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Luxembourg: reaping the benefits of a diverse society through better integration of immigrants

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  • Álvaro Pina

    (OECD)

Abstract

Luxembourg’s large foreign-born population is a pillar of the country’s prosperity: they have brought skills and knowledge to many sectors of the economy. They also tend to successfully find jobs, with a higher employment rate than natives. However, not all immigrants have done well. The minority from non-EU origin (about 10% of the country’s population) suffers from high unemployment, large gender gaps in activity and below-average incomes. Refugees are particularly vulnerable. Other integration shortcomings go beyond disadvantaged minorities. Pervasive labour market segmentation is well illustrated by the marked under-representation of the foreign-born in public sector jobs. Political participation of immigrants at local level is modest. At school, their children are often put at a disadvantage by an education system which tends to perpetuate socio-economic inequality. The diversity of Luxembourg’s society contributed by immigrants should be seen as an asset for economic growth and well-being. Initiatives such as the diversity charter can help private and public organisations to reap the benefit of diversity through the inclusion of outsiders and the strengthening of social cohesion. Learning the languages of Luxembourg, developing social capital and having foreign qualifications validated are key preconditions for successful integration. Education requires both general equity-enhancing reforms, starting at early childhood, and targeted support to disadvantaged students, including upgraded vocational studies. Furthermore, job matching and social cohesion would benefit from greater immigrant participation in public sector employment and civic life. Avoiding that asylum seekers undergo protracted inactivity is also a concern. This Working Paper relates to the 2017 OECD Economic Survey of Luxembourg (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/economic-survey-luxembourg.htm).

Suggested Citation

  • Álvaro Pina, 2017. "Luxembourg: reaping the benefits of a diverse society through better integration of immigrants," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1418, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1418-en
    DOI: 10.1787/9f37a4ce-en
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    Keywords

    asylum seekers; early childhood education and care; equity in education; labour market segmentation; public employment; school tracking;

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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