Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2015

Settling In

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This joint publication by the OECD and the European Commission presents the first broad international comparison across all EU and OECD countries of the outcomes for immigrants and their children, through 27 indicators organised around five areas: Employment, education and skills, social inclusion, civic engagement and social cohesion (Chapters 5 to 12). Three chapters present detailed contextual information (demographic and immigrant-specific) for immigrants and immigrant households (Chapters 2 to 4). Two special chapters are dedicated to specific groups. The first group is that of young people with an immigrant background, whose outcomes are often seen as the benchmark for the success or failure of integration. The second group are third-country nationals in the European Union, who are the target of EU integration policy.

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Defining characteristics of immigrant populations

Some of the factors that explain the discrepancies in outcomes between immigrants and the native-born spring directly from the migration process itself. The very fact of being born abroad may constitute an obstacle in that, for example, the immigrant may lack the native-born in-depth knowledge of the host society (how the labour market functions, networks, familiarity with public services, etc.). Understanding the constituent elements of the host country takes time, and integration outcomes tend to improve with duration of stay in the country of residence. More generally, structural differences – like the quality of the education system – between the home and host countries can also have an impact on integration. Mastering the language of the host country is especially important for success in the new country of residence.A person’s reason for migrating to another country can also play an important part in determining outcomes, particularly on the labour market. For example, labour migrants usually have a job waiting for them on arrival or land one shortly afterwards. The situation is very different when it comes to family and humanitarian migrants. Immigrants’ countries of birth, particularly if they are lower-income countries where education systems tend to perform less well, also play a role in integration outcomes.This chapter considers those immigrant-specific characteristics for which data are available through comparable sources internationally. They are: the composition of new immigration flows by category (); duration of stay, regions of origin, and citizenship (); immigrants’ language of origin and languages spoken at home ().Throughout the publication, reference will be made to the background information presented in this chapter so as to explain certain disparities with native populations that affect immigrants. For further discussion of issues raised in each section, see the section entitled Data limitations at the end of the chapter.

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