This paper looks at the migrants' occupational integration process. Two main theoretical perspectives are tested: the first one (assimilation view) claims that in the short-run migrants are penalized, but as they settle in the receiving country they get integrated into the host society; the second one (segmented assimilation view) claims that disadvantages persist in the long-run. EU-LFS and ESS data are described and modelled, in order to compare the labour market performances of migrants in four European old-receiving countries (Germany, France, Great Britain and Sweden) and in two new-receiving countries (Spain and Italy) both in a short-term and in a long-run perspective. We find that a) in the short-run, migrants' labour market condition is worst with respect to the natives; b) this gap decreases with older migrants; c) the ethnic penalty disappears with the second generation, when they achieve a level of education comparable to that of the natives.

Policy Implications
  • Labour market policies appear to face a trade-off: policies oriented towards the flexibilization could improve migrants’ occupational integration, but such policies are also likely to increase the risk of poverty for the natives.
  • In the case of the Southern new-receiving countries, a similar tradeoff could emerge for policies aiming at stopping the underground economy.
  • Concerning integration in the long run, our results definitely point to the importance of education. We would suggest policies oriented towards a full educational integration of the migrants’ offspring, since such policies could eliminate the gap separating them from the natives.