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Inclusion of migrant women in the labour market

In this 2015 opinion, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) of the European Commission draws attention to the specific employment challenges migrant women face in Europe. Migrant women in Europe are a large and diverse group. They may migrate to Europe in order to rejoin family members or because they are refugees or asylum seekers. Others come to Europe for economic reasons. They may arrive with or without a residence permit and with varying levels of qualifications. The opinion therefore highlights some differing labour market challenges that migrant women may confront, depending on their legal status.

The opinion concludes that participating in the labour market is one of the most effective and practical ways of integrating migrant women into society. The opinion states that, in order to improve their labour market participation, immigrant women need support and guidance through their integration process. Immigrant women must be informed of their rights and obligations in the host society, enjoy individual rights, have access to training, be able to take full advantage of their skills and be recognised for the contribution they make to Europe’s economy and society.

In addition, the opinion lists numerous recommendations for European institutions, EU Member States and social partners (e.g. trade unions). Among other recommendations, the opinion asks:

  • European institutions to take efforts to consider the needs of migrant women in policy-making and to continue monitoring policy implementation in this respect;
  • EU Member States to put in place clear, ambitious objectives for integrating women migrants and to facilitate their entry into the labour market, while avoiding pitfalls like de-skilling (for example, taking a job for which one is overqualified due to inability to have qualifications or experiences earned abroad recognised); and
  • Social partners to ensure that aspects specific to migrant women are incorporated more effectively into the European Commission's social dialogue work programme and to facilitate the recognition of women migrants' qualifications in collective agreements.

Source: European Economic and Social Committee