European Migration Network


Labour Market Integration of Third Country Nationals in EU Member States

We are pleased to inform you that the Synthesis Report for the EMN Study „Labour Market Integration of Third Country Nationals in EU Member States” corresponding Inform and Flash on that issues have been published.


The study aims to provide an overview of existing labour market integration policies in Member States targeting third-country nationals. It focusses on current policies and those either recently implemented (as of 2014) or amended since 2014. It offers examples of promising labour market integration measures implemented by the public sector as well as tailored employment-related initiatives provided by the private sector.

The study focusses on legally-staying third-country nationals permitted to work in the EU Member States, with an emphasis on migrants who are are first generation. These include those with a work permit and also those with the right to work, such as people holding residence permits for family reasons who are also allowed to take up employment. Specific measures only aimed at beneficiaries of international protection, asylum seekers and students/graduates were excluded from this study, as well as measures provided by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) without any (financial) involvement from the Member States. This synthesis report is based on national reports prepared by the EMN National Contact Points (NCPs). National reports are based on data collected via a common template divided into three key sections, namely integration policy with focus on labour market integration policies; state approaches and example measures; and examples of measures implemented by the private sector. It also offers examples of promising measures, identified from existing evaluations or by stakeholder feedback.


Key points to note are following:

1. Effective labour market policies and measures are important tools for Member States to address increasing migration flows and persistent employment gaps between migrant and national populations. According to the ad-hoc module on migration of the Labour Market Survey in 2014, roughly two thirds of third-country nationals who migrated for work to the EU had no job at the time of migrating. While unemployment rates have decreased steadily since 2014, the gap in the unemployment rate between third-country nationals and native- and EU-born remains.

2. Most Member States have dedicated labour market integration policies in place, targeting multiple migrant groups, including newly arrived, first generation third-country nationals who were the focus of this study. These policies are usually integral to Member States’ more general integration policies.

3. The driving forces behind current labour market integration policies tend to be labour shortages and the need to help newcomers into employment quickly so they become self-sufficient. The 20142016 influx of migrants has encouraged many Member States to update existing policies or develop new ones.

4. Member States combine mainstream and tailored labour market integration measures. While mainstream integration measures help to ensure equal access to general (public employment) services, tailored measures can specifically address some of the disadvantages facing newly arrived third-country nationals compared to other groups, including lack of language proficiency and unfamiliarity with the new society.

5. The most common obstacles encountered by Member States in supporting third-country nationals relate to the accreditation of job qualifications/assessment of skills of those arriving from outside the EU, tackling discrimination within recruitment processes and managing varying levels of language skills in integration measures. These difficulties are more pronounced when dealing with migrant women or vulnerable groups.

6. Public sector integration measures focus primarily on the phase prior to accessing employment, including preparing for and finding a job.  Based on examples provided by Member States, these relate most often to the development of (soft) skills, vocational training and qualification and career counselling.

7. The best innovative measures connected migrant and host communities or developed inter-generational bonds by bringing together people of different ages or ethnic groups, not only to ease migrants’ integration into society but also to create social cohesion.

8. Employment centres and non-governmental organisations emerge as key partners in the implementation of labour market integration measures. Most of the measures are financed through national and/or EU funds, but examples exist of privately funded measures, including new tools such as social impact bonds and sponsorship.

9. Private sector measures aim more specifically at integrating (migrant) workers into the workplace. Examples reported were mostly implemented by large companies. They focussed predominantly on training and qualification, counselling and enhancing intercultural relations in the workplace, for example through ‘buddy’ programmes, on-boarding programmes or internal company workshops on intercultural relations.


Synthesis Report for the EMN Study „Labour Market Integration of Third Country Nationals in EU Member States” 

Inform on Labour Market Integration of Third Country Nationals in EU Member States

Flash on Labour Market Integration of Third Country Nationals in EU Member States

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