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Jobs for Immigrants (Vol. 3)

Labour Market Integration in Austria, Norway and Switzerland

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When immigrants arrive in a new country, they are confronted with new labour market requirements such as language proficiency, familiarity with job-search procedures and work practices which they are not always able to satisfy. Over time, this expertise can be acquired. In practice however, differences in employment and earnings persist: experience and qualifications obtained abroad may not be fully equivalent to experience and qualifications acquired in the host country or not recognised as such, social capital may be lacking, or discriminatory hiring practices may persist among employers. These obstacles affect not only new immigrants, but, surprisingly, their offspring too.

This publication reviews the labour market integration of immigrants and their offspring in three OECD countries (Austria, Norway and Switzerlands) and provides country-specific recommendations. It also includes a summary chapter highlighting common challenges and policy responses. It is the third and last in a series which has covered eleven OECD countries.

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Key findings

The issues involved in the labour market integration of immigrants are broad and numerous, and so should also be the policy responses. The previous two publications of the “Jobs for Immigrants” series (OECD, 2007 and 2008a) have highlighted a broad range of challenges that need to be tackled in order to achieve the objective of integrating immigrants and their children into the labour markets of OECD countries. The resulting policy recommendations are summarised in Box 0.1, along with examples of good practices from the countries previously reviewed. While these issues are naturally also important for Austria, Norway and Switzerland, a number of additional findings emerged from the three most recent country studies, highlighting new issues and shedding new light on others. This introductory chapter summarises these new findings and their implications for policy.

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