Migrant integration statistics - employment conditions
- Data extracted in May 2017. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned update: May 2018.
The European Union (EU) is a relatively diverse area and several of its Member States have traditionally been a destination for many migrants, whether from elsewhere in the EU or from elsewhere in the world. The flow of migrants has led to a range of new skills and talents being introduced into local labour markets, while also increasing cultural diversity. The integration of migrants has increasingly become a key area for policy focus, with measures to prepare immigrants and their descendants so they may be more active participants in society, for example, through labour market participation.
This article presents EU statistics for a range of employment characteristics, contrasting the situation of migrants with the native population; the information may be used as part of an on-going process to monitor and evaluate migrant integration policies. The indicators presented are based on: a set of Council conclusions from 2010 on migrant integration; a subsequent study Indicators of immigrant integration — a pilot study from 2011; and a report titled Using EU indicators of immigrant integration from 2013. The article analyses information from the list of Zaragoza indicators that were agreed by EU Member States in Zaragoza (Spain) during April 2010, alongside additional information derived from the 2013 report on migrant integration. More specifically, it presents statistical data on the following:
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 See also
- 5 Further Eurostat information
- 6 External links
- 7 Notes
Main statistical findings
From 2008 to 2016, the share of non-EU citizens who were self-employed increased by 2.6 percentage points across the EU-28, while it decreased by 0.4 points among national citizens
The share of self-employed persons in total employment among the EU-28 population aged 20-64 increased among non-EU citizens by 2.6 percentage points between 2008 and 2016, reaching 12.3 % (see Figure 1). Despite this increase, the shares of self-employment were higher both for nationals (14.3 %) and for citizens of EU Member States other than the reporting Member State (13.2 %). While the share of non-EU citizens who were self-employed rose consistently during the period under observation, there were modest declines in the share of self-employment for both of the other groups of citizens (nationals and other EU citizens).
An alternative analysis by place of birth shows quite similar developments insofar as there was a relatively rapid increase in the share of self-employment in the EU-28 for working-age migrants who were non-EU-born (in other words, born outside the EU), up by 2.0 percentage points during the period 2008-2016 to reach 13.9 %. The changes for EU-born migrants (in other words, those born in a different EU Member State from the one in which they were living) — up 0.5 points to 14.0 % in 2016 — and for the native-born population — down 0.4 points to 14.4 % in 2016 — were of a smaller magnitude.
In absolute terms, about 30.5 million persons of working-age were self-employed in the EU-28 in 2016. Around 27.1 million of these were native-born, while close to 3 million were migrants (with a higher share coming from outside the EU). Among the EU Member States, Italy had the largest self-employed population (4.8 million working-age persons), accounting for 15.6 % of all self-employed people in the EU-28. The United Kingdom and Germany followed with approximately 4.3 and 3.7 million self-employed persons.
In relative terms, there was little difference between self-employment rates in the EU-28 when analysing the results for 2016 by place of birth. The rate for the native-born working-age population was 14.4 %, while those for migrants were slightly lower, at 14.0% for migrants born in a different EU Member State and 13.9 % for migrants born outside the EU. Among the EU Member States, by far the highest self-employment shares for migrants born outside the EU were recorded in the Czech Republic (33.9 %) and Poland (21.3 %) — see Table 1 — with the lowest rates recorded in Austria (7.7 %), Sweden (7.9 %) and Denmark (8.6 %).
For migrants born in a different EU Member State, the highest self-employment rate in 2016 was recorded in Malta (19.8 %), closely followed by Slovakia (19.3 %) and then Belgium (17.4 %). At the other end of the range, the lowest self-employment rates for migrants born in a different EU Member State were registered in Denmark and Hungary (both 7.5 %) and Luxembourg (8.5 %).
Comparing self-employment rates between the native-born and migrant populations (subject to data availability), there was a mixed pattern across the EU Member States in 2016 (see Figure 2). Greece reported the largest gap when analysing the self-employment rates for migrants born outside the EU and those for the native-born population, with the share for the latter being 19.8 percentage points higher. The opposite situation was observed in the Czech Republic, where the self-employment rate for the native-born population was significantly lower than that for migrants born outside the EU (some 17.9 percentage points difference). A similar comparison between self-employment rates for the native-born population and migrants born in a different EU Member State reveals that considerably higher rates were recorded for migrants born in a different Member State in Slovakia (4.0 percentage points difference), Belgium (4.1 points) and Malta (6.5 points), whereas the native-born population recorded a significantly higher self-employment rate in Italy (10.2 percentage points) and particularly in Greece (16.6 points).
Figure 3 presents an analysis of the total number of self-employed persons within the EU-28, by place of birth and according to their working status, with the self-employed split into two distinct groups: self-employed persons with employees (in other words, employers) and self-employed persons without employees (also known as own-account workers). People working on their own account are sole owners of unincorporated enterprises, such as people running their own business, farm or professional practice.
In 2016, almost three quarters (71.2 %) of native-born self-employed persons aged 20-64 in the EU-28 were own account workers, with the remainder being employers. The corresponding shares of own account workers among migrants were 72.4 % among those born outside the EU and 79.7 % among those born in a different EU Member State.
Between 2008 and 2016, the share of migrants in the EU who were temporary employees fell, while the equivalent share for the native-born population increased slightly
Temporary employment and part-time employment (see below) may be considered either as a threat or an opportunity for employees, since these indicators can be viewed as a means towards broadening social integration or as indicators of under-employment.
Across the EU-28, temporary employees accounted for a 12.8 % share of the total number of native-born employees in 2016 (see Figure 4). The corresponding shares for migrant populations were somewhat higher, as 14.5 % of migrants born in another EU Member State were employed on a temporary basis, while the share among migrants born outside the EU was 19.0 %.
In 2016, the gap between the share of native-born and foreign-born employees in the EU who were working on a temporary basis was 3.9 percentage points (see Table 2). The share of temporary employees in the total number of native-born employees peaked in Poland (27.1 %), Spain (24.1 %), Croatia (21.6 %) and Portugal (21.4 %). Among the foreign-born population, the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees rose to 40.9 % in Poland, while more than one fifth of the total number of foreign-born employees in Spain (35.0 %), Cyprus (29.9 %), Portugal (25.1 %), Sweden (23.0 %) and the Netherlands (21.2 %) were also employed on a temporary basis.
Among the 24 EU Member States for which 2016 data are available, the share of temporary employees was higher for the foreign-born population than it was for the native-born population in all but four of the Member States. The largest difference was observed in Cyprus, where 11.7 % of native-born employees worked on a temporary basis, compared with 29.9 % of migrants, a gap of 18.2 percentage points (pp); the next highest gaps were recorded in Poland (13.8 pp), Spain (10.9 pp) and Sweden (10.4 pp). Croatia, Latvia, Estonia and Hungary were the only exceptions, where the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees was lower for migrants than it was for the native-born population.
There is limited data available for comparing the share of temporary employees between migrants born in another EU Member State and migrants born outside the EU. For 13 out of the 19 EU Member States for which data are available, the share of temporary employees was higher among migrants born outside the EU than it was for migrants born in another Member State. The biggest gap (33.2 percentage points) was recorded in Cyprus, where almost half (47.4 %) of all migrant employees born outside the EU were employed on a temporary basis, compared with 14.2 % of migrants who had been born in another Member State; the next largest gaps were recorded in Sweden (11.5 pp), Luxembourg (9.9 pp) and Portugal (9.2 pp). By contrast, in the Czech Republic, Malta, Croatia, Italy, Austria and the Netherlands, the share of temporary employees was higher among those born in another EU Member State than it was for those born outside the EU.
Figure 5 presents an analysis of the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees by place of birth and by sex. In 2016, the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees was slightly higher among women than men for both the native-born population and the population born in another EU Member State; there was almost no difference between the shares recorded for men and women when comparing the latest figures for migrants born outside the EU.
Youth temporary employment
Between 2008 and 2016, the share of temporary employees rose in the EU among young people who were native-born
The final two figures within this section provide an analysis of the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees for the population aged 15-29. Figure 6 shows the development of this share in the EU-28 during the period 2008-2016. Among the native-born population aged 15-29, the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees increased, rising in all but two of the years (2009 and 2012) to reach 32.5 % in 2016. For young migrants born outside the EU, the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees fell rapidly between 2008 and 2009, remained relatively unchanged up to 2013, and then started to rise again thereafter, almost returning to its initial share by 2016, when the share stood at 35.2 %. These developments were in contrast to the situation for young migrants born in another EU Member State, where there was generally a slow reduction in the share of temporary employees (other than in 2011 and 2014). By 2016, less than one quarter (23.5 %) of the EU’s young migrant employees born in another EU Member State were working on a temporary basis, some 9.0 percentage points lower than the corresponding share among the young native-born population.
A more detailed analysis by EU Member State shows that it was relatively common for a large proportion of the total number of employees aged 15-29 to be working on a temporary basis; this was particularly the case in Spain, Poland, Portugal, Croatia and Slovenia, where more than half of all those aged 15-29 were working on a temporary basis in 2016 (see Figure 7). In the Netherlands and Cyprus, a majority of young migrant employees born outside the EU were working on a temporary basis (for both sexes); this was also the case in Sweden for young migrant women born outside the EU.
The share of the workforce aged 20-64 working on a part-time basis rose faster among migrants than among the native-born population
The share of part-time employment in total employment increased steadily in the EU during recent years. This pattern was most apparent among migrant populations, with the fastest pace of increase recorded for those migrants born outside the EU. Figure 8 shows that almost one quarter (24.1 %) of the EU’s migrant workforce who had been born outside the EU worked on a part-time basis in 2016, while the corresponding share for migrants born in another EU Member State was 21.3 % and that for the native-born workforce was 18.1 %. A comparison between 2015 and 2016 reveals that contrary to the overall developments observed during the period 2008-2016, there was a contraction in the share of migrants working on a part-time basis, while there was no change in the share of the native-born workforce that was employed on a part-time basis.
This pattern of a higher share of part-time employment among migrants — particularly those born outside the EU — was repeated in most of the EU Member States in 2016 (see Table 3). Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Estonia reported higher shares of part-time employment among their native-born (rather than foreign-born) workforces, with the difference rising to 5.0 percentage points in Luxembourg. On the other hand, the share of part-time employment among the migrant workforce was 10.5 percentage points higher than the share recorded for the native-born workforce in Greece and there were also relatively large differences between these two subpopulations in Italy (9.3 pp), Spain (6.5 pp) and France (5.3 pp).
In 2016, the share of part-time employment was considerably higher for women compared with men for all population groups
In 2016, the share of part-time employment was generally much higher among women than it was among men. For the native-born workforce (aged 20-64), the highest gender gaps in the proportion of people working on a part-time basis were recorded in the Netherlands (54.2 pp), Austria (38.0 pp) and Germany (37.4 pp). The difference between the sexes regarding the propensity to be employed on a part-time basis was generally much lower in those EU Member States where the overall propensity to employ on a part-time basis was below the EU average. Indeed, the gap between the sexes was 0.5 percentage points or less in both Bulgaria and Romania.
A similar analysis for the foreign-born workforce (aged 20-64) shows that migrants living in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria were inclined to follow the patterns observed for the native-born workforce, insofar as they recorded the largest gender gaps for shares of part-time employment. The share of part-time employment among migrants was consistently higher among women (than among men) in each of the 23 EU Member States for which data are available (no data or only partial data available for Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia), with the gap between women and men rising to 43.2 percentage points in the Netherlands, 40.4 points in Germany and 35.2 points in Austria. By contrast, the lowest gender gaps were recorded for Hungary (where the share of part-time employment for the foreign-born workforce was 2.7 percentage points higher among female rather than male migrants), Cyprus (4.0 pp) and Croatia (5.2 pp).
An analysis by age suggests that older persons (aged 55-64) tended to have a higher propensity to work on a part-time basis, perhaps reflecting a desire to reduce their average number of hours worked per week in preparation for retirement or difficulty in finding full-time employment. Among the native-born population this pattern was particularly apparent, as the share of persons aged 55-64 working on a part-time basis was 21.6 %, which was 5.1 percentage points higher than the share recorded for those aged 25-54 (16.5 %). This pattern was repeated for the foreign-born workforce when considering migrants born in other EU Member States, as the share of part-time employment among older workers was 4.1 points higher than the share recorded for those aged 25-54. However, a different pattern was observed for the workforce born outside the EU, as there was almost no difference between the shares of part-time employment recorded for people aged 55-64 (23.6 %) and people aged 25-54 (23.5 %).
The gender gap in relation to the share of part-time employment is apparent when analysing the results presented in Figure 9. In 2016, the share of part-time employment was almost always lower for men than for women, irrespective of whether the workforce was native-born or foreign-born, Cyprus being the only exception in the case of migrants born outside the EU.
Youth part-time employment
The share of part-time employment for young people (aged 15-29) in the EU-28 as a percentage of total employment increased during the eight years between 2008 and 2016, regardless of the place of birth; there were however signs that the propensity to employ on a part-time basis was falling for some subpopulations of young people during the last couple of years.
Across the whole of the EU-28, in 2016 the share of part-time employment for young people born outside the EU was particularly high, at 30.0 %, compared with shares of 23.3 %for those who were native-born and 23.2 % for those born in another EU Member State. These aggregate figures (for both sexes) disguise the considerable gender imbalance that exists in relation to part-time employment (see Figure 10), with a much higher proportion of young women (than men) in part-time employment. The share of part-time employment among young women born outside the EU stood at 39.8 %, which was 17.5 percentage points higher than the corresponding share among young male migrants born outside the EU. The differences for the other subpopulations were almost as large, as the share of part-time employment among young women born in another EU Member State was 31.5 % (16.3 points higher than for young men) and the share for young women who were native-born was 31.2 % (14.6 points higher). For both sexes, the highest shares of part-time employment were recorded for young migrants born outside the EU. In contrast, the shares of part-time employment among young people who were native-born and young people who were born in another EU Member State were quite closely matched. The proportion of young men born in another EU Member State who were working on a part-time basis was slightly lower than the corresponding share for young men who were native-born, whereas for young women the situation was reversed (as a slightly lower share of the native-born population worked on a part-time basis).
Despite falling at a relatively fast pace between 2015 and 2016, the share of part-time employment among young people born outside the EU rose overall by 6.1 percentage points across the EU-28 between 2008 and 2016. While there were also increases for the other two subpopulations, their rates of change were somewhat less marked, as the proportion of part-time employment rose by 5.1 points for young people born in another EU Member State, and by 4.5 points for young people who were native-born.
Data sources and availability
The main data source for employment characteristics is the EU labour force survey (EU-LFS). The EU-LFS is a large quarterly sample survey that covers the resident population aged 15 and above in private households. It covers the EU Member States, EFTA (except Liechtenstein) and candidate countries. The survey is designed to provide population estimates for a set of main labour market characteristics, covering areas such as employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and hours of work, as well as providing analyses for a range of socio-demographic characteristics, such as sex, age, educational attainment, occupation, household characteristics and region of residence.
A set of Council, European Parliament and European Commission Regulations define how the EU-LFS is carried out, whereas some countries have their own national legislation for the implementation of the survey. The key advantage using EU-LFS data is that they come from a survey which is highly harmonised and optimised for comparability. However, there are some limitations when considering the coverage of the EU-LFS for migrant populations, as the EU-LFS was designed to target the whole resident population and not specific subgroups, such as migrants. The following issues should be noted when analysing migrant integration statistics:
- recently arrived migrants — this group of migrants is missing from the sampling frame in every host Member State, which results in under-coverage of the actual migrant population for EU-LFS statistics;
- non-response — one disadvantage of the EU-LFS is the high percentage of non-response that is recorded among migrant populations, this may reflect: language difficulties; misunderstanding concerning the purpose of the survey; difficulties in communicating with the survey interviewer; or fear concerning the negative impact that participation in the survey could have (for example, damaging a migrants chances of receiving the necessary authorisation to remain in the host Member State);
- sample size — given the EU-LFS is a sample survey, it is possible that some of the results presented for labour market characteristics of migrants are unrepresentative, especially in those EU Member States with small migrant populations (note that for cases where data are considered to be of particularly low reliability, the data are not published).
This article focuses on comparisons between national and migrant populations. The results for the migrant population are usually disaggregated into migrants from other EU Member States and migrants from outside the EU, with information presented by age and by sex. Migrant indicators are calculated for two broad groups: the foreign population determined by place of birth and the foreign population determined by citizenship). Although providing some main indicators for the latter, this article focuses on providing information on migrant integration by place of birth (this subgroup of the population is generally somewhat larger and therefore allows more complete and robust data to be presented). That said, results by place of birth are generally representative of those by citizenship.
The following analyses are presented:
For the population by place of birth
- Native-born — the population born in the reporting country;
- Foreign-born — the population born outside the reporting country; subdivided into:
- EU-born — the population born in the EU, except the reporting country; and
- Non-EU-born — the population born in non-EU countries.
For the population by citizenship
- Nationals — the population of citizens of the reporting country;
- Foreign citizens — the non-nationals; subdivided into:
- EU citizens — the citizens of EU Member States, except the reporting country;
- Non-EU citizens — the citizens of non-EU countries.
For the population by age
- 15-24 — this age cohort represents the youth population, as defined by the United Nations (UN); note that the EU’s youth strategy focuses on a broader definition, namely, the cohort of young persons aged 15-29 (as used in this article);
- 20-64 — this cohort has been selected because it is relevant to one of the targets included within the Europe 2020 strategy, namely, that the employment rate of persons aged 20-64 should reach 75 % by 2020;
- 25-54 — this cohort is considered as the most appropriate group for an analysis of the situation of core working-age migrants, as it minimises the effects of migration related to non-economic reasons (for example, educational studies, training or early retirement), while forming a homogenous group that is large enough to produce reliable results;
- 55-64 — this cohort focuses on older migrants.
In order to concentrate on those of core working-age, thereby minimising the effect of migration related to non-economic factors, the analyses presented focus principally on the 25-54 age group. This is one of the main age groups for migrants, thereby reducing the effect of different age structures between national/native-born individuals and foreign/foreign-born migrants. Equally, the numbers of persons concerned are large enough to allow an analysis of socioeconomic characteristics with an appropriate degree of reliability.
The indicators in this article use the definitions of the Zaragoza indicators. The above age groups may not be same as used in Eurostat labour market statistics. For this reason results may differ from other results disseminated by Eurostat.
There is a strong link between integration, migration and employment policies since successful integration is necessary for maximising the economic and social benefits of immigration for EU societies and economies.
The importance of integration of nationals of non-member countries legally living in the EU Member States and the establishment of policies for a secure labour environment for migrants underwent a considerable development in 2000 when the Racial Equality Directive (2000/43/EC) and the Employment Equality Directive (2000/78/EC) were adopted in order to prohibit discrimination in employment, occupation, social protection education and access to public goods on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation, race and ethnic origin.
In 2010, Europe 2020, a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (COM(2010) 2020 final) was set as a foundation for all people, including migrants, to achieve the objective of 'an inclusive high employment society'; the target of reaching a 75 % employment rate by 2020 was set. In July 2011, the European Commission proposed a European agenda for the integration of third-country nationals  focusing on actions to increase economic, social, cultural and political participation by migrants and emphasising local action. This agenda highlighted challenges that need to be addressed if the EU is willing to benefit fully from the potential offered by migration and the value of diversity. It also explored the role of countries of origin in the integration process.
With regard to the measurement of migrant integration, the Stockholm Programme for the period 2010-2014 embraced the development of core indicators for the monitoring of the results of integration policies in a limited number of relevant policy areas including employment, education and social inclusion. Through the 2010 Zaragoza Declaration (and the subsequent Council conclusions) Member States identified a number of common indicators (the so-called Zaragoza indicators) and called upon the European Commission to undertake a pilot study examining proposals for common integration indicators and reporting on the availability and quality of the data from agreed harmonised sources necessary for the calculation of these indicators. The proposals in the pilot study were further examined and developed in the recently published report Using EU Indicators of Immigrant Integration. The indicators used in this article are largely based on this report.
In July 2015, the European Commission released jointly with the OECD a report on indicators of immigrant integration Settling In — 2015. While in the thematic chapters of this report, the analysis is focused on the foreign-born population, there is a specific chapter dealing with the situation of non-EU citizens in the EU, aimed specifically at monitoring the Zaragoza indicators.
On 7 June 2016 the European Commission adopted an Action Plan on the integration of third-country nationals. The plan aims to support the integration process of nationals of non-member countries in the EU, including the specific challenges faced by refugees. The actions target key policy priorities such as pre-departure/pre-arrival measures and access to basic services(education, vocational training, labour market integration, health-care and housing).
EU legislation provides a framework regarding the conditions of entry and stay and a common set of rights for certain categories of migrants. Some of the most important legal texts relevant to migrants’ employment are the following:
- Directive 2014/66/EU defining conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer;
- Directive 2014/36/EU on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment;
- Directive 2011/98/EU on a single application procedure for a single permit to reside and work in the EU and on a common set of rights for third-country workers;
- Directive 2009/50/EC concerning the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly qualified employment, commonly called 'Blue Card directive';
- Directive 2003/86/EC on the right to family reunification;
- Directive 2000/43/EC on racial equality;
- Directive 2000/78/EC on employment equality.
- Migrant integration statistics — online publication
- Migration and migrant population statistics
- Unemployment statistics
Further Eurostat information
- Social inclusion (mii_soinc)
- Education (mii_educ)
- Employment (mii_emp)
- Employment and self-employment (mii_em)
- Employment rates by sex, age and nationality (%) (lfsa_ergan)
- Employment rates by sex, age and country of birth (%) (lfsa_ergacob)
- Long-term unemployment (12 months or more) as a percentage of the total unemployment, by sex, age and nationality (%) (lfsa_upgan)
- Long-term unemployment (12 months or more) as a percentage of the total Unemployment, by sex, age and country of birth (%) (lfsa_upgacob)
- Part-time employment as percentage of the total employment, by sex, age and nationality (%) (lfsa_eppgan)
- Part-time employment as percentage of the total employment, by sex, age and country of birth (%) (lfsa_eppgacob)
- Self-employment by sex, age and country of birth (1 000) (lfsa_esgacob)
- Self-employment by sex, age and nationality (1 000) (lfsa_esgan)
- Temporary employees as percentage of the total number of employees, by sex, age and nationality (%) (lfsa_etpgan)
- Temporary employees as percentage of the total number of employees, by sex, age and country of birth (%) (lfsa_etpgacob)
- Employment and self-employment (mii_em)
- Active citizenship (mii_actctz)
- LFS ad-hoc modules on migrants (mii_lfso)
Methodology / Metadata
- LFS series — Detailed annual survey results (ESMS metadata file — lfsa_esms)
Source data for tables, figures and maps (MS Excel)
- Conclusions on Integration as a Driver for Development and Social Cohesion
- EMN Annual Report on Immigration and Asylum 2014
- European website on integration
- Indicators for the Integration of Migrants and their Children — OECD
- Migrant integration — DG Migration and Home Affairs
- Migrant integration policy index (MIPEX) — ILO
- Settling In — 2015
- Using EU Indicators of Immigrant Integration - final report prepared for DG Migration and Home Affairs
- ‘Third-countries’ is a synonym for non-member countries, in other words countries outside of the EU.