Dutch unemployment: higher for immigrants
Unemployment among immigrants to the Netherlands has risen despite higher education levels and better integration. This is the finding of Forum, an institute for multicultural issues. Its fourth investigation into unemployment has revealed that immigrant unemployment has risen from nine to 11 percent. Among the native Dutch work force, unemployment is five percent.
Forum has been closely following the consequences of the economic crisis for immigrants since 2009. According to director Sadik Harchaoui, the high unemployment among immigrants has nothing to do with discrimination by employers. He thinks it has to do with their weak position in the employment market. They tend to have flexible contracts and less access to the networks native-born Dutch workers have.
“Above all, the high unemployment among immigrant youths is alarming,” says Mr Harchaoui. Surinamese and Moroccan youths are the ones most often without work. Around 28 percent of them are sitting at home, as opposed to 12 percent of native Dutch workers. Even though the labour market appears to be recovering, young immigrants see little sign of it.
“Such a long period of unemployment can have very unpleasant consequences,” he says. “The self-image dwindles, there is no income and they miss the structure that work offers. If large groups of young people remain out of work then the danger grows that they will try to earn money illegally.”
The most important conclusion of Forum’s unemployment investigation:
· The number of immigrant unemployed grew from 67,000 in 2008 to 82,000 in 2009: a jump from nine percent to 11 percent.
· The growing unemployment among immigrants largely affects men. In 2009, 48,000 men 11.3 percent were out of work; a year earlier, the figure was 35,000 8 percent.
· This increase is largely caused by the sharp increase in Surinamese men: from seven percent to 12 percent. Of the unemployed Surinamese men with a low level of education, 17 percent are unemployed.
· Unemployment among immigrant men in 2009 is approximately three times higher than among native workers.
· Immigrant youths have been hit the hardest by the recession. After years of decreasing numbers, 2009 saw the first increase among this group. Unemployment among immigrant youths was 21 percent in 2009; in 2008, it was 17 percent.
· One in five immigrant youths was out of work in 2009, compared to one in ten native Dutch youths.
· Although the second generation of immigrants – those born in the Netherlands – has been educated here and mastered the Dutch language, it is more frequently out of work than the first generation born abroad.
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