The children of immigrants continue to face difficulties integrating in OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, in particular the European Union, where poor educational outcomes leave many struggling to find work, according to a new OECD/EU report.
Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2015: Settling In reveals that youth with immigrant parents experience almost 50 percent more unemployment in the European Union than those with native-born parents.
Even with better labour market outcomes than their foreign-born parents, native-born children of immigrants experience more discrimination than someone who has chosen to immigrate. In EU countries, one in five feel discriminated against, something not observed in non-European OECD countries.
“Where your parents were born still has a major impact on your life chances,” said OECD secretary-general Angel Gurría. “Countries are not making enough progress helping immigrants and their children integrate. This is a wake-up call on the need to strengthen integration policies to get the most out of migration, for our economies and societies and for the migrants themselves.”
Both in the EU and OECD, the immigrant population has grown by more than 30 percent since 2000. One in 10 people living in the EU and OECD areas in 2012 was born abroad and one in four young people (15-34) is either foreign-born or the child of an immigrant.
The report shows that low-educated immigrants have higher employment rates than their native born peers but are stuck in low-paid jobs with poor working conditions. Employed immigrants are twice as likely to live in a household with an income below the country’s relative poverty threshold.
More immigrants are becoming high skilled, offering a promising development for future integration outcomes, according to the report. However, one in three immigrants of working age in the OECD and one in four in the EU now holds a tertiary education degree, with most obtaining their highest degree abroad.
In contrast to the low educated, high-skilled immigrants have lower employment rates than their native-born peers in virtually all countries. When employed, they are overqualified more often than their native peers.
This is especially true for those holding foreign qualifications with 42 percent of highly-educated employed immigrants having jobs that would require lower levels of education. This is twice the number of those who hold a qualification from the host country.
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