Big employment gaps for EU natives vs. non-EU workers in many member states

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Not only has the employment rate in the EU fallen in 2020, but immigrants from outside the EU are also a growing challenge in the EU labor market, news and opinion portal Mandiner writes.

In 2020, the employment rate for the age cohort of 20 to 64 among those born outside the EU was 61.9 percent, while for intra-EU workers and indigenous nationals it was already 73.5 percent, according to Eurostat.

Between 2010 and 2020, the employment rate for immigrants was systematically lower than for those born in the European Union, and the gap widened until 2017. By 2020, the gap then began to narrow. The employment rate of immigrants in Europe was 11.6 percentage points lower than that of EU citizens.

The employment rate of immigrants was best in the Czech Republic, where the indicator stood at 82.5 percent, while the lowest rate was observed in Belgium, where the indicator stood at 52.3 per cent. With the exception of four member states, the employment rate of non-EU-born immigrants fell everywhere between 2019 and 2020.


For those born within the EU but working in another member state, Malta had the highest employment rate at 89.8 percent, while Greece had the lowest at 56.7 percent. Data is available for 25 EU countries, of which the employment rate for this group decreased in 12 countries and increased in 13 between 2019 and 2020.

The employment rate of the indigenous population was highest in Sweden at 85.3 percent, while it was lowest in Greece at 61.8 percent, but in this group the employment rate has already fallen in 23 member states and only doubled between 2019 and 2020. Hungary is in the middle of the employment rate, ahead of France, Poland and Slovakia, among others.

In Hungary, as in most of the countries surveyed, the employment rate of those from other EU countries is the highest. This may indicate that workers from similar cultures often come for actual employment purposes. They are closely followed by the indigenous population, followed by the employment rate of immigrants from outside the EU.

The employment rate of non-EU nationals is in all cases the lowest, which shows that these people could not be integrated into the domestic labor market by the countries. Two of the worst performing countries are Belgium and Sweden. In countries where there is a high difference between the employment rates of each group, those native workers must then support immigrants.

Title image: Police try to escort migrants that arrived on a train in Bicske, Hungary, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. Over 150,000 migrants have reached Hungary this year, most coming through the southern border with Serbia. Many apply for asylum but quickly try to leave for richer EU countries. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

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