Young migrants in Europe:opportunities and challenges Anthony Heath University of Oxford
The key questions• What are the major opportunities and challenges for young migrants in Europe in education and employment?• What are the major barriers they face in realizing their full potential for themselves and the wider society?• What policy responses might be considered?
The research base• Extensive cross-national research using OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)• More limited cross-national research on young migrants in the labour market, but see OECD (2010) Equal Opportunities? The labour market integration of the children of immigrants A Heath and Sin Yi Cheung (2007) Unequal Chances: Ethnic minorities in Western Labour markets.
Generational differences• Crucial to distinguish generations and not lump them all together.• Distinguish between the first generation, who arrived as adults, the 1.5 generation who arrived before or during their school years, and the second generation, who were born in the country of destination.• The education of the first generation will reflect the educational opportunities in the country of origin• The education of the 1.5 generation may reflect specific problems with learning a new language or disrupted school careers or different educational standards• The second generation will typically be fluent in the language of the destination country and have domestic qualifications.
Ethnic differencesCrucial to distinguish ethnic groups and not lump them together.• Young migrants from East and South Asia often outperform the majority group in educational attainment.• Migrants from South or East European backgrounds are often relatively disadvantaged.• ‘Postcolonial’ migrants are also somewhat disadvantaged (eg Caribbeans in GB, France or the Netherlands)• Labour migrants (and their children) from less developed countries experience the largest disadvantages.Cross-national comparisons that ignore these differences in the composition of their migrants can be seriously misleading.
Gross/net differences in standardized test scores (Asian background) -0.6 -0.4 -0.2 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8Chinese/E AsianChinese/E AsianChinese/E AsianChinese/E AsianChinese/E Asian Indian/S Asian Indian/S Asian Gross Indian/S Asian Net SE Asian SE Asian Pakistani Iranian Iraqi West Asian
Gross/net differences (European background) -2 -1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 FSU FSU F in n is h D a n is h N o rwe g ia n P o lis h P o lis h E x- Y u g o s la v E x- Y u g o s la v E x- Y u g o s la v E x- Y u g o s la v Gross A lb a n ia n Net Ita lia n / S E u r Ita lia n / S E u r Ita lia n / S E u r Ita lia n / S E u rP o rtu g u e s e / Ib e ria nP o rtu g u e s e / Ib e ria n G re e k W Eur W Eur W Eur
Gross/net differences (LDCs) -1.4 -1.2 -1 -0.8 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 C a rib b e a n C a rib b e a n C a rib b e a n C a rib b e a n S - S A fric a n S - S A fric a n S - S A fric a n S - S A fric a n F ilip in o C h ile a n S A m e ric a n M e xic a n GrossP u e rto R ic a n Net N A fric a n N A fric a n N A fric a n N A fric a n N A fric a n T u rk is h T u rk is h T u rk is h T u rk is h T u rk is h
Explaining these differences: degree of selectivity‘Positive selection’ and ‘immigrant optimism’: migrants, especially those from poorer, more distant countries, tend to be much more ambitious and resourceful (and better educated) than non-migrants remaining in those countries.East Asians are highly ‘positively selected’.Some labour migrants from easily accessed nearby countries are ‘neutrally selected’Very few groups are ‘negatively selected’
Explaining the differences: language barriers• Lack of fluency in the destination country language is the biggest barrier to success in the educational system or labour market• ‘Early arrivals’ who arrived during primary schooling catch up, but ‘late arrivals’ suffer a substantial penalty (equivalent to one year of schooling)• Major implications for future educational and labour market careers
Explaining the differences: school effects• Mixed evidence as to whether ethnically diverse schools have better or worse results.• Compelling evidence that socio-economically deprived schools, which young migrants typically attend, hold their students back• Suggestive evidence that educational systems with early selection and tracking make it more difficult for young migrants to catch up
Young migrants in the labour market: the problem of foreign qualifications• While the 1.5 generation will typically have domestic qualifications, the 1st generation (arrived as adults) will typically have foreign qualifications• Substantial evidence that foreign qualifications yield lower ‘returns’ – ie young migrants with foreign degrees often have to accept non-degree level work
Young migrants in the labour market: the problem of discrimination• Field studies – matched C.V.s but different (majority/minority group) names sent to employers. Rates of positive responses by employers compared (ILO methodology).• Recent field studies in Britain, Sweden, Switzerland (and earlier studies in other European countries) all show net discrimination against applicants with recognizably minority names.
Young migrants in the labour market – bridging and bonding social capital• Bonding social capital brings many socio- emotional benefits,• But growing evidence (from Netherlands and Germany) that bridging social capital helps migrants advance in the labour market• Provides access to the networks (and information) of the majority group – especially important for finding out about job opportunities
A special case – asylum seekers• Often not allowed to work while application is being considered – hence additional burden of lack of training and work experience if they are granted leave to remain
Policy challenges• Importance of teaching the destination- country language• The problems faced by ‘late arrivals’• The problems faced by young people with foreign qualifications• The problems faced by visible minorities from discrimination• The problems faced by lack of bridging social contacts/information
Policy responsesProvide free, intensive language teaching, especially for late arrivals and adult arrivalsProvide ‘second chance’ upper secondary/tertiary education for young migrants who have needed to catch upProvide ‘second chance’ access to vocational training for those with foreign qualificationsEnforce existing anti-discrimination legislation more vigorouslyProvide facilities, eg youth and sports clubs, that might facilitate bridging.
But also remember• The drive and motivation of young migrants brings great opportunities to the receiving countries. Giving full scope to this drive and motivation will benefit us all.• Greater flexibility in adapting our institutional arrangements to the needs of young migrants will often be all that is needed