Migratory Status and Transition to Employment in Italy

Roberto Impicciatore, University of Bologna
Rocco Molinari, University of Milano
Alessio Cangiano, University of South Pacific

The study explores the role of immigration policies in shaping immigrant labour market pathways, by looking at dynamic employment outcomes of migrants admitted through different entry channels (e.g. labour migrants, family dependants, students, refugees). It focuses on Italy, a country that in last decades, although the introduction of more structured immigration controls, has admitted a considerable number of undocumented immigrants (as well as migrants overstaying the entry visa), that have been subsequently legalised. In order to explore labour market outcomes of various categories of immigrants, data from the Italian survey Condizione e Integrazione Sociale degli Stranieri in Italia, that in 2011-2012 collected retrospective information on working and migratory histories of respondents, have been explored. Firstly, the transition to employment after the entrance into Italy is modelled using event history analysis, to observe if the transition rate changes by migratory status, given a set of socio-demographic and contextual characteristics. Secondly, the possibility of accessing a non-registered first job is developed though competing risks models, that account for multiple destinations. Finally, the current employment status is analysed through discrete choice models, comparing immigrants with different years since migration. Results show relevant differences by entry status in the likelihood of accessing employment and in the risk of entering a non-registered first job. For some categories of entrance (especially family and humanitarian migrants) the initial employment gap, although decreasing, persists over time, indicating a long-lasting condition of disadvantage.

The growing migratory pressure that many European countries havebeen experiencing is stressing the emergence of questions in terms ofsocio-economic inequalities and queries on the responsibility of receivinginstitutional contexts in shaping the immigrant integration in the host society.

This work explores the role of immigration policies in shapingimmigrant labour market pathways, as one sphere of their integration, andfocuses on Italy, a country that in last decades has been experiencing growingmigratory inflows.

There are two ways through which immigration policies, intended asthe set of rules and regulations governing the admission of migrants and theiraccess to the labour market, are likely to affect the immigrant workforce. Onthe one hand immigration controls influence the size and the composition of theimmigrant population, defining criteria for legally admitted categories (e.g.EU nationals, non-EU labour migrants, family dependants, internationalstudents, refugees). On the other hand, by attaching a set of rules andeconomic entitlements to a variety of residency permits, they influence thepossibility of access and permanently stay in the labour market of differentcategories of migrants.

Following this research framework, some studies have observed labourmarket outcomes of immigrants with a different entry status. At the EU level,it emerged a substantial employment gap between migrants admitted via labourchannels and other categories, especially asylum seekers and family dependants.This gap has been observed to decrease by growing years since migration, butsome migratory categories retain important differences, with strong variationby country of destination.

The Italian case is not well documented. In the last few decades,although the introduction of more structured immigration controls, aconsiderable number of undocumented immigrants (as well as migrants overstayingthe entry visa) has been admitted, and subsequently legalised through a seriesof amnesties. Our study adopts a dynamic approach and states three hypotheses.

1.     The transition to employment, i.e. the access toa first job after the migrant’s entrance into Italy, varies by categories ofentry. Immigrants admitted via labour migration channels are more likely toexperience a first job and to rapidly enter employment. Family and humanitarianor forced migrants are less likely to access employment and experience a slowertransition into the labour market.

2.     Differences in the transition intoregular/irregular employment exist by categories of entrance. EU nationals(including post-enlargement migrants) and family dependants, who are largelyregularly admitted, are less likely to access a first non-registered job. Othercategories, that are more likely to enter Italy illegally, as labour orhumanitarian migrants without an asylum permit, experience a faster transitioninto a first non-registered job.

3.     The initial employment gap of some categories ofmigrants outside labour migration channels, although decreasing, persists overtime, in terms of participation in the labour market and unemployment risk.

 

In order to explore these issues, data from the Italian survey Condizionee Integrazione Sociale degli Stranieri in Italia have been explored. Itrepresents a survey conducted by Istat in 2011-2012 exclusively on the residentpopulation without the Italian citizenship or born abroad. The individualdata-set collects relevant retrospective information on working histories andmigratory pathways of respondents. Firstly, it records information on twopoints in time of their working experience: the first job and the current employmentcondition. Secondly, it collects dates of these points and of immigrant’sarrival. Furthermore, data contain extensive information related to themigratory status on entry. Importantly, both the reason for migrationand the kind of first residency permit are included.

The analysis covers a large time window through which immigrantshave entered the country, from 1989 to 2012. On the one hand, it describes thecomposition of immigrants by migratory status and how it has changed along theperiod considered and according to several factors (see fig. 1). On the otherhand, it focuses on labour market outcomes.

The transition to employment after the entrance into Italy ismodelled using event history analysis, to observe if the transition ratechanges by migratory status, given a set of socio-demographic and contextualcharacteristics. Preliminary results (Tab. 1) show that people entered forfamily and humanitarian reasons have a delayed entry into the first job,compared to economic migrants. Among females we found even stronger differencesand a disadvantaged transition also for documented EU migrants. The possibilityof accessing a non-registered first job is developed though competing risksmodels, that account for multiple destinations. Finally, the current employmentstatus is analysed through discrete choice models, comparing immigrants withdifferent years since migration.

The two measures of migratory status on entry have beensystematically compared, to assess the outcomes of immigrants entered for aspecific reason, who obtained different permits. Finally, analyses aredistinguished between males and females, that differently participate to thelabour market.

 

 

 

Presented in Session 1090: International Migration and Migrant Populations