France can hardly do without workers from other countries. Today, one worker in ten is an immigrant.
Half of all immigrants of working age arrived in France before 1998. At that time, only 21% were graduates. Today, nearly one in three immigrants has a higher education diploma. Their parents also have a higher level of education than in the past.
What is an immigrant? A person born abroad, who may or may not have acquired French nationality. One can therefore be French and still be an immigrant. It is the country of birth, not the nationality at birth, that defines the geographical origin of an immigrant. A foreigner is a person who resides in France and does not have French nationality.France has nearly 7 million immigrants and 5 million foreigners; 2.5 million immigrants have acquired French nationality. Nearly 13% of the population living in France was born abroad.
Immigrants work in jobs that are often physically demanding and have more restrictive working conditions than those of non-immigrants. More of them are self-employed (craftsmen, shopkeepers, business owners, etc.) than non-immigrants.
In some sectors, immigrants are twice as represented as the rest of the population: construction, catering, industry… Difficult activities, often linked to the fact that four out of ten immigrants spoke little or no French when they first arrived in France.
36% of immigrants believe they are overqualified for the work they do.Insee
Immigrants are much more affected by unemployment (15.3%) than non-immigrants (8.3%). Their diplomas do little to protect them from this situation. Why is this? It may be because of a poor command of the language, skills that are poorly adapted to the jobs on the market, difficulty in recognizing diplomas, administrative problems, or even discrimination in hiring.
To go further
What are the jobs of immigrants ? A file from DARES, the department of the Ministry of Labor that produces analyses, studies and statistics on the themes of work, employment, professional training and social dialogue. INSEE’s “essentials” on immigrants and foreigners in France.
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