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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mainstreaming the labour market integration of immigrants in the EU : policy framework and policy impact Zhumatova, Saltanat


My dissertation examines a recent policy trend in immigrant integration: ‘mainstreaming’, an effort to promote equality between immigrants and EU nationals in generic policy domains such as education, housing, and employment through strategies that address the needs of the population at large. Despite its prominence as a policy approach within the European Union, there is little cross-national comparative work on policy mainstreaming. My dissertation seeks to fill this gap by addressing cross-country variation in the mainstreaming of labour market support, and its impact on the labour market integration of immigrants. I develop a Policy Index of Mainstreaming in Labour Market Support that covers data from 2006 to 2016 across 25 EU/EEA countries. The MLMS Index is the first of its kind to categorize diversity in mainstreamed employment support policy. It measures the scope of mainstreaming and the level of access to mainstreamed policies for various groups of immigrants. I argue that due to its focus on equality, policy mainstreaming in labour market support enhances the convergence between immigrants and EU nationals with reference to employment outcomes and it improves, on average, career prospects for immigrants. Under more robust levels of mainstreaming, the link between immigrant status and labour market performance is reinforced and higher policy exposure is likely to lead to better employment outcomes. I use multilevel Bayesian regression analysis in combination with single-level logistic regression and cross-tabulation analysis to test the policy effects on the employment outcomes of immigrants in the EU. Individual-level data are drawn from the European Union Labour Force Survey. Country-level data are drawn from my Index of Mainstreaming in Labour Market Support, the CIVIX, the OECD and Eurostat. My research allows for an exploration of how mainstreamed labour market integration policies vary over time and place. Next, my work offers new insights into whether mainstreaming is an effective policy strategy. Finally, the dissertation joins a small but growing literature that uses multilevel regression analysis to test integration policy effects. I consider policy context as a community characteristic, which implies that analysis of the impact of mainstreaming should rely on both individual-level and country-level attributes.

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