Immigrant labour market participation in Belgium – high time to mainstream (IES)

This Policy Brief from the Institute for European Studies examines whether Belgium’s complex federal state structure can help explain the country’s poor performance regarding labour market participation of people with an immigrant background.

The gap between the labour market participation of natives and immigrants is large in Belgium, much larger than the OECD average. This policy brief presents research that investigated one of the possible causes of this poor performance. The research project studied whether Belgium’s complex federal state structure, and the subsequent division of responsibilities and lack of intergovernmental cooperation impacts Belgium’s results in this field.

The study concludes that governance complexity does not appear to be a main cause for Belgium’s poor results regarding the labour market participation of immigrants. But more policy coordination could improve policy efficiency.

The study proposes three main policy recommendations to this effect:

  • Mainstream immigrant integration at all government levels and in all relevant policy departments
  • Mainstream immigrant integration in the intergovernmental relations on employment policies
  • Use the new regional ‘target group policies’ to reduce the employment gap between immigrants and natives

The Policy Brief is available in English, Dutch and French here.

Publication Date:
Tue 05 May 2015
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