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Abstract

The article analyses the incorporation of immigrants into the Italian labour market and the difficulties they encounter in accessing both employment and qualified occupations. The analysis is based on the Italian Labour Force Survey and highlights the fact that the great majority of immigrants entering Italy are hardly disadvantaged in comparison to Italians as regards the risk of unemployment, but, in contrast, they are highly disfavoured as regards the socio-professional status of their jobs. Unlike what would happen with the old European immigration, nowadays the segregation of immigrant workers in the lowest ranks of the occupational ladder is not due to their poor education. On the contrary, their disadvantage increases if educational attainment is taken into account. The leading role of low-skilled labour demand and underground economy in shaping immigrants’ integration in the Italian labour market is confirmed by the fact that they have fairly easy access to unskilled and semi-skilled manual jobs, whereas they experience serious difficulties in entering self-employment and in obtaining non-manual jobs.