From Refugees to WorkersMapping Labour-Market Integration Support Measuresfor Asylum Seekers and Refugees in EU Member StatesVolume I: Comparative Analysis and Policy Findings

From Refugees to WorkersMapping Labour-Market Integration Support Measuresfor Asylum Seekers and Refugees in EU Member StatesVolume I: Comparative Analysis and Policy FindingsIván Martín, Albert Arcarons, Jutta Aumüller,Pieter Bevelander, Henrik Emilsson, Sona Kalantaryan,Alastair MacIver, Isilda Mara, Giulia Scalettaris,Alessandra Venturini, Hermine Vidovic, Inge van der Welle,Michael Windisch, Rebecca Wolffberg, Aslan Zorlu

This study has been produced by the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) at the Robert Schuman Centre forAdvanced Studies of the European University Institute in Florence (EUI). The MPC produces advancedpolicy-oriented research on global migration, asylum and mobility to serve migration governanceneeds at European and global levels, from developing, implementing and monitoring migrationrelated policies to assessing their impact on the wider economy and society.

ContentsPreface: Work is key for integration to work6Executive summary8I. Introduction111. A European Challenge112. Scope and aims of the study123. Rationale for the labour market integration of recent refugees144. The labour market integration of refugees and asylum seekers:evidence and literature reviewII. Summary of country case studies16211. Austria212. Denmark233. France264. Germany295. Italy316. Netherlands337. Spain358. Sweden379. The United Kingdom39III. C omparative analysis, lessons learned and prospects1. Different legal and policy approaches to labour market integration of refugees42422. Common challenges across EU Member States433. Elements for analysis of REFMISMES and success factors444. From REFMISMES inventory to policy conclusions?505. Further research needs52References53The authors55Imprint585

Preface: Work is key for integration to workThe large number of refugees and migrants arriving inPopulation ageing and shrinking will inevitably gainEurope has given the continent a historic challenge and hasmomentum in the coming decades, threatening Europe’stested the European Union’s cohesion and decision-makingcapacity to keep its economies strong and its welfareability. We still do not know whether Europe can rise to thissystems sustainable. Migrants are already, and willmultidimensional challenge. Securing Europe’s borders,increasingly be, needed to replace missing natives. In thatsetting up resettlement programmes with neighbouringsense, refugees have arrived in Europe at an opportunestates and agreeing on a fair distribution of refugees withinmoment. Some conditions are necessary, however, forthe Union – these are just some of the crucial and difficulttheir successful economic and social integration. Creativetasks ahead. Equally important and challenging are thepolicy frameworks must be designed for employing refugeessteps to be taken within our economies and societies: toin a way that benefits rather than harms locals, publicfacilitate the arrival of the newcomers, to integrate theiropinion must be prepared for a multicultural, multi-ethnic,children into our education systems, to integrate thosemultireligious society, and last but not least, refugeeswho can work into our labour markets – and to maintainmust express their willingness to integrate into their newand foster the willingness of the host society to help andEuropean homes.welcome those in need.The present study, “From refugees to workers: MappingThese challenges are with us; they cannot be ignored orlabour market integration support measures for asylumtalked away. We need a spirit of pragmatism and action,seekers and refugees in EU Member States”, exploresdriven by a sense of urgency, while taking the long-termto what extent the first of the above three conditions iseffects of today’s decisions into account. We need to start bybeing met. What are the policies that specifically addressrecognising that many refugees will stay with us and mustrefugee labour market integration and to what extent arebe quickly integrated into our labour markets and the fabricpolicies put into practice on the ground? Nine EU Memberof our societies.States were selected according to three criteria: therelative weight of refugees in the resident population, theIt is time to turn what is too often considered a burdenexistence of a tradition of integrating migrants and theirinto an asset and to look for opportunities in the presentdemographic weight. The nine countries were Austria,situation. While it is true that European labour marketsDenmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain,are still suffering from high levels of unemployment, atSweden and the United Kingdom. A comparative reviewthe same time there are jobs available. Moreover, Europe isand detailed analysis of close to a hundred measuresconfronted with an ineluctable demographic predicament.adopted in these countries was carried out, providing a6

Preface: Work is key for integration to workunique basis of knowledge for informed policy-making andhelping to identify what strategies work and which do not.The analysis in this study points to the need for increasedmultilevel coordination, the conditions for success ofprivate-public partnerships, evidence for the effectivenessof introduction programmes and the adequate sequence ofwork integration and language learning.This is a starting point. Legislators act along policy linesat Member State level, but in many regards the decisiveproblem-solving actors in the field of migrant integrationare to be found at the local level – from employers tomayors and fellow citizens. Moreover, nine Member Statescannot fully represent the EU-28. Finally, the inventory ofpolicies and practices in the present study does not tell uswhat the outcomes will be in terms of efficiently integratingrefugees and avoiding unintended side effects. The aim ofthis report is hence to provide recommendations that canguide policy actions. Such policy actions will then need tobe accompanied by further research to monitor their impacton both the refugees and their hosts. For Europe to rise tothe current challenge, bringing refugees into work will beessential. Work is key for integration to work. With thisstudy we hope to provide the evidence needed to decide onsound policy measures in that direction.Aart De Geus,Chairman Executive Board,Bertelsmann StiftungPhilippe Fargues,Director, Migration Policy Centre,European University Institute7

Executive summaryPolicy context provide an up-to-date and structured overview ofdifferent types of labour market integration supportAn extraordinary flow. According to Eurostat figures,measures for refugees (REFMISMES), programmes and1.3 million men, women and children (1,260,000 of theminitiatives for refugees and asylum seekers, includingfirst-time asylum seekers) claimed asylum in Europe inmeasures by civil society and private actors (such as2015, more than double the number in 2014, more thanNGOs, employers, etc.);three times the number in 2013 and by far the highest inthe last 70 years. Whether or not this trend will continue identify and discuss good practices and lessons learned(and there are indications that, in one way or another, itin the different countries as well as contextual factorswill for some time), all analysts agree that a large shareinfluencing the effectiveness of different measures.of these asylum seekers will settle in Europe for good (in2015, 52% of total asylum applications resulted in positiveoutcomes, and a standard policy assumption is that at leasthalf of the total number of asylum seekers will remain).Key findingsThere is also a wide consensus that the way they integrateinto the labour market, and the time they take to do so, willGeneral policy trend. In general, it can be stated that,determine the long-term impact of this inflow of migrantsregardless of the political stance concerning the arrivalon the European economy (whether they are ultimately anof new asylum seekers (a field where many countries areinjection of fresh blood or largely a burden for Europeantaking an increasingly restrictive approach), for thoseeconomies), as well as the chances of social and economicasylum seekers who are already in the country, policies areintegration in European societies.generally being put in place to facilitate their integrationinto the labour market (with some notable exceptionssuch as France and the United Kingdom). However, evenStudy aimsin countries aiming to support the rapid labour marketintegration of asylum seekers, the administrative obstaclesremain huge, and often render the legal provisions void.Objectives of the study. The overall objective of this studyis to identify the policies and practices being implementedCommon challenges and patterns. One first conclusionin different EU Member States to facilitate the labourstands out clearly from the comparative analysis of themarket integration of recent refugees and asylum seekers,nine country case studies: despite the differences in sociali.e. those having arrived in the respective country in thecontexts, labour market structures and support measures,last year. An analysis is then carried out in a comparativethe challenges, policy trade-offs and choices involved in theperspective. The study is based on nine brief country caselabour market integration of refugees and asylum seekersstudies of EU Member States, namely: Austria, Denmark,(the key questions emerging from the country case studies)France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden andare relatively similar across countries. There is, then,the United Kingdom. More specifically, the study aims to:very real scope for mutual learning, cooperation and evenEurope-wide solutions. review the legal and policy framework concerning labourmarket access of recent refugees and asylum seekers;8

Executive summaryConverging policy response. The 94 REFMISMES identifiedour REFMISMES inventory particularly difficult. In anyand analysed in the nine country case studies (see Appendixcase, there is a desperate need for coordination across10 of Volume II for details on each of them) suggest thegovernment levels and between actors.emergence of a kind of “standard” package, the emerging“conventional wisdom” perhaps, in the field of labourNeed for specific, tailor-made measures. One consensualmarket integration support measures for refugees andfinding emerging from the discussion of the country caseasylum seekers. The four key elements of this package are:studies is that asylum seekers and refugees have specific1) early skills assessment; 2) “introduction” programmeneeds, profiles and incentive structures which explainincluding general cultural orientation, but sometimes alsotheir systematic underperformance in the labour marketsocio-professional orientation and even some training; 3)in relation not only to the population in general, butintensive language courses; and 4) access to general jobalso to other migrants. Their labour market integrationintermediation services. This “model of intervention” isrequires, therefore, targeted, specific support measures.rarely questioned, and should be subject to testing andThe “mainstreaming” of refugees, i.e. their referral tocloser analysis to ensure that there are no better policythe general active labour market policies and supportoptions or policy mixes. One recurrent issue, however, ismeasures offered by public institutions to national workerswhether REFMISMES are more supply-driven or outcome-is not enough, even if this is the most widespread policyoriented, i.e. to determine the extent to which they areimplemented so far in this field.offered and implemented regardless of any evidence of theiractual impact.Early intervention has a positive impact on labour marketintegration. At the same time, in line with all formerSuccess factors difficult to identify. As noted before, theresearch and unanimous expert opinion, the country casechallenges and policy-response patterns across the surveyedstudies endorse the principle that the sooner supportEU Member States are structurally similar. However, it ismeasures occur, the faster labour market integrationdifficult to draw any conclusion or lesson on the effectivenesswill take place. The legal obstacles to the labour marketof different kinds of REFMISMES or the failure or successparticipation of asylum seekers in many Member States is,factors that emerge from policy practice. The first reason isthen, counterproductive. It is important, instead, to removethat, in most cases, the REFMISMES are too recent for anythe administrative and objective obstacles which preventconclusions about their implementation to be drawn. To thismany refugees from joining the labour market, even onceextent, only Sweden and to a lesser extent Denmark (and in athey are legally entitled to do so. In particular, the labourminor way Germany and Austria) provide a sufficient body ofmarket tests that asylum seekers must pass to take a job intime-tested evidence allowing for policy recommendations.some countries (like France and the UK) run counter to theIn this regard, the analysis of the literature on formerrationale of considering them as part of the national labourresearch of these experiences is crucial (see Section I.4market.and, at greater length, Volume II of this study). But evenwhen REFMISMES have already been implemented overa reasonable period of time, in most countries there is nosystematic follow-up and impact evaluation of those policyPolicy pointersinterventions, preventing researchers and policymakersfrom drawing policy conclusions. This points to anotherPolicy recommendations hard to draw, but mutualclear need: the systematic generation and the collection oflearning possible. The nine-country REFMISMES inventoryinformation and the evaluation of policies should be the firstcannot translate into clear-cut policy recommendations atstep for an evidence-based policy – something which hasthis stage. It is too early (in most of the countries analysed,rarely been attempted for these projects.systematic implementation of labour market integrationsupport measures is less than a year old), and too littleFragmentation of REFMISMES. The general overview ofis known about them. But there is comparability, bothREFMISMES, described in each of the countries studied,in terms of the structural challenges faced (see Sectionshows a high degree of fragmentation and a thorough lackII.1) and in terms of the policy response to them (Sectionof coordination in their implementation. There are tooII.2). This policy convergence allows for mutual cross-many actors taking initiatives and intervening at a local,country learning at least at two levels: first, learning fromregional and national level without any kind of coherentthose countries, in particular Sweden and Denmark, whichstrategy or actual exchange of information. This has madehave a long track record of labour market integration9

Executive summarysupport measures for refugees; second, putting in placeknowledge and exchange platform might work not onlymechanisms which allow for the rapid dissemination ofas a lever for exchanges among practitioners, but it couldpromising initiatives.also serve as a disseminator of information and analysisinitiatives in this field including the evaluation of practicesMore information required. Another common element toand the development of policy guides. In addition, in someall country case studies is the emphasis on the gap betweenfields, such as the recognition of qualifications or the freeavailable and collected information on refugees (bothmovement of workers, the EU legal framework provides aindividually and as a group) and the information requiredpotential venue for EU-wide initiatives. Last but not least,to design effective labour market integration measures andthough EU funding covers only a small part of the total costpolicies. In order to ensure a learning curve across Europeof the refugee crisis (including labour market integrationon this key development, more systematic collection ofmeasures), the European Commission has a leverage ininformation on actions is needed. However, there is also aspreading basic standards on policy practices, the collectionneed for the more systematic evaluation (in terms of impactof information and evaluation of programmes andand cost-effectiveness) of all those actions, and a specificfollow-up on beneficiaries. These are all key dimensionsfollow-up of labour market outcomes for this specific groupfor an effective and efficient labour market integrationof workers.equation for refugees.Increase of resources commensurate with the social andFurther research needs. As stated in the introduction, theeconomic stakes required. In any case, some preliminarypresent study was conceived only as a first step aiming toconclusions can be drawn from this exercise. First, moreinventory existing REFMISMES in a number of EU Memberresources – financial, human and institutional – need toStates and for undertaking a very preliminary analysis ofbe dedicated to promoting the labour market integrationthe same. But there is much that can be done in terms ofof refugees and asylum seekers. Even if all countries haveresearch to better policies in this field:approved successive budget increases in the last year or so,the available resources are not up to the magnitude of the There is an acute need for more data and more informationeconomic, social and even political stakes. Extraordinaryon refugees and asylum seekers, on their qualificationschallenges require extraordinary responses.and skills as well as on their personal and professionalprofile and on their spatial distribution (in relation to theNeed for multilevel governance mechanisms. Thedistribution of labour demand across the labour market).dispersion and fragmentation of labour market integrationThis can only be done through representative surveys ofsupport measures for refugees and asylum seekerscurrent and past refugees: the surveys carried out to datehighlights the need for powerful multilevel governanceamong refugees have been too partial and too scattered.mechanisms to deal with current challenges in anintegrated way (and this might also include the European There is also a need for more tracking studies oflevel). Labour market and more generally social integrationrefugees, following up their professional records andof refugees and asylum seekers takes place at a local level,their labour market outcomes over time.and initiatives to facilitate that process are often taken andimplemented by local and regional actors. However, asylum Finally, there is a need for more REFMISMESpolicy is largely national, and this creates a tension that has(comparative) case studies, deeper and wider analysisto be addressed with appropriate exchange of information,and more detailed analysis of different kinds of labourcoordination mechanisms and integration across integration support measures. It would beextremely useful to extend the comparative country caseScope for EU-wide action. Integration is definitely aapproach of these studies to more EU Member States,local process and labour markets largely operate at localbut also to non-EU countries with different but relevantor national level, rather than at EU level (even if there isexperiences of integrating refugees into their laboura trend in this direction). However, from the analysis andmarket.discussion carried out throughout this study, a few linesof potential EU action emerged. Indeed, the EU is theREFMISMES and their impact on labour market integrationappropriate level to establish an information exchangeof refugees may seem technical but it will prove key inplatform and to develop a pool of knowledge to improveEurope’s future.policy practice for all Member States. This EU-wide10

I. Introduction1. A European Challengethem have secondary education and between 30 and 40% areilliterate or have only primary schooling.According to Eurostatfigures1,1.3 million men, women andchildren (1,260,000 of them first-time asylum seekers)In terms of country of application, Figure 1 provides aclaimed asylum in Europe in 2015, more than double thesummary for the main EU Member States for 2015. A totalnumber in 2014, more than three times the number inof 476,510 applied for asylum in Germany (36%). Next came2013 and a by far the highest in the last 70 years. WhetherHungary and Sweden with more than 177,000 and moreor not this trend will continue (and there are indicationsthan 160,000 applications respectively, Austria and Italythat, in one way or another, it will for some time), allwith more than 80,000 and France with more than 75,000.analysts agree that a large share of these asylum seekerswill settle in Europe for good (in 2015, 52% of total asylumOf course, the degree of pressure varies greatly dependingapplications resulted in positive outcomes, and a standardon total population. In terms of ratio between asylumpolicy assumption is that at least half of the total number ofapplications received and the population, the averageasylum seekers will remain). There is also a wide consensusEU ratio was 260 per 100,000 habitants for the wholethat the way they integrate into the labour market, andEU. However, in terms of individual countries, Hungarythe time they take to do so, will determine the long-termreceived 1,799 applications per 100,000 habitants (1.8%),impact of this inflow of migrants on the European economySweden 1,667 (1.67%), Austria 1,027 (1%), Finland 591 and(whether they are ultimately an injection of fresh blood orGermany 587 per 100,000 habitants, against 32 for Spainlargely a burden for European economies), as well as theand Poland and 60 for the UK, 114 for France and 120 forchances of social and economic integration in EuropeanItaly and Greece (see Figure 2). Of course, in terms of thesocieties.labour market’s absorption capacity, other variables suchas the unemployment rate, the demographic dynamics inParadoxically, despite the high stakes, not much is knowneach country and the number of refugees and migrantsabout these asylum seekers. In terms of nationality,already present in the country, but also social attitudesaccording to Eurostat, the largest groups come from Syriatowards migration should be taken into account. However,(29% of the total), Afghanistan (14%) and Iraq (10%); 83%the choice of country of application seems to be determinedof them were under 35, i.e. with the largest part of theirlargely by the perceived chances of finding a job in theactive life ahead of them, with 53% being between 18 and 34respective countries and by refugee acceptance policiesyears of age; 80% of this younger group were men, whereas– social attitudes towards emigration in the differentamong older applicants (35–64) men made up roughly twocountries (as measured, for instance, in the European Socialthirds and women one third. But, as this study and theSurvey) seems not to be a case studies suggest, there is no systematic dataon their level of education or professional experience, a keyIn any case, regardless of the geographical distributionvariable for planning any labour market integration supportof asylum applications, it is clear that this is largely ameasure. Available evidence indicates that up to 15% of theEuropean challenge, even if the first order policy responsenew asylum seekers have tertiary education, around 50% ofto it is largely national and sub-national, as seen in the ninecountry case studies carried out for this study. The ained/index.php/File:Asylum applications (non-EU) in the EU-28 MemberStates, 2005-15 (%C2%B9) (thousands) YB16.png.section of the study will also touch upon the extent to whichthere is scope for a Europe-wide answer not only in relation11

IntroductionFIGURE 1 Asylum applications received in 2015 (total number and % of total number of applications (left FinlandUnited triaSwedenHungaryGermany0.0% of total population (right axis)Source: Eurostat /index.php/Asylum statistics).to flow management (the arrival and reception of asylumObjectives. The study is based on nine brief country caseseekers), but also in relation to labour market integrationstudies of EU Member States selected on the basis ofpolicies.the number of refugees hosted and their proportion as apercentage of total population, but also of country sizeAfter the first shock of the arrival and reception of more(and hence participation in the ongoing EU relocationthan one million new immigrants, in 2015 (whateverscheme), tradition of integration of refugees and balancetheir legal status), governments and societies had toof countries across the EU. The countries selected were:face the much more lasting challenge of facilitating theirAustria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands,smooth integration in their societies. Here, labour marketSpain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Because of resourceintegration is the key lever for it. As this report will show,limitations and a tight deadline (the whole study has beenmany initiatives have already been taken and substantialimplemented in four months), this is just a first approachresources mobilised, often without the necessary planningto the issue identifying directions and requirements foror knowledge to ensure their success. A first stocktakingfurther research, as well as first lessons in this relativelyof the impact and effectiveness of these measures andnew policy area.the search for good practices would markedly increase thechances of succeeding in this European challenge.More specifically, the study aims to: review the legal and policy framework concerning labourmarket access of recent refugees and asylum seekers;2. Scope and aims of the study provide an up-to-date and structured overview ofIn this context, the overall objective of the study is todifferent types of labour market integration supportidentify the policies and practices being implemented inmeasures for refugees (REFMISMES), programmes anddifferent EU Member States to facilitate the labour marketinitiatives for refugees and asylum seekers, includingintegration of recent refugees and asylum seekers (i.e.measures by civil society and private actors (such asthose who have arrived in the country in the last year) andNGOs, employers, etc.);to analyse them in a comparative perspective.12

Introduction identify and discuss good practices and lessons learnedmeasures clearly have an impact on the labour marketin the different countries, as well as contextual factorsintegration of refugees and asylum seekers, but they areaffecting the effectiveness of different measures.more concerned with their legal and social integrationrather than their labour market integration.Target group. In terms of the group analysed, the study willcover all phases of international protection:Types of REFMISMES Refugees, i.e. beneficiaries of international protectionwho have been granted refugee status or subsidiaryFor the sake of analysis, labour market integrationprotection status. According to the EU recastsupport measures for refugees and asylum seekers haveQualification Directive, those persons are authorised “tobeen classified, in relation to their field of intervention, inengage in employed or self-employed activities subjectthe following categories:to rules generally applicable to the profession and the public service, immediately after protection has beenSKILLS AND NEEDS ASSESSMENTgranted”2. Asylum seekers who have applied for internationalSKILLS DEVELOPMENTprotection. According to the 2013 recast of the Reception Language coursesConditions Directive, “Member States shall ensure that Access to vocational education and training (VET) andfurther educationapplicants have access to the labour market no laterthan 9 months from the date when the application for Persons in need of international protection. To Access to traineeships, apprenticeships andinternshipsand the delay cannot be attributed to the applicant”3. Specific professional skills development programmesfor labour market integrationinternational protection was lodged if a first instancedecision by the competent authority has not been taken Skills and qualifications assessment and profiling Promotion of entrepreneurship Mentoringthe extent applicable, prospective applicants forinternational protection (for instance those temporarilyJOB INTERMEDIATIONin transit in a Member State) who may benefit from Labour counselling and professional orientationsome form of tolerated access to the labour market, Access to labour market information, job matchingand placement serviceseven in the informal sector, or some support measurethat might contribute to their future labour marketintegration.RECOGNITION OF SKILLS AND QUALIFICATIONS returnable” refused asylum seekers who remain legally Validation and certification of skills (includinginformal and non-formal skills) “Tolerated” (in Germany) or other categories of “non- Recognition of qualificationsin the State’s territory.INCENTIVES FOR ECONOMIC INTEGRATIONDefinition of REFMISMES. For the purposes of our study, or future labour market integration of refugees or asylumseekers. REFMISMES here do not include support measures Support for self-employment and entrepreneurshipamong refugeesREFMISMES are measures aimed at supporting the current Incentives for employment of refugees or asylumseekerssuch as housing provision, cash

Alessandra Venturini, Hermine Vidovic, Inge van der Welle, Michael Windisch, Rebecca Wolffberg, Aslan Zorlu. This study has been produced by the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European Universi