The Equality Challenge
Edited by Sonia Morano-Foadi and Micaela Malena
Chapter 8: Third-country nationals, integration and access to employment and occupation under EU Law
In this chapter, the focus will be on rights to access employment and selfemployment for various groups of migrants within the European Union and the influence this access potentially has on their inclusion into society. There is a strong link between inclusion in society and access to employment and self-employment. Employment increases the bond with and stake in the society one is living in and leads to greater financial independence. Social contacts do arise from employment and one’s contribution to society becomes tangible for the receiving society as well as the immigrant herself. Yet, formal rights are not the only factor influencing factual access to employment and self-employment. Issues only indirectly connected to the legal situation of immigrants, such as the attitude in society towards newcomers at large, non-discrimination efforts, or the recognition of foreign qualifications are at least equally important and recognized as such. In conclusion, law cannot enforce inclusion as formal access to the labour market does not automatically ensure finding employment. However, it is equally true that formal rights provide the very framework within which inclusion/integration of immigrants can take place. In other words, while law cannot enforce integration, the lack of legal opportunities to inclusion, for example in the form of lacking rights to access employment, can render inclusion/integration unlikely if not factually impossible.
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