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Europe - One in three foreign-born persons overqualified for their jobs

09 December 2011

Over the years, migration has had an impact on the composition of European societies. In 2010, foreign-born persons accounted for 9.4% of the EU27 population. Their socio-economic situation was in general less favourable than for native-born persons, according to the latest data by the Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat).

In 2008 in the entire European Union (EU27), the unemployment rate of foreign-born persons aged 25 to 54 was higher than for native-born persons in this age group (10% compared with 6%). When employed, foreign-born persons often have more difficulties to find a job corresponding to their education level. This can be measured using an over-qualification rate, which refers to the percentage of persons with a high level of education who have a job, which does not correspond to this level. In the EU27 in 2008, foreign-born persons aged 25 to 54 registered a significantly higher over-qualification rate than native-born persons (34% compared with 19%).

Higher rates of unemployment and over-qualification for foreign-born persons

In 2008, the unemployment rate of foreign-born persons aged 25 to 54 was higher than for native-born persons in this age group in all member states for, which data are available, except Greece and Hungary. Particularly high gaps were registered in Belgium (14% for foreign-born compared with 5% for native-born), Sweden (11% and 3%), Finland (11% and 5%), Spain (15% and 9%), France (12% and 6%) and Germany (12% and 6%).

As regards employment, foreign-born persons aged 25 to 54 registered a significantly higher over-qualification rate than native-born persons in 2008 in all member states for which data are available. The difference was particularly marked in Greece (62% for foreign-born compared with 18% for native-born), Italy (50% and 13%), Spain (58% and 31%), Cyprus (53% and 27%), Estonia (47% and 22%) and Sweden (31% and 11%).

One in three foreign-born person aged 25 to 54 at risk of poverty or social exclusion

In 2008 in the EU27, 31% of the foreign-born aged 25 to 54 were assessed to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion, following the criteria set by the Europe 2020 strategy. The native-born registered a lower rate of 20%. This pattern was observed in all member states for which data are available, except Hungary and Lithuania. Particularly high gaps were recorded in Belgium (36% for foreign-born compared with 13% for native born), Sweden (32% and 10%), Greece (45% and 23%), France (34% and 14%), Austria (32% and 13%), Finland (31% and 13%) and Denmark (31% and 13%).

Foreign-born persons are also in a less favourable situation with regard to housing conditions. In 2008 in the EU27, foreign-born persons aged 25 to 54 were more likely to live in overcrowded dwellings than native-born persons (23% compared with 19%). The differences were particularly high in Austria (40% for foreign-born compared with 9% for native born), Greece (49% and 26%), Slovenia (61% and 41%), France (26% and 8%) and Denmark (21% and 6%).

The EU27 includes Belgium (BE), Bulgaria (BG), the Czech Republic (CZ), Denmark (DK), Germany (DE), Estonia (EE), Ireland (IE), Greece (EL), Spain (ES), France (FR), Italy (IT), Cyprus (CY), Latvia (LV), Lithuania (LT), Luxembourg (LU), Hungary (HU), Malta (MT), the Netherlands (NL), Austria (AT), Poland (PL), Portugal (PT), Romania (RO), Slovenia (SI), Slovakia (SK), Finland (FI), Sweden (SE) and the United Kingdom (UK).

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