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Austria: migrants and the labour market

Education and qualifications are essential to the successful integration of migrants. The information brochure Migration & integration – Focus: work and employment, supplies facts and figures on education, employment, unemployment and qualifications of people with a migration or refugee background. Extracts are presented below.

In early 2016 around 1 287 800 people of working age with a place of birth abroad lived in Austria; this corresponded to 22% of the total population of working age (15 to 64 years). Some 42% of the migrants of working age were born in EU/EEA states, mainly in Germany, Romania and Hungary or Switzerland. Slightly below 58% were born in third countries, such as Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Due to refugee movements in recent years, immigration of people of working age from third countries, especially from Syria and Afghanistan, has risen strongly.

In terms of education level, migrants were clearly overrepresented in both the highest and the lowest categories in 2015; the share of the low-qualified and also the proportion of higher education graduates were higher than among Austrians. Among second-generation migrants, the education level approximated that of people without a migration background.

Compared to Austrians of working age (15 to 64 years) without a migration background, those with such a background are less frequently employed; in 2015 only 63% were employed (annual average) while for those without a migration background the employment rate was almost 74%. But migrants are a heterogeneous group: the share of the workforce from EU/EEA states is 77%, even higher than among Austrians, while for those with roots in Turkey it is 54%. Women with roots in Turkey and countries of the former Yugoslavia are far less frequently employed (42% and 59% respectively) than Austrian women (70%). Refugees were most frequently unemployed: roughly three quarters of Syrians (75%) and almost half of all Afghans (46%) of working age were unemployed in 2015. Turkish immigrants were more than twice as frequently affected by unemployment (slightly less than 20%) as Austrians.

More information:

Statistics Austria (2016). Migration und Integration. Zahlen. Daten. Indikatoren [Migration and Integration. Figures. Data. Indicators]

ÖIF (2016). Migration & integration – Schwerpunkt: Arbeit & Beruf  [Migration & Integration - Focus: Work & Employment]

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