In 2016 the employment rate of Third Country Nationals (TCNs) was 15.2% points lower than EU citizens, with women and refugees struggling more. Even when employed, TCNs usually work below their qualification and skills (40% of highly educated in employment, compared to 20% of EU natives), they are over represented in some sectors and perform worse in wages, protection and career prospects (Eurostat, EU Labour Force Survey).
The inclusion of TCNs in the labour market is not only key for their effective integration in European societies, but also contributes to Member States economies. However, TCNs in Europe still face strong barriers in accessing the labour market and there is still a mismatch between labour market and migrants’ profiles: stakeholders, including employers, often lack knowledge on TCN’s employment and/or diversity management skills, and sometimes stereotypes and discriminatory practices still persist. On the other hand, comprehensive information, training, employment and guidance support for migrants – able to engage the most vulnerable – are still scarce.
This situation is especially true for those struggling with economic performance and migration: Greece, Italy and Spain are the gateway to Europe (173.000 sea arrivals in 2017, UNHCR). Also here and in other countries, like Austria, populism and discrimination have resurged.
Useful programmes and initiatives are underway to integrate TCNs in the labour market. However, they are still mostly fragmented actions and they need to be intensified, based on multi-stakeholder collaborations and focused on both employers’ engagement and migrants’ overall support (European Dialogue on Skills and Migration 23/05/2017). Local actors (public authorities, social/economic parties, employment services and third sector organisations) need more opportunities to share and implement tailored made, comprehensive and effective intervention models.