Friday, May 2, 2014

Slow Motion: The Labor Market Integration of New Immigrants in France

France's labor market can be a difficult one for new entrants, particularly recently arrived immigrants. Stringent requirements for many jobs, occupational ladders that are difficult to access beyond entry levels, and restrictions on foreign nationals working in the public sector effectively keep many newly arrived immigrants from accessing jobs. And since most new immigrants to France are not admitted as workers, it takes time for them to adjust to the French labor market and acquire host-country human capital and experience.

A new report, Slow Motion: The Labor Market Integration of New Immigrants in France, analyzes French Labor Force Survey data, finding that immigrants who arrived since 2000 have fared badly in the first few years after arrival. While these immigrants improved their labor market outcomes over time, their employment rates leveled out at rates 10 percentage points lower than native workers in 2011, providing evidence of persistent structural obstacles.

The report, part of a series assessing the labor market experiences and integration of newcomers in several European countries, finds that the proportions of immigrants unemployed, and in low- and high-skilled work, have remained roughly the same over time. Promisingly, however, researchers Patrick Simon and Elsa Steichen also observed some growth in middle-skilled work. In fact, the share of the immigrants arriving between 2000 and 2002 who were employed in high- or middle-skilled jobs increased from 27 percent just after arrival to 48 percent nearly a decade later. That proportion, however, is 10 percent below that of French-born workers in high- or middle-skilled jobs.


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