Productivity and long term growth

Seminar on the economic integration of immigrants


Agenda ׀  Background papers ׀ Other information

The economic integration of immigrants
OECD, Paris 29 May 2006
Château de la Muette, Room C

International migration has substantially changed during recent years, both in quantitative and qualitative terms, and it is likely to play an increasing role in the coming decades. While the economic impact for the host country depends on a variety of factors, successful integration of immigrants appears in any case as a sine qua non condition to making the most out of immigration. Integration is multifaceted, and its social dimension conditions the political acceptability and social sustainability of immigration. Economic integration, in particular on the host labour market, heavily conditions the possible benefits reaped from migration by the host economy as well as by immigrants themselves. In both cases, integration cannot be considered as a given. It is likely to be influenced by a number of factors, and understanding these relationships is important for policy design. This workshop has been organised by the OECD in close contact with the World Bank to take advantage of on-going work in both institutions. Based on cross-country empirical assessments of the integration of migrants, the aim of the workshop will be to exchange views on the following empirical and policy questions:

What is the cross-country evidence on social and economic integration of immigrants in host countries?
What are the determinants of cross-country differences in immigrants’ integration?
What are the implications for policies in labour and product markets?


14h00 Introduction by the Chair: Jean-Philippe Cotis (Chief Economist, OECD)

14h10 Labour Market Outcomes of Natives and Migrants: Evidence from the ECHP & Presentation
Franco Peracchi (Università di Roma Tor Vergata), based on a World Bank Working Paper co-authored with Domenico de Palo.

Are there significant differences in labour market outcomes of natives and immigrants, and to what extent may these differences be accounted for by differences in the observed characteristics of the two groups? Answering these questions provides a snapshot of the insertion of immigrants in European labour markets. The paper then assesses the integration process itself by asking how much of the residual differences in labour market outcomes of natives and immigrants, namely those differences which are not accounted for by differences in observed characteristics, persist after a sufficiently long residence of immigrants in the host country.

14h50 The Social Assimilation of Immigrants & Presentation
Riccardo Faini (Università di Roma Tor Vergata), based on a World Bank Working Paper co-authored with Domenico de Palo and Alessandro Venturini.

By studying the role and relevance of social relations for both immigrants and natives, this study takes a close look at immigrants’ integration from the social point of view. The innovative feature of the analysis is that it relies on immigrants perceptions about their integration rather than – as is typically the case in most opinion surveys – on natives attitudes toward immigrants. The study shows that immigrants – particularly from non EU origins - are at a disadvantage in the fields of social relations, even after controlling for their individual characteristics, although their social relationships tend to converge slowly to the standard of natives. The role of education and the implication for policy makers are discussed.

15h30 The Labour Market Integration of Immigrants in OECD Countries  Sébastien Jean (OECD), based on an on-going work for OECD's Working Party 1 on Macroeconomic and Structural Policy Analysis.

This study analyses economic integration of immigrants across a group of receiving OECD countries, by addressing the following questions: Are immigrants relatively more vulnerable to unemployment? Do they suffer from a "wage rebate" compared to natives with comparable skills, how much and for how long? To what extent do situations differ across OECD countries and why? The analysis puts special emphasis on identifying differences across countries in immigrants’ integration, and on relating them to differences in labour market policies.

16h30 Some Lessons on Economic Integration of Immigrants from OECD Country Reviews and Other Studies Georges Lemaître (OECD) 

Does the differing nature of migration regimes have any effect on labour market outcomes? If so, what are the particular features of these regimes that have an observable impact, or are outcomes largely dependent on labour market policies and conditions? Is there a role for targeted integration policies? The presentation will draw on reviews of labour market integration in a number of countries, which cover a broad range of migration policy regimes

17h10 Summary and general discussion

Introduced by Jean-Luc Schneider (Ministry of Finance, France). The introductory speech will aim at summarising the most striking policy-relevant ideas and issues emerging from the earlier discussion. Economic Counsellors are then invited to give a brief account of the policy approaches relating to integration of immigrants in their country, and in particular to indicate any new light thrown on policies as a result of the workshop discussion.

18h00 Workshop ends.

This workshop is by invitation only.  For information please contact Mrs. Irene Sinha
Email:, Tel: +33 1 45 24 90 42;

Background documents:

Labor market outcomes of natives and immigrants: Evidence from the ECHP
Franco Peracchi & Domenico Depalo, University of Rome, May 2006
The Labour Market Integration of Immigrants in OECD Countries
Presentation by Sébastien Jean. OECD, May 2006
The Social Assimilation of Immigrants
Riccardo Faini (Università di Roma Tor Vergata, CEPR, and IZA) based on a World Bank Working Paper co-authored with Domenico de Palo (Università di Roma Tor Vergata) and Alessandro Venturini (Università di Torino), January 2006
Some Lessons on Economic Integration of Immigrants from OECD Country Reviews and Other Studies
Presentation by Georges Lemaître, OECD, May 2006
For those with access to OLIS see:
The integration of immigrants into the labour market: The case of Sweden, OECD, DELSA/ELSA(2004)13
Managing migration - are quotas and numerical limits the solution?, OECD, DELSA/ELSA(2005)4/REV1
The labour market integration of immigrants in Germany, OECD, DELSA/ELSA/WP2(2005)3/REV1

Related information:

OECD education systems leave many immigrant children floundering, report shows


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