Important legal notice
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Headlines Published on 29 November 2007

Title Challenges facing women migrants in the EU

At a time when the EU is trying to attract top talent from outside its borders and proposes a "Blue Card" scheme, the EU-funded project FEMAGE has published its study into the acceptance of third-country nationals and the quest of female migrants for permanent residence and integration. FEMAGE reports on the challenges facing Europe’s demographic future and social cohesion, based on surveys taken in EU Member States.

The skills of migrant women are not being valued.
The skills of migrant women are not being valued.

As a result of national populations being poorly informed about the true number of immigrants in their midst, local people greatly overestimate their number. They are unaware of the potential contribution immigrants can bring, while believing that foreigners will take their jobs and bring crime and terrorism to their communities. The research indicates that the actual number of immigrants does not affect people’s opinion.

Countries such as Poland with 0.1 percent of foreigners; the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia where foreigners account for roughly 2 percent of the total population; Germany with 9 percent; and Estonia with 26 percent of foreigners all have in common that some two thirds of their nationals believe that there are too many immigrants in their country. In Finland, where foreigners account for just under two percent, one quarter of the native population believes that there are too many foreigners in their country. In Austria, where foreigners account for some nine percent of the population, one out of two locals think that there are too many.

Deskilling is a common experience for skilled female immigrants arriving in the EU. It is striking how often women reported that their talents and experience were not valued in their host country and that they remained trapped in low-skilled jobs. Migration histories and the process of integration differ between men and women, with support needing to be complemented by gender-friendly policies.

The women themselves often view their own family relations as an obstacle to becoming fully integrated into the wider society through education and a paid job. The FEMAGE project has shown that as a result of the high emotional, social and financial costs of immigration and a high investment in their children, women fail to make proper provision for their old age. In addition, many have poor work-related benefits that do not allow for a proper pension. However, most women wish to stay in the host country, with only a small minority considering returning to their home country in their old age.

More information:

  • FEMAGE Report
  • 'Promoting active citizenship among immigrants'

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