/ Objectives

GEMM has five objectives which are structured in separate work packages (groups of tasks) 2 to 5.

Objective 1
To outline the factors related to the successful labour market incorporation of migrants.

The project provides a detailed description and analysis of the labour market integration of migrants (WP2) during an eleven-year period (2003-2014)in the major immigrant receiving societies in the European Union (EU15 countries) and Norway. Included in this is a comparison to the classic immigration countries (US, Canada and Australia). The outcomes of migrants in respect to natives, the second generation and between migrant groups are analysed to provide an estimate of the ‘ethnic penalty’ experienced by different migrant groups. We do so by mapping the main channels of migration and outlining migrants’ levels of active participation in the labour market and their risk of lapsing from employment into unemployment and inactivity. Furthermore, we explore differences by sector and we examine migrants’ complementarity to the native workforce, seen as the match between migrants’ educational credentials, occupational attainment and wage remuneration. We highlight migrants’ social capital (bridging and bonding), and its role in the structural adaptation and the creation of an integrated and innovative workforce that is resistant to shocks. By focusing on ethnic penalties in the labour market, this research objective also informs the analyses related to discrimination as a barrier to growth.

Objective 2
To contribute to the scholarly knowledge of the causes of discrimination, by carrying out a cross-national analysis of ethnic discrimination in the European labour market.

One of the key elements in explaining ethnic inequality is discrimination. Discrimination is not only problematic in terms of fairness, but also limits a society’s capacity to employ and attract human resources most effectively. Because the existence of discrimination increases ethnic inequality, it has a high impact on the functioning of labour markets. Therefore, discrimination is a major barrier to growth. Ethnic discrimination hinders not only minorities already present in destination countries; it is also an obstacle in attracting skilled new migrants, both from outside of Europe as well as from within Europe. Therefore, in order to realize an optimal functioning labour market, European societies have to overcome the key challenge of understanding discriminatory behaviour.

GEMM employs an innovative field-experimental research design (WP3) that allows for the comparative analysis of discrimination across a large number of ethnic groups, various dimensions of ethnicity (cultural distance, religion, language) and skill levels of migrants. We analyse the extent and causes of variation in discrimination across groups in five strategically selected destination countries: (Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Norway and the Netherlands). Crucially, we will consider gender differences and local contextual effects to provide another angle to the determinants of inequality considered in relation to our first objective.

Objective 3
To better understand the ability of EU societies to attract human capital by capturing the ‘lived’ experiences of mobility and migration.

A key question in attracting human capital and managing mobility is to better understand the push and pull factors that underlie the migration decision. Our third objective (WP4) is therefore to capture the ‘lived’ experiences of mobility and migration and to focus on migrants’ preferences and motivations as expressed by them.

Survey data maps the migration channel and trajectories of migrants in a rather schematic way, distinguishing between types of migrants – namely, labour,
asylum seekers and family reunification migrants – but doing little to disentangle the variety of motivations which can shape migration decisions and encourage a migrant to seek permanent residence in a receiving society, or engage in circular migration. Apart from the effect that varying socio-demographic characteristics of individuals can exercise, the structure of opportunities defined by the rules of admission, residence and work that each Member State administers to foreign migrants living in their territory strongly influences selectivity patterns. Discriminatory behaviour of employers can also work to discourage migrants, particularly highly-skilled migrants (the research related to the preceding objective aims to distinguish between taste and statistical discrimination). Yet, we know little about the salience of these receiving country characteristics or the effect of modes of reception which constitute the ‘lived’ experiences of migration and mobility.

GEMM closely examines the motivation of skilled migrants to migrate to European countries. We consider both prospective migrants, some with previous experience of mobility abroad, returning migrants and those that have migrated already. The empirical analyses make use of qualitative in-depth fieldwork and focus groups. Geographically, the fieldwork will focus on Romania, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy as sending countries and the UK and Germany, Italy and Spain as receiving countries. Italy and Spain are particularly interesting cases as they represent both (old) sending and (new) receiving countries.

Objective 4
To analyse how institutional arrangements can reduce ethnic inequality and enhance the two drivers of growth in order to realise a competitive and innovative European labour market.

A key question in the management of mobility and incorporation is how institutional arrangements affect the relationship between labour market inequality and the migration-related drivers of growth. This work package will consider a variety of institutional arrangements throughout the major immigrant societies. This objective relates to the need to ensure that the empirical patterns observed in our data-focused WPs can be situated within the context of different policy arrangements to identify relevant policy lessons.

Objective 5
To formulate a set of policy lessons informed by the empirical evidence and our analysis of institutional arrangements

There has been an increased recognition of the complex migration and integration dynamics in the European Union. Migration and labour market policies in Europe need to reflect the nature of migratory movements (both within and to Europe) and the reality of competition in a globalizing world. Managing migration streams and the incorporation of migrants are therefore a key policy challenge for EU member states. As much as various studies of international migration have proliferated in recent years, we still know very little as to which policies are most effective in dealing with these challenges. The theoretical and empirical analyses in this project allow us to explain the differences between migration outcomes in varying institutional contexts and draw insights into the practical implications of differing policy rationales and measures. It formulates a set of policy lessons that follow from a comprehensive scientific assessment of disadvantage and inequality as barriers that curb the optimal functioning of the European labour market.

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