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Belgium worst EU country for employing non-European immigrants
At 54%, Belgium has the lowest level of employment for non-European immigrants in the EU. The average among the 28 member states was 73.4%, according to figures published by Eurostat on Wednesday.
The best performing country was the Czech Republic (84%), followed by Slovakia (81%), Malta (80%), Romania (78%), Poland (77%) and Portugal (76%).
While the EU is aiming for an employment rate of 75% for this group of people by 2020, the latest statistics back previous national and international reports showing how difficult it is for those born outside of the EU to get a job in Belgium.
Various factors explain the gap, such as education levels, lack of recognition of foreign qualifications, linguistic competence, and the obligation to have EU nationality, said Abdeslam Marfouk, associate researcher at the Walloon Institute for Evaluation, Perspective and Statistics (IWEPS).
Prejudice also plays a role, Marfouk told the RTBF: “Belgians consider that discrimination connected to ethnic origin is the widest form of discrimination in the country.”
Education level was found to be the key determining factor in a survey published by the federal public service for employment (FPS) in October 2018. It said that compared to the rest of the EU, Belgium attracted a higher number of non-EU immigrants due to family reunification and humanitarian or international protection reasons. Fewer immigrants come to Belgium to work or study and they represented a larger proportion of people poorly educated, it stated.
Immigrants in possession of Belgian nationality had a higher chance of finding stable employment. But stricter nationality rules for non-Europeans since 2013 have had a negative effect on integration, pointed out Marfouk.
Photo: Belga/Siska Gremmelprez