Socio-economic profile and socio-economic careers of people granted international protection in Belgium
EMN Belgium publishes a study on the socio-economic integration of people granted international protection in Belgium between 2001 and 2014. This report links administrative longitudinal data from the National Register and the Data Warehouse Labour Market and Social Protection.
The report, commissioned by EMN Belgium, was executed by the demographic research centre DEMO of the University of Louvain in collaboration with the Belgian Federal Migration Centre Myria. The study aims to complement an earlier study on “Integration of beneficiaries of international protection into the labour market in Belgium” that was published by EMN Belgium in May 2016 and focuses on policy measures.
This new study complements earlier research on the socio-economic careers of beneficiaries of international protection in Belgium by the study “The Long and Winding Road to Employment. An Analysis of the Labour Market Careers of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Belgium” (CAREERS) by Rea and Wets in 2014 and research by Lens et al. in 2017.
This report links administrative longitudinal data from the National Register and the Data Warehouse Labour Market and Social Protection to study the socio-economic integration of beneficiaries of international protection (refugee status or subsidiary protection) in Belgium during the period 2001–2014 (36,540 persons).
We compare people granted a status of international protection in the periods 2001–2006, 2007–2009 and 2010–2014 (further named cohorts), to evaluate whether the labour market participation of more recent cohorts improved relative to earlier cohorts.
Five years after being granted international protection, 37% of the 2001−2006 and the 2007−2009 cohort was working. For the 2010−2014 cohort this share was only 29%, indicating a slightly downward trend in access to employment among refugees. While this share is relatively low, it continues increasing beyond 5 years (after 10 years about 50% of the people who obtained an international protection status in the period 2001−2006 was working). The share of people who ever worked is also much higher than the share of people working at some point. For instance, 81% of the 2001−2006 cohort had ever worked by 31 December 2014. Hence, the majority of the people has ever worked (in a formal job) at one stage during their stay, despite the fact that the population obtaining international protection is a vulnerable group. However, first and later employment episodes last on average less than one year, pointing to rather short labour market episodes and high
employment instability. Hence, durable labour market integration remains a point a concern.
Changes in the work regimes for asylum seekers and the economic crisis in 2009 may explain part of the variations in labour market outcomes for the successive cohorts, but this question deserves further research to fully understand these trends.