Arguing for guidance to ease the integration of third country immigrants into the European labour market may seem untimely given today’s high youth unemployment, but anticipating future developments and informing policy-makers are one of Cedefop’s main tasks.
Although labour demand will continue to be weak in the coming years, Cedefop’s skill forecasts point to another challenge already visible in some countries: namely a falling labour supply and shortages as the population ages. Tackling this may require not only bringing more indigenous people into the labour force, but also encouraging economic migration to address skill shortages.
Whether we talk about new migrants or those already in our countries, European and national policies need to ensure enterprises and societies benefit from the skill potential and qualifications of the immigrant workforce. This includes a better match between skill demand and supply to make it easier for people to integrate into, and move within, the European labour market.
Guidance services are the first support that many third-country immigrants receive on arrival. They help to familiarise new comers with legislation and institutions, rules on employment housing, healthcare and social protection. They provide information about equivalence and recognition of qualifications and experiences, all of which are crucial for successful integration into employment and education and training. Guidance also helps empower women, who may face specific challenges to participating in the labour market. It can also help reduce the risk of social tensions.
Cedefop’s latest study, Valuing diversity: guidance for labour market integration of migrants discusses the critical contribution guidance services can make to integrating migrants by analysing all aspects which affect the quality of their provision. An important message is the need for greater policy coordination and cooperation through the engagement of relevant stakeholders, including employers, trade unions and migrant communities, to respond better to the needs of immigrants, firms and society