The study presents various indicators, which hold true across all of Europe. Participation rates of immigrants in the host labour market vary across different groups, depending on the mode of entry, the country of origin and the country of destination. In general, intra-EU migrants from new member states have very high participation rates, while third-country nationals often face greater barriers to labour market integration. Knowledge of the national language is the key factor to success in the labour market.
The role of immigration policies
The impact of migration policies on the scale and composition of immigration, and labour market outcomes seems contradictory. On the one hand, researchers find that migrants are more willing to exploit their human capital and are better integrated into the labour markets in countries with higher openness to migration. Anti-discrimination legislation helps migrants close the unemployment gap. On the other hand, upgrading a country’s family reunification legislation leads to higher unemployment. Legislation governing migrants’ long-term residence and access to nationality do not appear to have measurable effects.
Structural factors for labour market gaps
Alongside immigration policy, host country labour market regulation is considered the second decisive factor for labour market integration of migrants. Once again, evidence is inconclusive on the implications of several factors, such as liberal market versus co-ordinated market economies. One focal point of the paper is collective bargaining coverage, which overall decreases migrants’ labour market participation vis-à-vis natives. Additionally, the presence of unions pushes migrants in lower skilled jobs.
Do immigrants resolve European labour shortages?
The great justification for introducing migrants into European labour markets is shrinkage of the labour force, a product of ageing populations and low birth rates. The paper proposes migration as a vehicle of labour market adjustment and suggests that migrants bring in useful skills. Results show that migrants especially from outside of the EU15 respond to labour shortages more than natives and thus provide for a more efficient allocation of labour in the EU15. However, the researchers also point out that migration decreases incentives for natives to acquire skills and leads to reliance on migrants.