Down and Out: The Children of Migrant Workers in the Belgian Labour Market


in Unequal Chances

Published by British Academy

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780197263860
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734953 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Down and Out: The Children of Migrant Workers in the Belgian Labour Market

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Belgium has three major ethnic minorities – Italians, Moroccans, and Turks – originating from guest workers who arrived in the post-war period. These groups continue to experience significant ethnic penalties in the Belgian labour market. For employment and occupational attainment alike, the Italian second generation experiences the smallest ethnic penalties and comes closest to achieving parity with native Belgians. In contrast, the Moroccan and Turkish second generation experience much larger ethnic penalties. Moreover, the Turkish second generation is clearly at the bottom end of the ethnic hierarchy, since it experiences at once the largest penalties on avoidance of unemployment and on access to the salariat. The persistence of ethnic disdvantage in the second generation suggests that at least part of the explanation is to be found in the receiving society. Possible explanations range from overt ethnic prejudice to citizenship status.

Keywords: Belgium; ethnic minorities; Italians; Moroccans; Turks; labour market; ethnic penalties; unemployment; salariat; ethnic prejudice

Chapter.  14327 words. 

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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