Children of immigrants stuck in low-paid work, OECD finds

3 Jul 15

Children born to foreign parents in rich countries are likely to be jobless or stuck in low-paid work they are overqualified for, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has said.

Its Indicators of immigrant integration 2015: settling in report, published yesterday, found that the situation was worse in the European Union where the rate of youth unemployment among children of immigrants is almost 50% higher compared with those with native-born parents.

OECD countries, a group of advanced economies that include Canada, Australia and New Zealand, are generally good at integrating immigrations, but the report found that labour market outcomes for recent arrivals were well below those of the native-born. 

Across both the EU and OECD countries, the share of immigrants rose by 30% since 2000, but not enough is being done to harness their potential, the report added.

Angel Gurría, OECD secretary-general, said: “Lack of labour market and social integration has a strongly negative impact – not only on immigrants themselves, but also on their children.

“Indeed, the most worrying finding of our publication is that immigrant disadvantage is transmitted to native-born children, especially for low-educated immigrants.

“This is something that we observe in particular in European countries, where past immigrants often had very low qualification levels.”

The report notes that while educational outcomes are improving for many children from immigrant families, there were notable gaps, especially for children with low-educated parents.

“Countries are not making enough progress helping immigrants and their children integrate,” Gurría warned.

“This is a wake-up call on the need to strengthen integration policies to get the most out of migration, for our economies and societies and for the migrants themselves.”

He said there was an urgent need for action and urged governments to develop an education system that played a role in integrating the children of immigrants. 

  • Judith Ugwumadu
    Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith writes about public finance, public services and economics across Public Finance International and Public Finance. She previously undertook reporting stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express.

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