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    Foreigners in Belgium find jobs easily but often unsteady

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Foreigners often find a job easily, however they mostly find poorly paid, uncertain employment conditions, informs the new Socio-Economic Monitoring released Tuesday by the federal Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Federal Public Service on Employment.

    The report states – like the EU and the OECD previously have – that foreigners’ position in the labour market in Belgium is the weakest in all of Europe.

    The monitoring shows that employment among Belgians has decreased by -0,5 points (of the percentage) between 2008 and 2012, but it has increased among people of other origins. This evolution tends to show that foreigners are more present in the fastest growing segment of the labour market, which also happens to be the most instable. The number of part-time jobs has increased and more and more foreigners chose to be self-employed.

    “Almost one foreigner out of two has a low revenue job. One out of three has a part-time job. The rate of employment of foreigners has increased between 2008 and 2012, but the quality of the types of jobs contrasts with this increase”, explains Patrick Charlier, Director of the Centre for Equal Opportunities. “Thanks to the service voucher system, the number of women from Eastern Europe who have found a job has quadrupled in five years.”

    The Centre for Equal Opportunities also notes an over-representation of foreigners in the Interim sectors such as construction, cleaning services as well as the Horeca sector (hospitality, restaurant and catering), which often offer low pay, irregular hours and instability.

    “Foreign workers may be less excluded from the labour market than they used to be, compared to Belgians, but the gap between the two is nonetheless still worrying. If you look by sector, you will see that equal chances are non-existent”, adds the Centre.

    Still, the report shows an improvement of women’s situation, with a decrease of the unemployment rate between foreign women and men. 

    Patrick Charlier pleads in favour of an interministerial Conference that would gather all employment and integration leaders to address the issue of the employment of foreigners.

    Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)