Educational factors in the economic integration of foreign population in Belgium

Serge Feld, Université de Liège
Madeleinne Nantcho
Perin Sophie, Université de Liège

The analysis deals with the position of foreigners compared to Belgians on the labour market. It identifies significant steps in the process of economic integration, of the frequent difficulties and of major positive achievements. This is measured by two indicators: rate of employment and duration of contract. Foreigners represent 9% of the population, characterized by long period of immigration flows from great diversity of origin. This analyze is based on the 2001 Belgian census linked with data of National Register. Eleven nationalities are selected and represent 80% of foreign population. Firstly, a probit model is used to determine the probability to get employed for foreigners compared to Belgians. Secondly, the same probit model is applied to measure the probability of having a permanent contract, both controlling for the same characteristics of age, gender, level of education and region. Distinction is made between foreigners born in Belgium and those who where born in the country of origin, the latter is classified according to the period of arrival. Further than just showing the differences, the analysis points out to what extent the birthplace, the period of residence, and the level of education of foreigners are characteristics which help to reduce or otherwise increase the difference between them and Belgians. Results differ greatly, firstly according to the nationalities and, secondly, according to the birthplace, the period of residence and the level of education. The analysis emphasized that the period of residence has a significant impact on the probability to get employed and to have a permanent employment, while for others, the impact is insignificant. In the same way, while for some nationalities the higher the level of education the lower is the difference with Belgians, for others, with medium level or low education level the difference with Belgians is much less significant.

  See paper

Presented in Session 35: What we talk about when we talk about international migration