Labour Market Integration of Immigrants in Hungary: Does Country of Origin Matter?

Irén Gödri, Hungarian Demographic Research Institute

The socio-economic integration of immigrants is a challenge for most European countries. The labour market integration is considered the most crucial element of integration process. Immigrants, especially from less developed third countries, are in general in a worse labour market situation than the native population. Hungary is among the few European countries where the labour market indicators of immigrants are better than those of the native population. Behind the overall better labour market situation of immigrants there are considerable differences according to country of origin. Are these differences explained by the heterogeneity of immigrant population in terms of social and demographic composition, place of residence, time of arrival, or do the country-specific peculiarities exist regardless of the above characteristics? This paper investigates the labour market integration of immigrants in Hungary based on data from the 2011 Population Census. The census is the most comprehensive data source on immigrants: it constitutes a cross-sectional database of both foreign-born population and foreign citizens staying for over 12 months in the country. We analyse in detail the main indicators of labour market integration (employment, unemployment, overqualification and self-employment) by sociodemographic characteristics and country of birth of immigrants. Then, based on multivariable analyses, we present the factors explaining the probability of being employed and of being overqualified in the foreign-born population. The results indicate that the higher employment rate of immigrants in Hungary are in fact due to their composition (mainly their higher educational attainment), but important differences by country of origin are detected, and gender differences are also revealed. However, the overqualification among immigrants is higher even after controlling for the aforementioned variables. Differences by country of origin are not reduced even when – in addition to socio-demographic composition – other characteristics (i.e. Hungarian language skills, holding Hungarian citizenship) are taken into account.

Presented in Session 42: Labor Market Participation and Income Trajectories of Immigrants