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Settling In: OECD Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2012

image of Settling In: OECD Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2012

This publication highlights how immigrants and their children are integrating into OECD societies, judging their progress against key indicators. Many areas are considered (material living conditions, health, education, labour market, civic engagement) as integration is a multi-dimensional issue. Measures of outcomes, as well as of progress made over the past decade, are presented in comparison with outcomes of a reference group (the population born in the country of residence). Three series of questions are addressed: 1) To what extent does the average performance of immigrants differ from that of the native-born?; 2) Can these differences be explained by structural effects (different distributions by age, educational level, etc.)?; 3) How has integration record evolved over the past decade?

An introductory chapter provides a detailed description of the populations under review (foreign-born persons and households, as well as native-born offspring of immigrants). The final chapter gives an overview on discrimination issues, as this is one possible source of persistent disadvantages of immigrants and their children.  

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Labour market outcomes

Employment provides the main source of income for most migrants. However, integrating immigrants and their offspring into the labour market is not only important from an economic perspective, but also has implications for integration in society as a whole, such as finding housing, learning the host country language and making contacts with the native-born population. However, it does not necessarily guarantee social integration.Labour migrants tend always to be better positioned in the labour market than migrants who arrive for family or humanitarian reasons. Over time, migrants progressively acquire the specific human capital they need to succeed in the host country labour market. The most important component of this host country specific human capital is the host country language, although other factors such as knowledge about the functioning of the labour market and access to networks are also essential. Participation in the labour market is also strongly driven by socio-demographic characteristics, in particular gender, education and age. Men have on average a higher employment rate than women, and higher education eases integration in the labour market for both genders. Likewise, the highest labour market participation is reached between 25 and 54. Native-born offspring of immigrants do not face problems related to their human capital transferability to the host country as they are raised and educated in this country and speak its language. Labour market opportunities for native-born offspring of immigrants should therefore be equivalent to those of offspring of native-born parents with comparable socio-demographic characteristics. However, in many OECD countries, this is not the case, since networks and specific knowledge about the functioning of the labour market in the destination country does not always exist in families where both parents are foreign-born. Moreover, discrimination in hiring procedures may occur.In this chapter, three indicators are presented: employment (Indicator) and unemployment rates (Indicator 6.2) as well as the share of the NEET group (Indicator). For a discussion on these indicators, refer to the section Measurement at the end of this chapter.

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