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

Benign Neglect? Policies to Support Upward Mobility for Immigrants in the United Kingdom

Immigrants to the United Kingdom, a popular destination for migrants from within and outside the European Union, benefit from the country’s flexible labor market and skills system with multiple points of entry. But the United Kingdom’s “work-first” approach to professional development, coupled with limited opportunities to advance into middle-skilled jobs, has left many immigrants stuck on the lowest rung of the ladder.

This report assesses how effectively integration policies in the United Kingdom are helping migrants advance into middle-skilled jobs from low-skilled work or unemployment, focusing in particular on employment services, ESOL, and vocational training. The author then discusses the ways that other policies and contextual factors often undermine migrants’ entry into the labor market and progression out of low-skilled jobs, including cuts to welfare programs, difficulty navigating a complex and ever-changing workforce development system, and low demand for training in some sectors, particularly those with high turnover.