Click to expand the sections below and learn more about EU's work on migrant integration.
The inclusion of legally-residing third-country nationals in the labour market is key to ensuring their effective integration in host societies and their positive impact on social cohesion and the EU economy. This entails the full use of the skills that third-country nationals bring and supporting them to realise their potential.
Migrants can also contribute to addressing skills and labour shortages in certain sectors, at all skills levels, as well to balancing the effects of the ageing population and declining working-age population.
Still, third-country nationals have worse labour market outcomes than EU nationals. For example, the average employment rate of third-country nationals residing in the EU was 59.3 percent in 2018, compared to 73.9 percent among EU nationals. Gender gaps in employment are larger among third-country nationals than among EU nationals, on average.
Supporting migrants so that they learn the language, get their educational and professional skills validated or recognised and receive adequate orientation and training to access the labour market is essential for their overall integration and for the receiving societies as well.
Skills validation and the recognition of qualifications and academic diplomas are key issues. Among highly educated third-country nationals in employment, more than 40 percent work below their qualification levels (i.e. in low- or medium-skilled jobs). Member States and the European Union as a whole — as well as economic stakeholders — have both an interest and a responsibility to put all skills in their territory to a good use.
- Skills profiling tool to map the skills, qualifications and work experiences of third-country nationals and to give them personalised advice on further steps in their employment or education path
- Repository of promising practices for labour market integration and social inclusion of asylum seekers and refugees across EU Member States
Employers Together for Integration
On 23 May 2017, the European Commission launched the initiative Employers Together for Integration to give visibility at the European level to what employers are doing to support the integration of refugees and other migrants into the labour market.
This initiative is complementary to the European Alliance for Apprenticeships to strengthen the quality, supply and image of apprenticeships across Europe.
European Partnership for Integration
The Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen and European social and economic partners signed the European Partnership for Integration on 20 December 2017. This partnership includes commitments by the Commission and social and economic partners to foster the integration of refugees in the labour market.
The Europe 2020 Strategy identifies that better integration of migrants contributes towards reaching the target of a 75 percent employment rate of the population aged 20-64. Indeed, given the share of migrants in the working-age population in the EU, this employment target cannot be reached without increasing migrants’ labour market participation. Closing the employment gap between third-country nationals and native citizens would translate into almost 3 million more people in employment.
The European Semester covers issues of educational attainment, starting from early childhood education and care, to school, vocational training, higher education and adult learning, as well as issues of poverty, social exclusion and labour market matters. The main steps of the European Semester include the adoption of the Joint Employment Report (JER) as part of the autumn package of the European Semester, the presentation of the Country Reports, analysing Member States’ policies and published each winter, and the Country-specific recommendations published in the spring.
Transnational projects financed under the AMIF on labour market integration
The European Commission is supporting under the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund several projects to support labour market integration of migrants. You can find more information about the projects here.
For more information about current funding opportunities visit our funding pages.
Education and training are among the most powerful tools for integration, and their access should be ensured and promoted as early as possible. The acquisition of basic skills is the foundation for further learning and the gateway to employment and social inclusion. Learning the language of the destination country is crucial for third-country nationals. All children, regardless of their family or cultural background or gender, have the right to education to further their development.
Culture can be a means for refugees and other migrants to meet, communicate with and become part of their new communities. By bringing people together, building communities and fighting attitudes of xenophobia and racism, sport has the potential to make an important contribution to the integration of migrants in the EU.
Refugee children may have had a break in their education or not been able to go to school at all, therefore require tailored support. Education and training practitioners need the necessary skills to assist learners with a migrant background and should be supported in their work in increasingly diverse and multilingual classrooms. Supporting teachers and school leaders is also important to prevent early school leaving, underachievement and educational segregation.
Early childhood education and care is fundamental for the integration of families and children from third countries. It plays an essential role in learning to live together in heterogeneous societies and in acquiring linguistic competences.
Find more on how the EU approaches migrant integration through:
Integration is not just about learning the language, finding a house or getting a job. It is also about playing an active role in one’s local, regional and national community and developing and sustaining personal contacts through social, cultural and sports activities and political engagement. The involvement of third-country nationals in the design and implementation of integration policies is essential to improving their social participation and integration outcomes.
Read more about social inclusion in rural areas.
Access to adequate and affordable housing is a basic condition for third-country nationals to start their lives in new societies, but it presents a major challenge in the context of the recent arrivals of people seeking international protection. This challenge is present both in the initial reception phase and when finding long-term housing solutions that still facilitate adequate chances of employment. While responsibility over housing policies is a national competence, the Commission supports Member States in facing the immediate accommodation challenges related to increased refugee inflows and by helping to fund adequate and affordable social housing.
Evidence shows that ill health and lack of access to health services can be a fundamental and ongoing obstacle to integration, with an impact on virtually all areas of life and shaping the ability to enter employment, education, language learning and interacting with public institutions.
Supporting evidence-based policies requires close monitoring of integration outcomes of immigrants over time and across countries, as well as specific topical analysis of developments in integration policies. The EU supports this through EU indicators and data, analyses by Commission services (including the Joint Research Centre), associated agencies (such as the Fundamental Rights Agency and Eurofound) and research and innovation actions co-funded under the Horizon 2020 programme.
In addition, EWSI publishes analyses of situation and policy developments in specific areas, including:
- What can we expect from the new European Parliament on integration?
- The integration of migrant women
- Migrant health across Europe
- Comparative analysis of voluntary and citizens’ initiatives before and after 2015
- Immigrant housing in Europe
Sources of data and research at EU level
- EWSI's migrant indicators page
- OECD-EU Settling In report – Indicators of immigrant integration 2018
- Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography (KCMD)
- 2018 Survey on the integration of immigrants in the European Union
- Eurostat migrant integration statistics
- European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
- European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound)
Horizon 2020 research projects on integration: