Migrant adults less likely to be employed in Germany — OECD | World| Breaking news and perspectives from around the globe | DW | 11.09.2018
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Migrant adults less likely to be employed in Germany — OECD

Whether migrants to Germany are able to find a job seems to depend heavily on what age they arrived here. The OECD reports that past a certain age, child migrants will be much more likely to fall behind.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published its extensive annual education study on Tuesday. "Education at a Glance" covers the state of education around the world, including the 36 OECD countries, as well as a number of partner countries such as China, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.

The report reveals that in most OECD countries, foreign-born adults are more likely to be neither employed nor in education or training (NEET). Austria and Germany are the two countries with the largest differences in the share of NEETs among foreign-born and indigenous 15-29 year-olds: In Germany, 24 percent of foreign-born 15-29 year-olds are NEET, compared with 7 percent of German native 15-29 year-olds.

Read more: Germany's planned immigration law – what you need to know

Early arrival boosts employment chances

Foreign-born adults with a tertiary-level education who arrived in Germany by the age of 15 have a similar high employment rate to their native-born peers (both around 90 percent). But only 76 percent of those who arrived in Germany at the age of 16 or older have jobs.

Among foreign-born young adults who arrived in Germany at the age of 16 or older, one-third (32 percent) are NEET, compared with only 11 percent of those who arrived by the age of 15.

Read more: Germany debates fate of integrated migrants denied asylum

Native German adults more likely to find employment in Germany

University-educated foreign-born adults have lower employment rates (78 percent) than their native-born peers (91 percent). Across education levels, this is the highest gap in employment rates between foreign-born and indigenous workers.

One-quarter (25 percent) of foreign-born adults have a university or third-level degree, which is almost as high as the share of native-born adults (30 percent). The study did not distinguish between migrants' university qualifications obtained in a foreign country and those awarded in Germany.

The figures may reflect difficulties faced by university-educated immigrant adults in having their education and experience recognized in their host country. The report also suggests the language barrier and discrimination during the search for employment may also be contributing factors.

Disadvantages in education and in the labor market translate into differences in socioeconomic outcomes and overall well-being that transmit from parents to children, said the OSCE in an editorial published alongside the study's results. 

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