EU immigrants are more likely to succeed in the UK labour market, partly because of their high educational levels according to a new OECD/EU report entitled ‘Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2015: Settling In’.
68% of all immigrants in the United Kingdom are employed, a rate well above of the average immigrant employment rate in the EU (62%), says OECD.
More than one-third of all employed settled immigrants work within the public sector, in 2012-13 the share was only higher in Denmark and Sweden.
At 16%, the United Kingdom has one of the highest rates of self-employment among immigrants of all OECD countries. Among the countries with large immigrant populations, only Canada had a higher share.
The draw of UK employment is now attracting the most highly educated immigrants.
While in the EU on average, one in four immigrants holds a university degree, it is almost one in two for immigrants in the United Kingdom. Among recent migrants, the share of highly educated has doubled in the UK for the last six years (Figure 1).
In the United Kingdom, 1.2million of 15-34 year-olds are native-born offspring of immigrants, while another 2.7million have immigrated themselves.
Immigrants who arrived as children show particular good education outcomes with their reading ability (as measured in the OECD’s PISA tests) as high as the scores of their native-born peers without a migrant background.
Furthermore, in contrast to most other European countries, the share of disadvantaged foreign-born students who succeed in school despite theirbackground is higher than the share among disadvantaged native-born. Those migrant children who do well in the educational system are particularly likely to be employed.
For example, when girls with a migrant background are highly educated, their subsequent employment rates are 66 percentage points higher than among those who only complete the compulsory level of schooling.
While the employment gap between immigrants and native-born increased between 2006-07 and 2012-13 on average in the EU, in the United Kingdom the gap decreased by 3 percentage points.
For immigrant men, the gap even reversed and the employment rate in 2012-13 was slightly higher than the rate of their native-born peers.