Netherlands: 25% of young immigrants unemployed

Netherlands: 25% of young immigrants unemployed

Unemployment among Moroccans, Turks and Antilleans increased sharply in the past year. Unemployment among non-Western immigrants is almost three times as high as by ethnic Dutch. Young people are more affected by the crisis: a quarter of immigrant youth are unemployed.

This according to the fifth immigrants in the workplace monitor published today by Forum, the Institute for Multicultural Affairs.

This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog -

14% of non-Western immigrants were unemployed in the spring, compared to 5.1% of ethnic Dutch. A year previously one in ten immigrants had no job. Unemployment is higher among highly educated immigrants than among lowly educated ethnic Dutch.

"In every economic dip you see that unemployment among immigrants is about three times as high as among the ethnic Dutch," says Sadik Harchaoui, director of Forum. However, he thinks it's sad that the situation is now this way again. "The education level of immigrants has increased, they are better integrated than during previous recessions and more attention is paid to diversity."

According to Harchaoui, the high unemployment is not so much due to discrimination by employers. Instead he attributes it to the weak position of immigrants in the job market. They're more likely to have a flexible contract and are therefore the first to be kicked out. Though the education level has increased, they haven't yet caught up on the gap with the ethnic Dutch. "And immigrant boys and girls can make less use of the networks that the ethnic Dutch do have."

The high unemployment among boys in particular causes him concern. This spring, 12% of the ethnic Dutch boys under 25 had no job, compared to their immigrant counterparts. Surinamese and Moroccan boys have the most trouble finding a job, 28% are unemployed.

"If they remain unemployed more than about six months, that's really a problem. It then becomes difficult to get a foot in the door," says Harchaoui. In the past months, there are signs that the job market is slowly recovering. but according to the Forum director, the immigrants only profit of it after a while. "There's a delay of two years," he estimates. "Such a long period of unemployment might have very aggravating consequences."

The self-image of these boys will drop, they have no income and also lack the structure that work offers. If large groups remain unemployed, there's a danger that these boys will hang around and try to get money illegally. The outgoing cabinet began an 'action plan' last year, to prevent unemployment among youth, but according to Forum, it's unclear what the results are.

It is striking that immigrant entrepreneurs haven't been discouraged by the slump. The number of ethnic Dutch entrepreneurs dropped by 19,000 between March 2009 and March 2010. The number of entrepreneurs of non-Western origin increased by 2,000. Turkish entrepreneurs in particular stood firm. "Entrepreneurship is in the blood of Turks," says the Forum director. "They also have a different perception of the risksk. At teh same time, they don't have a company of millions and if things go wrong once, it's not seen as a lose of face." Forum bases their report on the Netherlands Stastitiscs data, among others.

Source: Volkskrant (Dutch)

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