Double Jeopardy: How Refugees Fare in One European Labor Market

TitleDouble Jeopardy: How Refugees Fare in One European Labor Market
Publication TypeInternational peer-reviewed journal article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLens, D., Marx I., & Vujič S.
JournalIZA Journal of Development and Migration
Publication LanguageEnglish

This paper examines the labor market trajectories of refugees who arrived in Belgium between 1999 and 2009. Belgium offers a relatively easy formal labor market access to refugees and other types of migrants but they face many other barriers in this strongly regulated and institutionalized labor market. Based on a longitudinal dataset that links respondents’ information from the Belgian Labor Force Survey with comprehensive social security data on their work histories, we estimate discrete-time hazard models to analyze refugees’ entry into and exit out of the first employment spell, contrasting their outcomes with family and labor migrants of the same arrival cohort. The analysis shows that refugees take significantly longer to enter their first employment spell as compared with other migrant groups. They also run a greater risk of exiting out of their first employment spell (back) into social assistance and into unemployment. The low employment rates of refugees are thus not only due to a slow integration process upon arrival, but also reflect a disproportional risk of exiting the labor market after a period in work. Our findings indicate that helping refugees into a first job is not sufficient to ensure labor market participation in the long run, because these jobs may be short-lived. Instead, our results provide clear arguments in favor of policies that support sustainable labor market integration.

Keywordsdiscrete-time hazard models; labor market integration; longitudinal research; refugees
Citation Key6461
Universiteit Antwerpen - University of Antwerp
Centrum voor Sociaal Beleid © 2005 - 2020