Who profits from Germany’s culture of welcome? The impact of changing opportunity structures on labour market integration of new immigrants

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
C3.17 (Oudemanhuispoort)
Andreas Ette , Federal Institute for Population Research
Rabea Mundil-Schwarz , Federal Statistical Office
Lenore Sauer , Federal Institute for Population Research
As many industrialised countries will be affected in the next few decades by the consequences of demographic change, governments increasingly tap into the source of immigrants as a chance to meet their labour market needs. Whereas previously, the labour market performance of immigrants has been an issue of societal justice, it now moved to the centre of political attention because it directly affects the countries future economic well-being. Germany, for example, has started to fundamentally reform its immigration and integration policies over the past decade in order to improve the economic gains of migration. Little information exists, however, on the impact of those changing opportunity structures on the labour market integration of newcomers. Traditionally, the issue of how immigrants fare in their host countries has been studied either from an intergenerational perspective – comparing different generations of immigrants – or from an individual perspective – analysing trajectories of migrants’ labour market integration. Studies concentrating on the trend of labour market integration, instead, are largely missing and the paper, for the first time, analyses how recent institutional changes have affected the performance of newcomers. Based on Microcensus data from 1996-2010, the paper investigates the converging labour market integration of natives compared to new immigrants. It accounts for those trends by referring to human and social capital theories. Additionally, it integrates institutional variables by separating two groups of new immigrants – nationals from EU member states and third countries – whose access to the labour market has been affected in fundamentally different ways by recent policy reforms.