Within the European Union, the proportion of young non-EU citizens affected by early leaving from education and training is more than twice that of ‘nationals’ (citizens of the reporting country), observes Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the European Union, in a press release. Eurostat observes that a quarter (25.5%) of non-EU citizens aged 18-24 left education prematurely according to figures for 2014. Non-EU citizens are more than twice as likely to be early school leavers as nationals (10.2%). Yet, education is an important factor contributing to migrant integration into European society. It not only helps them in the labour market, but also contributes to migrants’ active participation by communicating the culture and values of the societies they settle in.
Moreover, low education level prevails among the non-EU population living in the EU: this was the case for more than 40% of non-EU citizens aged 18 to 64, while this proportion was around 25% for both citizens of the reporting country (nationals) and for citizens of another EU Member State. This trend was even more significant in Belgium. Eurostat highlighted that 44.3% of non-EU citizens had a low education level (less than primary, primary or lower secondary), placing Belgium only slightly ahead of Italy (50.6 %), Greece (49.8 %) and Spain (45.3 %).
Eurostat also points out that more than 20% of young (15-24 years) non-EU citizens are not employed and not involved in further education or training, a figure well above that for both nationals (12.0%) and citizens of another EU Member State (15.5%). An even more significant gap between the different categories (than the above 8 and 4.5 percentage points) can be observed in Belgium (12 percentage points), Spain (13 pp), Greece (15 pp) and Slovenia (20 pp).