Migrant integration statistics - employment conditions
Data extracted in May 2019.
Planned article update: June 2020.
In 2018, the share of self-employed persons born outside the EU was 12 %, compared with 13 % for persons born in a different EU Member State and 14 % for native-born population.
Almost 20 % of persons born outside the EU were temporary employees in 2018, compared with 13 % for native-born employees and 14 % for employees born in a different EU Member State.
One quarter of the EU’s workforce born outside the EU worked part-time in 2018, compared with 18 % for the native-born workforce and 22 % for workforce born in a different EU Member State.
Development of the share of self-employed persons in total employment for the population aged 20-64, EU-28, 2008-2018
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) in April 2010, alongside additional information derived from the 2013 report on migrant integration. More specifically, it presents statistical data on the following:
In 2018, the EU self-employment rate for people aged 20 to 64 was 12.1 % for those born outside the EU, 12.5 % for those born in another EU Member State and 14.0 % for the native-born population
Between 2008 and 2018 there was almost no change in the share of self-employment in the EU-28 for working-age persons who were non-EU-born (in other words, born outside the EU); in 2018, the EU-28 self-employment rate for persons born outside the EU was 12.1 %, which was 0.1 percentage points percentage points higher than the rate recorded in 2008 (see Figure 1). However, this share did increase between 2008 and 2016 by 2.0 points before falling rapidly in 2017 (down 1.5 points) and again in 2018 (down 0.3 points) and thereby reversing nearly all of the increase of the previous eight years. There were modest overall reductions in the share of self-employed persons for the other two population groups, with a fall for EU-born persons (in other words, those born in a different EU Member State from the one in which they were living) of 1.1 points, while for the native-born population there was a reduction of 0.9 points.
Figure 1 shows also the alternative analysis by citizenship; the share of self-employed persons in total employment among the EU-28 population aged 20-64 increased among non-EU citizens by 1.5 between 2008 and 2018, rising from 9.7 % to reach 12.3 % in 2016, before falling back to 11.2 % in 2018. Despite this overall increase for non-EU citizens, the shares of self-employment were higher both for nationals (13.9 %) and for citizens of EU Member States other than the reporting Member State (12.5 %). There were modest overall declines in the share of self-employment for both of the other groups of citizens — nationals (down 0.9 points) and other EU citizens (down 1.0 points) — between 2008 and 2018.
In absolute terms, about 30.2 million persons of working-age were self-employed in the EU-28 in 2018. Around 26.7 million of these were native-born, while 3.5 million were foreign-born persons (with a higher share coming from outside the EU). Among the EU Member States, Italy had the largest self-employed population (4.6 million working-age persons), accounting for 15.4 % of all self-employed people in the EU-28. The United Kingdom and Germany followed with approximately 4.3 and 3.6 million self-employed persons.
In relative terms, there was little difference between self-employment rates in the EU-28 when analysing the results for 2018 by country of birth. The rate for the native-born working-age population was 14.0 %, while those for foreign-born were lower, at 12.5% for persons born in a different EU Member State and 12.1 % for persons born outside the EU. Among the EU Member States, by far the highest self-employment share for persons born outside the EU was recorded in Czechia (35.0 %), with the next highest shares in Poland (18.9 %), Hungary (17.3 %), the United Kingdom (16.6 %) and the Netherlands (16.4 %) — see Figure 2. By contrast, the lowest rates were recorded in Sweden (7.9 %), Estonia and Luxembourg (both 7.4 %) and Austria (7.1 %).
For persons born in a different EU Member State, the highest self-employment rate in 2018 was recorded in Poland (38.5 %), followed — at some distance — by Malta (21.2 %) and Estonia (19.6 %). At the other end of the range, the lowest self-employment rates for persons born in a different EU Member State were registered in Cyprus (8.9 %) and Luxembourg (7.8 %).
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 2018 (see Figure 2). Czechia reported the largest gap when analysing the self-employment rates for persons born outside the EU and those for the native-born population, with the share for the latter being 19.3 percentage points lower; the next largest gaps in this direction were 7.5 points in Hungary and 2.7 points in the United Kingdom. The largest gap for the opposite situation was observed in Greece, where the self-employment rate recorded for the native-born population was 18.4 points higher than it was for persons born outside the EU; again this was far larger than the next largest gap, 7.8 points in Italy.
A similar comparison between self-employment rates for the native-born population and persons born in a different EU Member State reveals that there were 16 Member States with the higher rates recorded for persons born in a different Member State. Among these, the largest gap was observed in Poland (21.0 percentage points difference), while relatively large gaps were also observed in Estonia (8.9 points), Malta (8.2 points) and Croatia (7.1 points). By contrast, the native-born population recorded higher self-employment rates in Greece (14.5 points), Italy (9.6 points), Ireland (4.1 points), Cyprus (3.7 points), Austria (2.2 points), Czechia and Hungary (both less than 1.0 points difference).
Figure 3 presents an analysis of self-employed persons within the EU-28 by country 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 or sole proprietors). People working on their own account are typically people running their own business, farm or professional practice.
In 2018, almost three quarters (71.4 %) 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 foreign-born were 71.1 % among those born outside the EU and 74.5 % among those born in a different EU Member State.
The share of foreign-born persons in the EU who were temporary employees in 2018 was lower than in 2008, while the reverse was true for the native-born population
In the EU-28, temporary employees accounted for a 12.5 % share of the total number of native-born employees in 2018 — down 0.3 percentage points compared with the three previous years when the share was stable at 12.8 % (see Figure 4). The corresponding shares for foreign-born populations were somewhat higher, as 14.3 % of persons born in another EU Member State were employed on a temporary basis, while the share among persons born outside the EU was 19.7 %.
In 2018, the gap between the share of native-born and foreign-born employees aged 20-64 in the EU who were working on a temporary basis was 5.2 percentage points (see Table 1).
In 2018, the share of temporary employees in the total number of native-born employees peaked in Spain (24.3 %), followed by Poland (23.7 %), Portugal (20.8 %) and Croatia (19.3 %). Among the foreign-born population, the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees was more than half (54.7 %) in Poland, while more than one quarter of the total number of foreign-born employees in Spain (37.1 %), Portugal (27.7 %), Cyprus (25.4 %), and the Netherlands (25.3 %) were also employed on a temporary basis.
Among the 24 EU Member States for which a complete set of 2018 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 five. The largest difference was observed in Poland (a gap of 31.0 percentage points); the next highest gaps were recorded in Cyprus (15.6 points), Spain (12.8 points), Sweden (12.1 points), Greece (10.2 points) and the Netherlands (8.9 %). Hungary, Estonia, Ireland, Croatia and Latvia were the only exceptions, as their share of temporary employees in the total number of employees was lower for foreign-born population than it was for the native-born population; this gap was never greater than 1.0 points (Hungary).
There are limited data available for comparing the share of temporary employees between persons born in another EU Member State and persons born outside the EU. For 14 out of the 20 EU Member States for which data are available, the share of temporary employees was higher among persons born outside the EU than it was for persons born in another Member State. The biggest gap (29.2 percentage points) was recorded in Cyprus, where two fifths (39.6 %) of all employees born outside the EU were employed on a temporary basis, compared with one tenth (10.4 %) of their peers who had been born in another Member State; the next largest gaps were recorded in Sweden (12.1 points) and Finland (10.5 points). By contrast, in Croatia, Czechia, Austria, Greece, Italy and the United Kingdom, the share of temporary employees was higher among those born in another EU Member State than it was for those born outside the EU; this gap was never greater than 1.9 points (Croatia).
Figure 5 presents an analysis of the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees by country of birth and by sex. In 2018, the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees in the EU-28 was higher among women than men for both the native-born population and the population born in another EU Member State; by contrast, the opposite situation existed when comparing the difference between the shares recorded for men and women born outside the EU.
Youth temporary employment
Between 2008 and 2018, the share of temporary employees rose in the EU among young people who were native-born and born outside the EU
The final two figures within this section on temporary employment provide an analysis of the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees for a subpopulation of young people (aged 15-29). Figure 6 shows the development of this share in the EU-28 during the period 2008-2018. Among the native-born population aged 15-29, the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees increased from 29.7 % in 2008 to reach a peak of 32.5 % in 2016 and 2017 before falling slightly to 31.9 % in 2018; during this period there were annual falls in 2009, 2012 and 2018. For young persons born outside the EU, the share of temporary employees in the total number of employees fell between 2008 and 2009, remained relatively unchanged up to 2013, and then started to rise thereafter, surpassing its 2008 value in 2017 and reaching 38.5 % in 2018. Initially the developments were similar for young persons born in another EU Member State: after a fall between 2008 and 2009, there was a period of stability which continued until 2016; in 2017 there was a increase, followed by a more subdued one in 2018, bringing this share within 0.7 percentage points of its 2008 level (26.5 % in 2008 and 25.8 % in 2018). The share of young employees born in another EU Member State who were working on a temporary basis remained some 6.1 percentage points lower in 2018 than the corresponding share among the young native-born population.
An analysis by EU Member State shows that it was relatively common for a relatively large proportion of the total number of employees aged 15-29 to be working on a temporary basis; this was most notably the case in Spain and Portugal, where more than half of all those aged 15-29 were working on a temporary basis in 2018. In the Netherlands, a majority of young employees born outside the EU were working on a temporary basis, regardless of sex and this was also the case in Portugal, Spain and most notably Poland (where the shares for men and women both approached three quarters); it was also the case in Sweden, Slovenia and Cyprus for young women born outside the EU (see Figure 7). Among young persons born in another EU Member State a majority of young men and of young women in Spain were working on a temporary basis.
The share of the workforce aged 20-64 working on a part-time basis rose faster among the foreign-born population than among the native-born population between 2008 and 2018
The share of part-time employment in total employment has increased steadily in the EU during recent years. This pattern was most apparent among foreign-born populations, with the fastest pace of increase recorded for persons born outside the EU. Figure 8 shows that one quarter (25.1 %) of the EU’s workforce who had been born outside the EU worked on a part-time basis in 2018, while the corresponding share for persons born in another EU Member State was 21.5 % and that for the native-born workforce was lower at 17.7 %. A comparison between 2017 and 2018 reveals that having increased the year before, there was a downturn in 2018 in relation to the share of foreign-born persons working on a part-time basis (both for persons born in another EU Member State and persons born outside the EU); there was also a downturn in the share of part-time employment among the native-born workforce, following on from a modest reduction in 2017.
This pattern of a higher share of part-time employment among foreign-born persons — particularly those born outside the EU — was repeated in most of the EU Member States in 2018 (see Table 2). However, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, Estonia, Croatia and Austria reported higher shares of part-time employment among their native-born (rather than foreign-born) workforces, with the difference rising to 4.9 percentage points in Luxembourg and 5.0 points in the Netherlands. On the other hand, the share of part-time employment among the foreign-born workforce was 8.7 points higher than the share recorded for the native-born workforce in Greece; the next highest differences between these two subpopulations were observed in Italy (7.2 points), Spain (6.1 points) and France (5.2 points).
In 2018, the share of part-time employment was higher for women compared with men for all population groups
In 2018, the share of part-time employment was generally 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 (52.3 percentage points), Austria (39.0 points) and Germany (37.0 points). The difference between the sexes regarding the propensity to be employed on a part-time basis was generally lower in EU Member States where the overall propensity to employ on a part-time basis was below the EU average; the gap between the sexes was less than 1.0 points in both Bulgaria and Romania.
A similar analysis for the foreign-born workforce (aged 20-64) shows that the migrant population living in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria had a similar pattern as that 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 foreign-born persons was consistently higher among women (than among men) in each of the 23 EU Member States for which data are available (note: no data or only partial data available for Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia), with the gap between women and men reaching 41.9 percentage points in the Netherlands, 39.6 points in Germany, 32.8 points in Austria and 31.1 points in Belgium. By contrast, the lowest gender gaps were recorded for Lithuania (where the share of part-time employment for the foreign-born workforce was 2.3 points higher among women compared with men), Latvia (2.8 points), Croatia (3.4 points) and Cyprus (4.4 points).
An analysis by age suggests that older persons (aged 55-64) tended to have a higher propensity to work on a part-time basis. Among the native-born population the share of persons aged 55-64 working on a part-time basis in the EU-28 (21.4 %) was 5.3 percentage points higher than the share recorded for those aged 25-54 (16.1 %). This pattern was repeated for the foreign-born workforce when considering persons born in other EU Member States, as the share of part-time employment among older workers was 5.5 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 a smaller difference between the shares of part-time employment recorded for people aged 55-64 (26.7 %) and people aged 25-54 (24.1 %). It is interesting to note that among the workforce born outside the EU, the share of part-time employment was lower for older people (than for those aged 25-54) in Austria, Italy and Sweden.
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 10 years between 2008 and 2018, regardless of the country of birth; there were however signs that the propensity to employ on a part-time basis was falling or stabilising for some subpopulations of young people during the last few years.
Despite falling at a relatively fast pace between 2015 and 2016 and then again between 2017 and 2018, the share of part-time employment among young people born outside the EU rose overall by 5.2 percentage points across the EU-28 between 2008 and 2018. 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 3.4 points for young people born in another EU Member State and by 4.3 points for young people who were native-born.
Across the whole of the EU-28, in 2018 the share of part-time employment for young people born outside the EU was 29.1 %, compared with shares of 23.1 % for those who were native-born and 21.5 % for those born in another EU Member State. These aggregate figures (for both sexes) disguise the gender imbalance that exists in relation to part-time employment (see Figure 9), with a higher proportion of young women (than men) in part-time employment. The share of part-time employment among young women born in another EU Member State stood at 30.2 %, which was 16.6 percentage points higher than the corresponding share among young men born in another EU Member State. The differences for the other subpopulations were almost as large, as the share of part-time employment among young women born outside the EU was 37.4 % (14.6 points higher than for young men) and the share for young women who were native-born was 30.7 % (14.1 points higher). For both sexes, the highest shares of part-time employment were recorded for young persons born outside the EU. By 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, particularly for young women. The proportion of young men born in another EU Member State who were working on a part-time basis (13.6 %) was somewhat lower than the corresponding share for young men who were native-born (16.6 %), whereas for young women the difference was even narrower: 30.7 % of the native-born population worked on a part-time basis compared with 30.2 % of young women born in another EU Member State.
Source data for tables and graphs
The main data source for employment characteristics is the EU labour force survey (EU-LFS). The EU-LFS is a quarterly sample survey that covers the resident population aged 15 years and above in private households; it provides data for 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 subjects 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 when 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, statistics 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; in some cases an additional analysis by age or by sex is presented. Migrant indicators are calculated for two broad groups: the foreign population determined by country of birth and the foreign population determined by citizenship. Although providing some main indicators for the latter, this article focuses on information for migrant integration by country of birth (this subgroup of the population is generally somewhat larger and therefore allows a more complete and robust data set to be presented). That said, results by country of birth are generally representative of those by citizenship.
The following analyses are presented:
For the population by country 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
- 15-29 years — this age cohort represents the youth population;
- 20-64 years — 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 years — 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 years — this cohort focuses on older migrants.
The indicators in this article use the definitions of the Zaragoza indicators. Note the age groups above may not be the same as presented in Eurostat’s 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 living legally 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’, setting a target of reaching a 75 % employment rate by 2020. 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. The agenda highlighted challenges that need to be addressed if the EU is 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 for a range of harmonised sources necessary for the calculation of these indicators. The proposals in the pilot study were examined and developed in a report published by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs Using EU indicators of immigrant integration.
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. A second edition of the report was released in 2018.
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 labour force survey statistics — online publication
- Migrant integration statistics — online publication
- Employment (mii_emp)
- Unemployment (mii_une)
- Long-term unemployment (12 months or more) as a percentage of the total unemployment, by sex, age and citizenship (%) (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)
- Employment and self-employment (mii_em)
- Employment rates by sex, age and citizenship (%) (lfsa_ergan)
- Employment rates by sex, age and country of birth (%) (lfsa_ergacob)
- Part-time employment as percentage of the total employment, by sex, age and citizenship (%) (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 citizenship (1 000) (lfsa_esgan)
- Self-employment by sex, age and country of birth (1 000) (lfsa_esgacob)
- Temporary employees as percentage of the total number of employees, by sex, age and citizenship (%) (lfsa_etpgan)
- Temporary employees as percentage of the total number of employees, by sex, age and country of birth (%) (lfsa_etpgacob)
- Unemployment (mii_une)
- European agenda on migration — legislative documents
- Directive 2014/66/EU of 15 May 2014 on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer
- Directive 2011/98/EU of 15 May 2014 on a single application procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State
- Directive 2009/50/EC of 25 May 2009 on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of highly qualified employment, commonly called the ‘Blue card directive’
- Directive 2003/86/EC of 22 September 2003 on the right to family reunification
- Directive 2000/43/EC of 29 June 2000 implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin
- Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation
- ‘Third-countries’ is a synonym for non-member countries, in other words countries outside of the EU.