Labour Market Integration: A Comparative Socio-Economic Analysis of Forced and Voluntary Migrants

Kamal Kassam , German Federal Institute for Population Research

Recently, a growing number of migrants have come to Germany, and the rate of asylum seekers in particular has risen sharply. Developing effective and efficient labour market integration poses, therefore, a real challenge both for migrants themselves and the German society. This paper contributes to the on-going academic debate on labour market integration and provides empirical findings that promote a rethinking of existed migration and labour market policies. In particular, the paper investigates the existence of an ‘integration and outcome gap’ for voluntary and forced migrants in the German labour market. Based on the German Socio-Economic Panel, the likelihood of being employed and in skilled occupation is predicted for migrants and refugees in comparison to Germans and to each other. Following that, differences in average hourly wages are calculated and partly explained through the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition technique. The results show the existence of a gap between native population and migrants (forced and voluntary), most of which can be explained through differences in human capital endowment, such as educational attainment. However, in the case of migrants vs. refugees, in addition to specific characteristics of migration and human capital, a significant part of the remaining gap may be linked to the particularities of forced migration and the situation of refugees in Germany. Intending to help close existing research gap in migration economics, especially from the perspective of forced migration, this paper raises new questions for further economic and political research to be addressed in a European and global context.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 43. Perspectives of Immigration and Their Integration