Austrian migrants ‘better educated’

Austrian migrants 'better educated'
Migrants in Austria. Photo: APA
Austria has more skilled migrants than other EU countries, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

"Austria's immigrants are, on average, better educated than those in the rest of the EU and even than those in the US," said senior migration specialist Thomas Liebig, summing up his research at a conference in Vienna.

Liebig has created the first OECD-wide study on labour market performance and the qualifications of immigrants.

According to the study, more than 75 percent of foreign-born employees in Austria acquired a qualification abroad. Across Europe, and in the USA, only 70 percent of migrants arrive with a qualification. In addition, the number of skilled immigrants in Austria has increased in the past decade much more than the EU average, Liebig said.

However, the problem is that in Austria employees usually do not recognise foreign qualifications. Social Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer has promised a federal law which will ensure that qualifications gained abroad are recognised.

Many immigrants do not even try to get their qualifications recognised in Austria, reports Der Kurier, and as a result just over a third of all immigrants are working below their skill set.

There is an increased influx of well-qualified foreigners, who are only able to apply for low-skilled jobs.

Unemployment among immigrants is rising twice as fast as among Austrians. At the end of May there were 73,120 foreigners looking for a job, 27.3 percent more than a year ago.

Overall, May unemployment figures (including those doing training) increased by 12.1 percent to around 370,000 people.

Although current unemployment figures are high, Austria must work to make sure that long-term immigrants can prosper, Rudolf Hundstorfer said.

Particularly notable increases in unemployment were also recorded among people who were older, had impaired health, lower qualifications, and the long-term unemployed.


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