).

Belgium approved a new plan in March 2018 aimed at reducing the number of reception places for applicants for international protection. The reception network would hence return to its “structural” capacity, of before the high influx of applicants for international protection in 2015/16. Other changes that came into force regarded the asylum procedure, discouraging asylum seekers from applying for asylum a second time.

Language training remains a primary focus of integration…

Language barriers play an important role in migrant integration. Many countries have taken measures to improve migrants’ language skills, including Germany, France, Belgium, Poland, Norway, Greece and Estonia. For example, the new German coalition agreement intends to intensify German language training, in Germany and abroad. This includes, for example, vocational training programmes with integrated language learning, especially in the long-term care sector.

In France, since 2019, the standard duration of language training has doubled from 200 to 400 hours maximum. Moreover, 600 hours of classes are foreseen for migrants who cannot read or write (about 3 500 people involved), and childcare is foreseen to facilitate attendance of parents. It is now mandatory to pass A1 level in the Common European Reference Framework (CEF) for Languages to obtain a ‘certificate of civic integration’ and/or a long-term/permanent residence permit in France. Similar measures exist in Austria, Belgium (the Flemish Region) and in the Czech Republic. In the same vein, in Austria, Estonia and France, B1 level has to be successfully completed in order to acquire citizenship. Lastly, since 2018, in Switzerland, naturalisation requires knowledge of the Swiss national language to a minimum spoken level of B1 and written level of A2.

In July 2018, principles for a new language policy were approved in Belgium (“Language policy in the framework of a horizontal integration policy”). The underlying principles of this new policy are that language is a key factor to participation and participation is crucial for language development. Furthermore, learning languages is a social process, which requires interaction, motivation, a safe learning environment, an active role of the person learning and a meaningful context.

In Poland, an amended Act on Foreigners entered into force in February 2018. It makes immigrants’ access to permanent residence provisional on Polish language knowledge (level B1 or an appropriate graduation certificate). Children under 16, beneficiaries of international protection, victims of human trafficking and foreigners of Polish descent are nevertheless exempt. In addition, since 2018, all foreign residents can benefit from free language and adaptation courses for both adults and children enrolled in Polish schools. Further measures include intercultural training for Polish teachers and social service employees, as well as integration events. Moreover, holders of a permit granting labour market access are now eligible for an allocation to cover school-related expenses for their children.

Several Scandinavian countries also took measures to reinforce the language component by making it a mandatory aspect of their integration policy. In Norway, language training for asylum seekers in reception centres has become mandatory as of September 2018. Asylum seekers are required to attend 175 hours of training in Norwegian language. The municipality is now obliged to provide such training – while this was voluntary before. Sweden also introduced mandatory language training for asylum seekers. The Swedish government has also decided to provide SEK 100 million (EUR 9.3 million) per year for the education of teachers who will teach Swedish to immigrants. This amount will, for instance, allow teachers to receive 80% of their salary during leave of absence for studies related to Swedish as a second language.

In Greece, the Ministry of Migration Policy announced new language and cultural education training programmes for refugees. The strategy aims to reach 10 000 refugees a year; children will undertake fast-track language courses to ensure a smoother transition into formal education.

An amendment to the Citizenship Act entered into force early 2019 in Estonia, providing free Estonian language training classes to adults who want to apply for Estonian citizenship, provided they have been legally residing in Estonia for at least five years and meet all terms for applying for citizenship. These language classes can include compensated study leave from work. Persons who have acquired an education in the Estonian language are not required to take the language examination and persons aged 65 or older take only the oral part of the language examination.

…while countries place increasing emphasis on improving the quality of language courses

Alongside efforts to improve access to language training, OECD countries have tried to enhance its quality as well. As of March 2018, the coalition agreement adopted by the German government, for example, foresees to improve the quality of language courses (the so-called Integration Courses) through better targeting to different groups. At the same time, reinforced sanctions in case of non-participation will be imposed. Additionally, to support language learning, additional incentives and help will be offered. Orientation and integration courses will also include digital offers.

In January 2018, to tackle difficulties in employing teachers in regional and remote areas, Australia improved access to language training for adult migrants (Adult Migrant English Program – AMEP), by broadening the accepted qualifications to become an AMEP teacher. In the same vein, the Agency for Integration and Civic Integration in Belgium launched a new pilot in 2018, which aims at engaging social interpreters and translators ‘in training’ at local administrations and organisations.

In the Netherlands, public authorities are working on regulating the use of interpreters and on improving the quality of interpreting. Norway is working on a new Interpretation Act, which will regulate the use of interpreters in the public sector and clarify responsibilities to provide guidance and information in this regard. Sweden initiated a government inquiry into interpreters, with the aim of improving access to training for interpreters and making their use more efficient. Furthermore, the French new asylum law puts a specific focus on improving language training, with smaller, more homogeneous classes and more modern teaching tools.

Civic integration aims to enhance social cohesion

Civic orientation courses are becoming an increasingly important part of the integration strategy of OECD countries. These courses intend to provide migrants with knowledge about the host country, its history, functioning and values, with the aim to promote social cohesion and help new arrivals adapt and live autonomously. Several OECD countries implemented new measures to facilitate civic integration and societal integration at large. Latvia and Lithuania, for example, established regional centres for migrants, providing information and counselling on public services and support measures. Germany rolled out a model project of orientation courses in the origin-country language in the new AnkER centres for asylum seekers in 2018. These courses focus on German culture and next steps in the asylum process. Likewise, Norway amended the scope of the introduction activities to include asylum seekers. Since June 2018, the municipalities must now also provide courses not only on Norwegian language, but also on culture and values, to asylum seekers who live in asylum reception centres.

Belgium and the Netherlands also implemented new civic integration policies. In 2018, the government of Flanders approved the draft of a modified Integration and Civic Integration Decree. The proposed changes make more flexible civic integration programmes possible (e.g. combination with work or training). Moreover, the Flemish community, the French Community Commission and the Common Community Commission reached a first agreement on Civic Integration in Brussels, which will come into force in 2020. Following this date, newcomers in Brussels from non-EEA countries will be obliged to follow the civic integration programme that is currently optional. They will be able to choose between programmes offered by the Flemish or the French community. In Flanders and Wallonia, the civic integration programme is already obligatory for third country newcomers and optional for EU newcomers.

Major changes to the civic integration system will also take place in 2019 in the Netherlands. The government aims to put municipalities, rather than migrants themselves, in charge of arranging the civic integration courses. The new system aims at providing a tailor-made approach for each newcomer. Families with children and unaccompanied minors have now both a right and an obligation to participate in introduction courses. Municipalities are also expected to finance courses based on funds from the central government, to monitor course quality and to determine personal integration plans with each migrant. The Netherlands also raised the level of language proficiency required to pass the civic integration exam from A2 to B1.

Finally, a reform of the French Republican Integration Contract (CIR), adopted in 2018 for newly-arrived immigrants obtaining a residence permit, strengthened the civic integration component. France extended the duration of this component from 12 to 24 hours and the training is spread over several sessions, instead of concentrating at the beginning of the course. For participants with poor command of French, the focus is put on content of the Republican Pact (Republic values, secularism, equality between women and men), and the training is more adapted with external speakers and visits. Other related measures include doubling the workshops for parents at school to increase the chances for success of their children (10 000 parent beneficiaries in 2019), extending the scholarship on social criteria to young people benefiting from subsidiary protection and the attribution of a culture voucher of EUR 500 to young foreigners in a regular situation.

Early labour market integration remains high on the policy agenda

In the past years, many OECD countries implemented measures to reduce obstacles in hiring migrants, as labour market integration remains a key dimension for migrants to acquire a sense of belonging in their host society. In February 2018, Ireland implemented a new right for asylum seekers to work, by abandoning previous provisions of the International Protection Act 2015, which prohibited labour market access for international protection applicants.

Moreover, since the end of 2017, the Estonian unemployment fund offers the service “My first employment in Estonia”, which targets both asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection. Employers may receive wage subsidies if they employ beneficiaries of international protection. In addition, certain costs are compensated (translation service costs, costs for Estonian language training or vocational training) and a reward for mentoring was introduced in early 2018.

Efforts to support the labour market integration of beneficiaries of international protection continued in Bulgaria as well. Among the new measures of the 2018 programme are special recruitment sessions for beneficiaries of international protection organised by the National Employment Agency (NEA), and incentives for employers to hire refugees. However, beneficiaries must be registered with the NEA.

To facilitate early introduction into the labour market, Switzerland initiated a new programme of “pre-apprenticeships” for refugees and provisionally admitted persons. By mid-2018, the Confederation concluded agreements with 18 Cantons and the first apprenticeships started in August 2018. Cantons obtain CHF 13 000 per apprenticeship contract and year, for up to 3 600 individuals during the four year duration of the programme. On 1 January 2019, facilitations in the access to the labour market for refugees and those provisionally admitted also came into force. They can now to take up employment after a simple reporting to the labour market authorities.

Finally, the new French law on asylum and immigration also contains measures to promote labour market integration. The packet of measures includes notably a mobilisation of business networks to facilitate matching of jobseekers and job offers, tailored to their skills; professional language training adapted to the labour needs of each region; and a reduction from nine to six months for the period before which asylum seekers can access the labour market.

Assessment of skills and recognition of formal qualifications continues to develop

In the vein of tailoring integration policy to the needs and circumstances of the individual migrant, effective integration policies must build upon migrants’ existing skills and experiences in order to help them recognise, develop, and use their qualifications and skills. Skills assessment plays a major role in this context. It also helps to reduce employer uncertainty reagarding migrants’ skills.

Norway plans to expand recognition of vocational skills to new programmes and countries. As it tends to be difficult to find appropriate bridging courses for licensed occupations, a new project was set up in August 2018 aiming to provide bridging classes to refugees with a science or technology education (engineers) to make them more attractive to employers. Such bridging courses are useful for migrants to quickly fill their skill gaps and obtain full recognition to ease their labour market integration (OECD, 2017[4]).

Other countries also took measures to facilitate the recognition of professional titles, as in Germany or Chile. The legislative draft on skilled labour migration adopted by the German government in December 2018 proposed to speed up recognition procedures of foreign qualifications and make administrative procedures more efficient and transparent. The draft of this law still needs to pass parliament and, if adopted, could enter into force in early 2020. The new migration policy in Chile also aims at facilitating the recognition process of professional titles. Professional degrees obtained in other countries can now be validated by all accredited universities under certain circumstances. In addition, if a university has already validated a professional degree in the past, it will now serve to accelerate future applications for the same professional degree.

In order to help migrants recognise, develop, and use their skills in a tailored and individualised fashion, informally-acquired skills also need to be taken into consideration. In France, the law on asylum and immigration includes some facilitations regarding the assessment and validation of informally-acquired skills of newcomers. To this end, it provides 1 000 places for the validation of acquired experience (VAE).

Measures are increasingly targeted at the most vulnerable groups, such as youth…

Even though many of the policy initiatives outlined in this Chapter have been introduced in response to the large inflow of asylum seekers and refugees in 2015-16, other groups are increasingly in the focus, such as those with very low skills or young children (in particular those who are unaccompanied).

In Australia, the Youth Transition Support services (a range of settlement services for young humanitarian entrants and other young vulnerable migrants) were further extended to December 2019. Norway also implemented additional legislative regulations for the most vulnerable migrants. For example, accompanied minors between 16 and 18 years old can now obtain a residence permit without a time limitation if immigration authorities request it. Moreover, unaccompanied minors who had previously received a time-limited permit can now have their cases reconsidered. In addition, since September 2018, families with children, and unaccompanied minor asylum seekers without documented identity in Norway, also have the right and obligation to participate in courses in Norwegian language and social studies. Furthermore, Canada developed a dedicated integration innovation programme to support vulnerable migrant youth.

…and migrant women

Despite the acknowledged additional difficulties migrant women face compared to migrant men in terms of labour market opportunities, policy initiatives targeted at migrant women remained scarce. However, the intergenerational and long-lasting impact of having migrant women at the margins of the labour market and society has incentivised countries to tackle the specific barriers they face to integrate.

To improve the labour market attachment and career advancement of women, Canada implemented a visible minority women pilot. The pilot will benefit from more than CAD 31.8 million (EUR 21.7 million) over three years. Moreover, to reduce employment disparities, the Danish Ministry for Immigration and Integration announced in October 2018 that DKK 140 million (EUR 18.8 million) over four years had been set aside to increase immigrant women’s employment, including those who have resided in Denmark for many years already. The funds aim to support municipalities in providing eligible women with training, contact persons and mentors. The Netherlands also implemented targeted measures.

Increasing the employment of foreign-born women is a priority for integration policy in Sweden. The Public Employment Service drafted an action plan aimed at reducing unemployment among foreign-born women. The government has also introduced support to municipalities to offer newly arrived migrants on parental leave language and introduction courses with childcare. In addition, the government proposed changes to parental insurance that particularly concern parents who come to Sweden with their children.

Like in Sweden and Canada, integration of immigrant women is also a high priority for Germany. The German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees finances integration courses targeted at migrant women. The programme is continuously adjusted to better respond to women’s needs. Further measures include the programme “Stark Im Beruf” (“Strong at work”) - funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) and the European Social Fund (ESF). This programme aims to promote better integration of mothers with a migration background into the labour market and to facilitate the access to existing offers. Since February 2015, “Stark Im Beruf” implemented around 90 projects across Germany to support such mothers, by helping them improve their language abilities, get their skills and qualifications assessed and recognised, and accompanying them from vocational orientation via an internship, an apprenticeship or an additional qualification up to the first employment.

Promoting integration of children at school is a growing priority in many countries

Over the course of 2018, a number of OECD countries introduced measures to improve the integration of children of immigrants. The Australian government, for example, committed more than AUD 500 million over the next four years to the Inclusion Support Programme (ISP). This programme aims to increase access and participation in childcare for children with additional needs, among whom children of immigrants are overrepresented. Moreover, Polish comprehensive integration support starting in 2018-19 includes a focus on children enrolled in Polish schools. In addition, holders of a permit granting labour market access are now eligible for an allocation to cover school related expenses for their children. Denmark has reinforced integration efforts aimed at young children with a plan proposed by the Danish Ministry of Economic and Interior Affairs in March 2018. Among the measures proposed are mandatory day care, language classes before entering school, and strengthening incentives for parents through facilitated parental leave as well as a potential withdrawal of child allowances.

Belgium re-launched its Strategic Plan on Literacy in September 2018. The revised plan puts particular focus on actions to enhance the participation of 2.5 to 5 year olds in school, with special attention dedicated to children and parents with a migrant background. There is also a new project for role models in secondary schools. In Bulgaria, new regulations were also adopted focusing on access to education and ensuring enrolment in compulsory education of unaccompanied minors and children of asylum seekers and refugees.

In the United States, the Office for Refugees Resettlement launched in 2018 a new youth mentoring initiative to support the educational and vocational improvement of youth, and to promote their civic and social cohesion. This Youth Mentoring Programme provides interaction between refugee youth and committed mentors, as well as individualised educational and vocational support.

Anti-discrimination and diversity policies remain a major tool to foster integration

Throughout 2018, a number of OECD countries either adopted new or enhanced existing measures to fight discrimination. Norway implemented a new and comprehensive Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act in January 2018. Among other outcomes, this established a new Anti-Discrimination Tribunal to handle complaints. In Slovenia, the Cross-border Provision of Services Act, which entered into force in January 2018, provided new provisions to protect against labour market discrimination. In Belgium, a royal decree foresees the implementation of positive actions in the private sector. For example, employers can now reserve internships or jobs for specific disadvantaged groups. Anti-discrimination policies also target the housing market. The Minister of Housing in Belgium has for example launched an Action Plan against discrimination on the private housing market.

Local authorities play a stronger role

The recent increase of new arrivals with particular integration needs have exposed shortcomings – including but not only in relation to capacity – in the integration frameworks. Since integration issues arise mainly locally, local authorities had to find solutions to these challenges, at least initially.

The Canadian authorities continue the promotion of migration to regional Canada and rural areas. To support this, in 2017, Canada launched the Atlantic Immigration Pilot to increase immigration to the four Atlantic Provinces in order to address demographic challenges, fill labour gaps, and support economic growth. A distinguishing feature of the pilot was the increased role of integration through employers, in partnership with federal and provincial immigrant settlement service provider organisations, in the settlement and retention of newcomers. Employers are required to develop a settlement plan for each migrant and his/her family. Building on these experiences, a “Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot” was announced in January 2019. This new pilot, initially set up for five years, involves communities and selected provincial and territorial governments. Participating communities gain access to a range of support to help newcomers settle in as part of the local community. The pilot aims at testing new, community-driven approaches to address the labour market needs of smaller communities and to ensure that more migrants settle and stay there. This initiative targets selected communities in Ontario, Western Canada, and the Territories.

Other OECD countries also increasingly emphasise the importance of local integration. The Slovak government for instance adopted the Strategy on the Labour Mobility of Aliens in October 2018, which aims at promoting the integration of immigrants at the local level to fill local shortages. Municipalities also play an important role in the new Dutch integration policy.

Monitoring and evaluation is increasingly influencing the design and innovation of integration policy

To better react to changing demand for integration services, OECD countries developed new tools with respect to monitoring and evaluation. Belgium and Ireland, for example, recently released new survey results about participation of migrants and attitudes to migration. At the same time, Belgium is developing a set of indicators and trying to improve data collection. Similarly, as part of the new coalition agreement, Germany is planning to implement integration monitoring. Korea is also conducting a research project on indicators and the Netherlands are currently expanding the scope of their integration indicators.

Canada is working on three major activities that should improve measurement of the Settlement Programme’s impact. It will link the settlement database to immigration, census, tax and labour market datasets to help attribute outcomes to settlement services; conducting large annual surveys comparing users and non-users of services (60 000 people); and creating a dedicated outcomes analysis team within the department. Canada completed an evaluation of the pre-arrival settlement services, and a language training evaluation is currently being conducted to find quantifiable outcomes and determine the best delivery model.

Countries have followed divergent trends regarding the support and social protection available to newcomers

Following political changes, some OECD countries have decided to restrict access to benefits to migrants. In January 2019, a new law was implemented in Austria, adapting family benefits to a value commensurate with purchasing power of the source country for EU-citizens working in Austria. Moreover, in November 2018, a new law passed to reform the means-tested minimum income scheme. The amount is lower for applicants who have not completed compulsory schooling in Austria, and have neither intermediate German (B1) nor advanced English language skills (C1). The reform also adjusts benefits granted per child, in most cases reducing the benefits for the second and more significantly from the third child onwards.

In March 2018, the Danish Ministry of Economic and Interior Affairs published a plan with a wide range of measures to dismantle so-called immigrant “ghettos” by 2030. The plan foresees physical changes to residential areas identified as “ghettos” and restrictions regarding mobility, notably regarding benefit recipients planning to move to such areas. Proposed measures include a potential withdrawal of child allowances.

At the same time, other OECD countries have extended access to social protection programmes among groups previously ineligible. In Chile, for example, the Immigration Bill of law submitted to the National Congress in April 2018 guarantees rights to access health care and education services to every migrant on the same grounds as nationals, independent of migration category. If adopted, a minimum of two years of residence are required for admission into the general social security system and thereby for being eligible for social benefits. In addition, in Norway in 2018, in order to help ensure that all immigrants receive the services to which they are entitled, NOK 20 million has been allocated for outreach to immigrant families who do not use kindergarten for their children.

The essential integration role for citizenship

Access to the host-country nationality is an important instrument of integration policy. It has potentially significant consequences for immigrants’ integration in many areas such as the labour market, housing, language, civic participation in elections, etc.

Naturalisation requirements increasingly emphasise integration outcomes rather than years of residency

Over the course of 2018, the trend of emphasising integration results rather than years of residency as the key requirement for accessing host-country citizenship continued. Countries have tended to focus less on years spent in the country, for example by reducing the length of legal residence to apply for naturalisation – especially when the length of stay requirements were long – while requiring proof of certain indicators of integration, notably proficiency in the host country language or civic integration.

In Portugal, access to citizenship is now possible after only five years rather than six which was previously the case. Likewise, in Switzerland, the new Federal Law Concerning the Acquisition and Loss of Swiss Nationality, which entered into force in January 2018, reduced the length of stay required to obtain citizenship from 12 to 10 years. Years of residence between the ages of 8 and 18 are counted as double; previously, this applied to years of residence between the ages of 10 and 20. Residence on an “F” provisional permit receives half-credit and short-term and asylum-application permits do not count.

In parallel, countries strengthened the importance of language in the naturalisation process. For example, in Estonia, an amendment to the Citizenship Act that is in force since early 2019 reinforced the role of language proficiency to acquire the Estonian citizenship. In Italy, where applying for citizenship by residence or marriage is now possible after four, rather than two years, the applicant must demonstrate an Italian language proficiency of B1 level in the CEF. An intermediate level (B1) is now also required in Poland in order for migrants to access citizenship. The minimum threshold in one of the four national languages in Switzerland is B1-level oral skills and A2-level written skills. Discussions to introduce new language requirements are also ongoing in Australia.

Likewise, civic integration is becoming increasingly important for naturalisation. Australia’s ongoing citizenship reforms for example enhance requirements for applicants to demonstrate their contribution to the Australian community and pledge their commitment to Australian values and allegiance to the country. Similarly, in Switzerland, candidates for naturalisation must either be employed or in educational training and not on social assistance programmes. They must be knowledgeable about Switzerland, participate in social and cultural activities and have contacts with Swiss citizens. Applicants with dependents must be able to support them. In Denmark, a law took effect in 2019 that stipulates a mandatory handshake be part of the procedure of acquiring Danish citizenship. Thus, the certificate of naturalisation is bestowed only after a handshake is performed during the ceremony.

OECD countries continue to facilitate naturalisation for specific groups…

The Slovak Republic simplified the general administrative procedure for naturalisations in 2018. Other countries facilitate the procedure with a focus on specific groups, such as children of immigrants. In Portugal, children born to non-Portuguese parents and to foreigners living in Portugal now automatically receive Portuguese citizenship if at least one of the parents has been living in Portugal legally for the two years preceding the birth, instead of five years as previously required. Romania also facilitated access to citizenship for children of immigrants. A reform of the Law on Bulgarian Citizenship is currently under discussion with the aim of easing access to citizenship for ethnic Bulgarians as a means to counteract demographic decline. There is also an ongoing trend towards simplification of the naturalisation procedure for specific groups and enhancing outreach. In Canada, Citizenship Judges are now asked to actively encourage citizenship acquisition amongst newcomers, notably by reaching out to not-for-profit organisations. In Slovenia, an amendment to the Citizenship Act allows the acquisition of the Slovenian citizenship for persons whose naturalisation is of a particular interest to the state (extraordinary naturalisation).

In December 2018, the Russian Federation adopted a new law to simplify the procedure for granting Russian citizenship for selected categories of foreigners. It also extended the President’s power to grant citizenship to foreigners living in countries with armed conflicts or a change of political regime.

The new Swiss citizenship act provides for facilitations for persons born in Switzerland to Swiss-born foreigners. Access to citizenship is also facilitated to descendants of immigrants in Luxembourg, and to the Windrush generation in the United Kingdom (that is, certain people of British African-Caribbean descent who live in the United Kingdom).

…while the fight against terrorism is also finding an echo in naturalisation policy

In the context of combatting terrorism, countries are continuing to discuss and implement citizenship withdrawal for nationals with dual citizenship. A new possibility to withdraw citizenship of nationals with a second citizenship who have participated in a terrorist organisation has for instance been introduced in the Netherlands. In January 2019, in Norway, one response to radicalisation and violent extremism has been an amendment of the Norwegian Nationality Act. It introduces rules on loss of citizenship for dual citizens convicted of an offence seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the state. The decision to deprive citizenship is made by the court as part of the criminal case.

References

[2] OECD (2019), OECD Employment Outlook 2019: The Future of Work, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9ee00155-en.

[1] OECD (2019), Ready to Help?: Improving Resilience of Integration Systems for Refugees and other Vulnerable Migrants, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264311312-en.

[4] OECD (2017), Making Integration Work: Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications, Making Integration Work, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264278271-en.

[3] OECD/EU (2018), Settling In 2018: Indicators of Immigrant Integration, OECD Publishing, Paris/European Union, Brussels, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264307216-en.

copy the linklink copied!Annex 2.A. Supplementary tables and figures
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Annex Table 2.A.1. Labour market outcomes of foreign-born in OECD countries by gender, 2018 compared to 2017
Percentages

Total

Men

Women

Unemploy-ment rate

Employment rate

Participation rate

Unemploy-ment rate

Employment rate

Participation rate

Unemploy-ment rate

Employment rate

Participation rate

Australia

5.5

72.0

76.2

4.7

79.9

83.8

6.5

64.3

68.8

Austria

9.4

68.0

75.1

9.6

75.3

83.3

9.2

61.2

67.4

Belgium

11.5

58.3

65.9

12.4

65.7

74.9

10.5

51.3

57.4

Canada

6.4

72.3

77.3

6.0

78.4

83.4

6.7

66.6

71.4

Czech Republic

2.5

79.4

81.4

1.8

88.1

89.8

3.4

70.0

72.5

Denmark

9.8

66.4

73.6

9.0

72.6

79.7

10.7

60.4

67.7

Estonia

7.9

70.1

76.1

7.9

74.1

80.4

7.9

66.5

72.2

Finland

14.1

62.2

72.4

11.9

70.0

79.5

16.6

54.9

65.8

France

14.6

58.5

68.5

13.8

67.9

78.7

15.6

50.3

59.6

Germany

6.0

69.5

73.9

6.6

76.7

82.1

5.1

61.8

65.2

Greece

28.6

52.8

73.9

22.9

67.9

88.1

35.2

40.4

62.3

Hungary

4.6

71.7

75.2

4.3

78.6

82.2

4.9

64.8

68.2

Iceland

5.1

82.5

87.0

n.r.

87.1

91.8

n.r.

78.0

82.2

Ireland

7.2

70.7

76.2

6.4

78.4

83.7

8.2

63.3

68.9

Israel

3.5

78.8

81.6

3.8

80.8

84.0

3.2

77.0

79.6

Italy

13.7

60.9

70.6

11.9

73.9

83.8

15.8

50.2

59.6

Latvia

7.7

69.0

74.8

7.1

75.4

81.2

8.2

64.0

69.6

Lithuania

7.4

71.1

76.8

8.0

73.6

80.0

6.9

68.9

74.0

Luxembourg

6.4

71.4

76.3

5.9

75.4

80.2

7.0

67.2

72.3

Mexico

4.1

51.8

54.1

4.2

66.8

69.7

4.1

36.7

38.3

Netherlands

7.0

64.9

69.8

6.1

73.5

78.3

7.9

57.5

62.5

New Zealand

4.1

77.2

80.5

3.7

83.9

87.2

4.5

70.8

74.1

Norway

7.9

69.7

75.6

7.5

74.1

80.1

8.3

65.1

71.0

Poland

4.7

73.0

76.6

4.2

78.7

82.2

5.4

66.4

70.2

Portugal

8.5

75.1

82.1

6.9

79.7

85.6

10.0

71.3

79.2

Slovak Republic

n.r.

73.3

78.9

n.r.

91.2

93.4

n.r.

56.1

65.1

Slovenia

6.5

67.0

71.7

4.6

75.6

79.3

8.9

58.0

63.7

Spain

20.7

61.6

77.6

19.1

68.5

84.6

22.3

55.6

71.6

Sweden

15.7

66.7

79.1

15.4

70.5

83.3

16.0

63.0

75.0

Switzerland

7.9

76.6

83.1

7.0

83.8

90.1

8.9

69.3

76.1

Turkey

12.1

47.4

53.9

11.1

68.5

77.1

14.3

27.9

32.6

United Kingdom

4.7

73.7

77.3

3.9

82.6

86.0

5.6

65.5

69.4

United States

3.5

71.6

74.2

3.0

82.8

85.4

4.2

60.7

63.3

OECD average

8.7

68.3

74.8

7.8

76.4

82.8

9.7

60.8

67.2

OECD Total

7.1

69.0

74.3

6.4

78.4

83.8

7.9

60.0

65.1

EU28

10.6

66.0

73.8

9.9

74.4

82.6

11.4

58.2

65.7

Note: A blue (grey) shading means an increase (decline) in the participation or employment of more than 1 percentage point or a decline (increase) in the unemployment rate of more than 1 percentage point. n.r.: not reliable. “OECD Total” refers to the weighted average and “OECD average” to the simple average of the countries presented excluding Chile, Japan, and Korea.

Source: European countries and Turkey: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand: Labour Force surveys; Mexico: Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo (ENOE); United States: Current Population Surveys.

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Annex Figure 2.A.1. Employment rates by place of birth, 2007-18
Percentages
Annex Figure 2.A.1. Employment rates by place of birth, 2007-18Annex Figure 2.A.1. Employment rates by place of birth, 2007-18

Note: The data refer to the working-age population (15-64). There is a break in the EU28 series in 2008/09 (introduction of the data on Malta).

Source: European countries and Turkey: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand: Labour Force surveys; Chile: Encuesta de Caracterización Socioeconómica Nacional (CASEN); Mexico: Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo (ENOE); United States: Current Population Surveys.

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Annex Figure 2.A.2. Unemployment rates of foreign-born and unemployment rate differences between foreign- and native-born, 2013 and 2018
Annex Figure 2.A.2. Unemployment rates of foreign-born and unemployment rate differences between foreign- and native-born, 2013 and 2018

Note: The population refers to the active population, aged 15-64. The data for European countries refer to the first three quarters only. The data for Chile are for the year 2017 instead of 2018.

Source: European countries and Turkey: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); Australia, Canada, Israel: Labour Force surveys; Chile: Encuesta de Caracterización Socioeconómica Nacional (CASEN); Mexico: Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo (ENOE); United States: Current Population Surveys.

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Annex Table 2.A.2. Quarterly employment rates by place of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2014-18
Percentage of the population aged 15-64
Annex Table 2.A.2. Quarterly employment rates by place of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2014-18
Annex Table 2.A.2. Quarterly employment rates by place of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2014-18
Annex Table 2.A.2. Quarterly employment rates by place of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2014-18

Note: Data are not adjusted for seasonal variations. Comparisons should therefore be made for the same quarters of each year, and not for successive quarters within a given year.

Source: European countries and Turkey: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand: Labour Force surveys; Chile: Encuesta de Caracterización Socioeconómica Nacional (CASEN); Mexico: Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo (ENOE); United States: Current Population Surveys.

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Annex Table 2.A.3. Quarterly unemployment rates by place of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2014-18
Percentage of the active population aged 15-64
Annex Table 2.A.3. Quarterly unemployment rates by place of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2014-18
Annex Table 2.A.3. Quarterly unemployment rates by place of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2014-18
Annex Table 2.A.3. Quarterly unemployment rates by place of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2014-18

Note: Data are not adjusted for seasonal variations. Comparisons should therefore be made for the same quarters of each year, and not for successive quarters within a given year.

Source: European countries and Turkey: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand: Labour Force surveys; Chile: Encuesta de Caracterización Socioeconómica Nacional (CASEN); Mexico: Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo (ENOE); United States: Current Population Surveys.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989760

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Annex Table 2.A.4. Quarterly participation rates by place of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2014-18
Percentage of the population aged 15-64
Annex Table 2.A.4. Quarterly participation rates by place of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2014-18
Annex Table 2.A.4. Quarterly participation rates by place of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2014-18
Annex Table 2.A.4. Quarterly participation rates by place of birth and gender in OECD countries, 2014-18

Note: Data are not adjusted for seasonal variations. Comparisons should therefore be made for the same quarters of each year, and not for successive quarters within a given year.

Source: European countries and Turkey: Labour Force Surveys (Eurostat); Australia, Canada, Israel, New Zealand: Labour Force surveys; Chile: Encuesta de Caracterización Socioeconómica Nacional (CASEN); Mexico: Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo (ENOE); United States: Current Population Surveys.

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888933989779

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Chapter 2. Labour market outcomes of migrants and integration policies in OECD countries