Germany’s new culture of welcome: changing opportunity structures and the labour market integration of new immigrants

Lenore Sauer, Federal Institute for Population Research, Germany
Andreas Ette, Federal Institute for Population Research, Germany
Rabea Mundil-Schwwarz, German Federal Statistical Office
Harun Sulak, Federal Institute for Population Research, Germany

As many industrialised countries will be affected in the next decades by the consequences of demographic change, governments increasingly tap into the source of immigrants as a chance to meet their labour market needs. Also Germany has started to fundamentally reform its immigration and integration regime over the past decade in order to attract especially highly skilled workers. However, little information exists on the impact of those changing opportunity structures on the labour market integration of newcomers. Traditionally, the issue of how immigrants fare in their host countries has been studied either from an intergenerational perspective – comparing different generations of immigrants – or from an individual perspective – analysing trajectories and sequences of migrants’ labour market integration. Studies concentrating on the trend of labour market integration, instead, are largely missing. Based on micro-census data from 1996-2010, the paper, for the first time, analyses how recent institutional changes of Germany’s immigration and integration regime have affected the performance of newcomers. Besides established human and social capital theories it therefore integrates institutional variables by separating two groups of new immigrants – nationals from other EU member states and third country nationals – whose access to the labour market has been affected largely by recent policy reforms.

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Presented in Poster Session 2