Publications - Policy Briefs


SIRIUS Consortium

Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees (MRAs) tend, for a variety of reasons, to be less successful in host country labour markets than natives. To reduce this gap, governments have put in place specific policies. The objectives of these migrant labour market integration (MLI) policies are 1) helping migrants to overcome handicaps and skill deficits to better succeed in host country labour markets 2) better matching migrants’ characteristics to employer needs by, for example, training them or guiding them to labour shortage occupations. These policies tend to focus on giving migrants appropriate skills for the local job market (notably, language skills, but others as well), and sometimes providing work experience and job matching services. Labour market integration policies for migrants are also usually centred around various active labour market policies (ALMPs), and integration training programmes.

The main barriers to labour market integration of migrants are similar across our sample of European countries (Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Italy, Switzerland and UK), and include lack of language skills, ineffective administrative and legal structures, lack of recognition of (home country) skills and qualifications, lack of needed skills and competencies, lack of networks, discrimination, exploitation, a general atmosphere of xenophobia in society and (perceived) cultural barriers.

In this policy brief, we present evidence and policy considerations about MLI programmes, expanding the eligibility to partake in these programmes, the recognition of prior education and experiences and the effectiveness of individualised integration plans. 


SIRIUS Consortium

In this policy brief we present evidence and policy considerations about the ‘macro’ dimensions of integration by assessing how far legal and institutional frameworks of migration and asylum as well as labour law work as enablers or obstructers of post-2014 MRAAs integration in European labour markets across the seven countries studied in SIRIUS (the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom and Switzerland). We focus on post-2014 MRAs given the peak in migration and asylum figures Europe has experienced in 2015 and 2016. The findings of this policy brief are based on the comparative analysis (1) of the political, legal and institutional context of migration governance, integrated with critical insights on the cultural and socio-economic environment of the SIRIUS countries, and (2) of the different legal status, rights, and entitlements of migrants, refugees and asylum applicants in the SIRIUS countries. Overall, when legal issues are at stake, MRAAs integration heavily depends from the country they settle in and from the legal status that is recognized to them. In fact, entry and settlement in European countries is subject to strict limitations to non-EU nationals, but such limitations take different shades according to a given European country and a given migrant status. The comparative analysis of their right to be legally recognised a status (and subsequently a permit to stay) in SIRIUS countries on the one hand, and to have a number of other rights stemming from their status -first of all the right to work and the right to do it as nationals do- on the other, speaks of the legal marginalization of MRAAs in European jurisdictions, despite narratives of inclusiveness.

SIRIUS Policy Brief N.1 - August 2018

SIRIUS Consortium

The capacity for labour market opportunities to ensure the economic and social ‘inclusion’ of people within society holds true for host populations as well as migrants, refugees and asylum seekers (MRAs). Regardless of one’s migrant or native status (by native we mean people residing in their country of birth and nationality), employment provides income, social identity, social connections, and it enables individuals to contribute to the growth and prosperity of the country through consumption and taxation. However, the integration of MRAs via labour markets is not a straightforward task, due to the specific issues relating to migration and refugee/asylum statuses, but also due to the extent of heterogeneity apparent across contemporary labour markets in Europe. This heterogeneity (in economic structure, sectorial composition, labour force and demographic features, etc.), combined with the substantial, but also uneven, impact of the wider economic crisis on European labour markets, has created a highly differentiated economic and social environment across countries. Building on such premises, SIRIUS understands the labour market integration of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees as being dependent on a pattern of concurring circumstances and features located at different analytical levels: at the macro (state, sub-state and supra-state), at the meso (intra-societal), and at the micro (individual) levels.
In this policy brief we present evidence and policy considerations about the ‘macro’ dimensions of integration by scrutinizing the characteristics of post-2014 MRAs along with the economic drivers of the SIRIUS economies (the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom and Switzerland) and their labour markets determinants.