The social ladder does not work for people with an immigrant background in Belgium, according to a report from the National Bank of Belgium (BNB), relayed on Tuesday by Le Soir.
And, in a situation that is specific to Belgium, the second generation of immigrants is no better off.
Belgium is known to be one of the most multicultural countries in the OECD, as well as being one of its ‘dunces’, concerned as it is with integrating immigrant populations into its labour market. However, the employment rate of people born abroad is only 57%.
The analysis made by BNB and Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) shows that, in comparison to the population with Belgian parents, newly-arrived migrants have an employment rate that is 22 points lower. This rises to 36 points for people coming from the Middle East.
In other words, if a Belgian can expect an 80% chance of finding work (based on their age, gender, level of studies), a migrant from the Middle East looking for the same work and ticking the same boxes will see his chances drop to 44%.
Second-generation immigrants are no better off, as certain groups are still affected by a very marked handicap when it comes to accessing the jobs market, particularly for persons coming from the North-West of Africa, who have the same poor chances of finding work as their parents.
“It appears the social ladder is broken for the descendants of non-European immigrants,” the study concludes. “The fact that the second generation is doing no better than the first is specific to Belgium,” Céline Piton, economist and co-authoress of the study, emphasises.