This study examines the labour market access of applicants for international protection between 2017 to 2022 and offers an up-to-date and comprehensive analysis of legislation, policies and practices in European Migration Network (EMN) Member Countries on integration of applicants for international protection into the labour market, including the involvement of the key actors in that implementation. The study also illustrates challenges and offers a wide range of good practices.
Research has shown that labour market integration remains one of the most fundamental aspects of migrant inclusion and successful participation in society. For many migrants, the process of establishing a new life involves securing appropriate work that not only aids achieving their economic self-sufficiency, but also has a significant impact on their health and overall well-being.
In the European Union (EU), integration and inclusion of third-country nationals is addressed in the EU Action Plan on Integration and Inclusion 2021-2027, outlining that “The EU’s work on integration and inclusion is underpinned by a shared set of principles and values, which should also guide the work of Member States when they design, implement or review their strategies for integration.” The importance of labor market integration is intricately connected to the increasing recognition of labor and skills shortages within Member States.
During the period between 2017 and 2022, there were a total of 3 161 600 applicants for international protection in EU Member States, of which 89% were first-time applicants. The length of the waiting period before applicants for international protection can access the labour market remains the primary subject of discussions across EMN Member Countries. The discussions revolve around either shortening the time period to facilitate faster access or extending the time period to prevent abuse of the asylum system. Most EMN Member Countries have waiting periods of six months or less in place, with only three implementing the nine-month waiting period set out in the Reception Conditions Directive (2013/33/EU).
The study provides an in-depth overview of the EMN Member Countries’ policies on labour market integration and how these address international protection applications. It also delves into the changes to these policies over time and the governance structures supporting labour market integration of third-country nationals.
EMN Member Countries have introduced a total of 28 good practice measures for the integration of international protection applicants into the labour market. Twenty of these measures are designed explicitly for international protection applicants, while the remaining eight are accessible to all third-country nationals.
These measures are categorised by thematic areas, analysing whether they primarily target international protection applicants or if they are accessible to them through general migrant or jobseeker programmes. For each thematic area, the study provides examples of best practices, which have been suggested by national experts such as policymakers, service providers, civil society organizations, migrant organizations, or are drawn from pertinent studies and evaluations.