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Work Integration in Comparative Perspective

EPDF and EPUB available Open Access under CC-BY-NC-ND licence.

The motivations of migrants for travelling to Europe vary, and the quality of the processes involved in their settlement and contribution to social and economic development are inextricably linked to their prospects of finding and sustaining good-quality work.

This book explores the labour market integration of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers across seven European countries: the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Italy, Switzerland and the UK. Using empirical data from the Horizon2020 SIRIUS Project, it investigates how legal, political, social and personal circumstances combine to determine the work trajectory for migrants who choose Europe as their home.

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The introductory chapter discusses key theoretical concepts upon which the book develops, such as the meaning of integration and inclusion, broadly understood but also with reference to the labour market and to the wider social context. Hence it reflects on how different labour outcomes affect empowerment and participation as key aspects of newcomers’ integration. It also introduces the reader to the multilevel (local–national–European) and multidimensional (micro–meso–macro) framework of the study underpinning the book, as well as to its large quantitative and qualitative empirical basis. The introduction also discusses ethical aspects which pertain to research with vulnerable individuals. Finally, the layout of the book is presented and explained.

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This chapter discusses the role that social partners and social dialogue can play by enabling or not the integration of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the European labour market. Social partners play a key role in labour market dynamics as they contribute towards determining the policy and legal frameworks that shape labour markets, but also the social, political and economic trends in which labour markets are embedded. Therefore, an examination of social partners’ understanding of the newcomers’ capacities and their appreciation of opportunities and challenges to be addressed is unavoidable in any research willing to understand how to facilitate unlocking the employment potential of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. This chapter presents findings from a four-month-long process of fieldwork of interviews with social partners (gathering overall 123 interviews) complemented by an experts’ survey which managed to collect responses from 293 additional social partners’ representatives across the seven countries (Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Finland, Italy, Switzerland and the UK).

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