The Labour Market Integration of New Immigrants in Europe: Analysis and Policy Evaluation

Slow Motion: The Labour Market Integration of New Immigrants in France

France’s labor market can be hostile to new entrants, whether recently arrived immigrants or young people seeking their first jobs. Restrictions on foreign nationals working in the public sector, stringent requirements for certain jobs, and occupational ladders that are difficult to penetrate at later points together effectively cut off many jobs to newly arrived immigrants. Meanwhile, the fact that France has significantly larger proportions of family-driven migration than labor migration has meant that the new arrivals, by virtue of not having been selected because of their skills, often have low educational attainment, which can put them at risk of unemployment.

This report assesses the labor market outcomes of new immigrants to France, based on French Labor Force survey data. It reveals that immigrants who arrived from 2000 onwards fared badly in the first few years after arrival, but improved their labor market outcomes over time. One year after arrival, approximately half of immigrants were active in the labor market, but after nine years in France, their activity rates almost equaled those of native workers. However, their employment rates were more than 10 percentage points lower than native workers in 2011, providing evidence of some persistent structural obstacles to labor market success.