Arbeit, Demografie, Konjunktur, Weltwirtschaft

Employment Support Services and Migrant Integration in the UK Labour Market

26.05.2008 | HWWI Policy Paper | von Alessio Cangiano

Aim of this paper is to review the existing evidence on the support structures available to migrants and refugees in the UK labour market. It follows another expert report providing a comprehensive description of the legislation regulating the access to the labour market and entitlement to public services for the different categories of migrants in the UK. Far from being an attempt to assess the success and failures of the existing framework, the paper will try to provide a critical overview of the evidence available from policy documents, commissioned evaluations, databases for monitoring users' access and academic publications. The paper is organised into three main sections. First, the demographics and labour market outcomes of the migrant population in the UK labour market are reviewed relying on the Labour Force Survey data and on the main results of the literature on the determinants of migrant economic performance. Emphasis is placed on the diversity of characteristics and varying outcomes of the migrant labour force, which prevent from easy generalisations when looking at the patterns of migrant labour integration or disadvantage. Second, the evidence on the involvement of migrants in mainstream government programmes and services making up the Department for Work and Pensions operational framework is reviewed. An overview of the main support structures such as Jobcentre Plus services and the major labour market programmes (e.g. New Deal, Employment Zones, etc.) is provided and the possible involvement of migrants in these initiatives is discussed. As we shall see, migrants (except refugees) are never included among the target groups of these policies but when they have access they are likely to be involved as much as the native population. Finally, the impact of the policy interventions targeting migrant and refugee needs is discussed. Three areas of intervention are considered: the provision of language classes, the support structure for the recognition of qualifications obtained abroad and some specific initiatives targeting refugee labour market integration.