Labour Market Mobility

To find a job, not all foreign residents with the right to work have equal access to the full labour market, education system or employment services. For instance, only nationals and EU nationals in Europe enjoy equal opportunities in the public sector and better procedures to recognise their non-EU degrees. Most immigrants can use public employment offices. Targeted support is the major area of weakness in most countries. Rarely are these general services able to address specific needs, especially for migrant women and youths. Once migrants find jobs, they should enjoy the same working conditions and access to unions as nationals. These workers, who pay full taxes, are excluded from parts of the social security system.

Immigrants have better access and targeted support in the established countries of immigration. Likewise, the countries that restrict access are not usually the ones that try to take advantage of immigrants’ specific skills. As exceptions to these trends, BE, FR, and LU are wasting the economic potential of many of their non-EU residents by providing targeted support but closing many sectors to them. Countries recently dependent on migrant workers (CZ, IT, ES, PT) may treat them equally as workers, but often ignore the specific challenges of the foreign-born. EE and RO emerge as the only Central European countries that are at least slightly prepared for their future migration needs.

Best Case Add to MyPdf 

This is a composite of national policies found in May 2010 in at least one of the 31 countries.

A migrant with the right to work and live in the country has the same chances as everyone else in the labour market. From day one in the country, she and her family members can start applying for any job in the private or public sector. She gets her qualifications from abroad recognised. She can then improve her skills through training and study grants. The state encourages her by targeting her specific needs - for example, she can take language courses focused on her profession. Job mentors and trained staff help her assess skills and use public employment services. Once employed, she has the same rights as all workers in the country.

Worst Case Add to MyPdf 

This is a composite of national policies found in May 2010 in at least one of the 31 countries.

Where a migrant cannot fully contribute to the country’s economic life, his skills and ambitions go to waste. He must wait 5 years to have the same right as nationals to work, study or start his own business. Even then, he is barred from working in many sectors and professions. In the meantime, he has to look for work on his own, without any general or targeted support. Because his foreign qualifications are not recognised, he may have to give up his career to take whatever job he finds. Employers do not have to provide him with the same working conditions or social security as his co-workers. 

Changes & Trends Add to MyPdf 

From 2007 to 2010, immigrants received greater labour market support in 10 countries. More legal residents will have equal access to jobs and training in several new countries of immigration (GR, ES, PT) and in Central Europe (HU, PL, LV). Countries sometimes used opportunities in EU law to improve their legislation. More established countries of immigration made progress on targeted support measures, which are generally weak in all countries. Immigrants in AT and DK will see several new targeted support measures, and their qualifications may be better recognised in CA, PT and LU.