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Integrating (former) asylum seekers into the Belgian labour market. What can we learn from the recent past?

Dries Lens, Ive Marx and Sunčica Vujić

No 1710, Working Papers from Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp

Abstract: This paper looks at how immigrants who arrived between 2002 and 2010 have fared in the Belgian labour market, differentiating by reason for migration. We use longitudinal data on immigrants’ employment trajectories, considering also their potential reliance on social assistance and unemployment benefits. The analysis shows that it takes (former) asylum seekers significantly longer to find work as compared to other immigrant categories. After a transition phase of low labour market participation and relatively high social assistance dependence, asylum seekers catch up to some extent, reaching levels of employment of about 50% after ten years of residence. However, asylum seekers still show higher rates of unemployment insurance and social assistance dependence as compared to other immigrant categories. In addition, asylum seekers who do work tend to do so in certain occupations and in jobs that are below their skill levels. They are also more often to be found in temporary contracts. These findings indicate the importance of heightened efforts to ensure the socio-economic integration of asylum seekers. The same holds true for family immigrants who account for the bulk of migration to Belgium and who have similar results as asylum seekers in the long run.

Keywords: migration; labor market policy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur and nep-mig
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