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Migratory Careers of New Migrants in Belgium (CAREERS)

Research project TA/00/42 (Research action TA)


Persons :

  • M.  REA Andrea - Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
    Coordinator of the project
    Financed belgian partner
    Duration: 1/2/2012-30/1/2014
  • Prof. dr.  WETS Johan - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (K.U.Leuven)
    Financed foreign partner
    Duration: 1/2/2012-30/1/2014

Description :

The project CAREERS is co-funded by the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism and is a follow up and a deepening of the ROUTE project of 2010.

The main research question is to investigate how asylum seekers who were granted the status of refugee or who received subsidiary protection are integrated on the Belgian labour market. Several complementary questions result from this question:

(1) What is the integration pathway of asylum seekers who were granted the status of refugee or who received subsidiary protection? How can their socio-economic trajectory be described?
(2) To what extend do the integration trajectories of refugees differ from trajectories of (former) asylum seeker who were not granted protection, but who nonetheless stayed in the country (as regularised person, family migrant). To what extend do these different statutes lead to different integration tracks.
(3) What are the socio-economic profiles of the families of these different categories of former asylum seekers?
(4) Is there a difference between the integration trajectories of those who obtained the Belgian Nationality and those who did not?

The CAREERS project proposes to use the “migratory careers” (Martiniello & Rea, 2011) theoretical frame in order to analyse the data that will be collected. The three elements will be taken into account:

(1) the political opportunity structures;
(2) individuals’ characteristics, namely age, sex, citizenship, marital status, level of education etc.;
(3) the mobilization of resources, notably social capital. This theoretical frame will allow developing typologies of socio-economic integration pathways.

Objectives and methodology

The CAREERS project is made up of four parts, using quantitative and qualitative analyses as well as mixed methods.

1) The quantitative analysis is the largest section of this project and consists out of three parts. The goal of section I is to explore a database (National Register and Crossroad Bank for Social Security) with the asylum applicants between 2001 and 2010 that are still residing now in the country. This will allow looking at the 'migratory careers' starting from the actual status of different migrant groups, describing the trajectories of social and economic integration using univariate and bivariate analysis. Subsequently, a multivariate analysis will help to set up a typology of the trajectories of integration, taking into account the kind of social and economic integration (i.e. successful trajectory, unstable trajectory, institutional depending trajectory, etc.). Section II is a comparative analysis of the impacts of citizenship acquisition, legal status and family reunification on integration paths. The last section will focus on the impact of the family reunification on socio-economic integration. Finally, a brief assessment of the poverty risk of the families of the populations studied will be made. The research team will then be able to distinguish those families in extremely poor situation.

The quantitative phase will comprise a data collection from the administrative registers. Firstly the team will developed with the data of the National Register a database of all asylum seekers still residing in Belgium who applied between 2001 and 2010. This dataset will include data on their application procedure as well as on their legal status. Then, this database will be linked to the data from the Crossroads Bank of Social Security (data on their (un)employment situation, socio-economic position, etc.)

2) Context analysis. Quantitative analysis will be based on time series to describe the evolution of positions in the social security system and on the labour market. To interpret these time series and their evolution, the social, economic, legal and institutional context should be known. Insights like the results of EU SILC data (Study on Income and Living Conditions) and similar studies will be used. This phase will also include a literature review, an analysis of labour market statistics and of legal changes, as well as in-depth interviews with mainly economic and legal experts

3) The qualitative analysis will focus on the specific and deep comparative analysis between the socio-economic integration paths of persons who have formerly obtained the refugee status or those who benefit of the subsidiary protection and persons who have never obtained those statuses. Semi-conducted interviews will be held with (former) asylum seekers to provide the migratory careers typology with more variables. The interviews’ main objective is to study the impact of the level of education on the socio-economic integration and the role played by social networks.

4) Building indicators. The objective is the construction of indicators capable of drawing the labour market position of new migrants in Belgium. A special attention will be paid to the comparison between the position of regularized persons, persons who have formerly obtained the refugee status or subsidiary protection and that of Belgian citizens.

Results and outcomes

The project CAREERS will allow, among other to:

1. Refine the methodology previously developed by the research team (project ROUTE).
2. Improve the collaboration between public administration (National Register, Crossroads Bank), Centre for Equal Opportunity, and the universities.
3. Provide an interpretation of the research findings with regard to socio-economic changes.
4. Create typologies on integration pathways. This is usefull from a scientific point of view and usefull for policy makers.
5. Contribute to the international debate on the use of administrative data in order to monitor intergration processes.
6. Identify best practice in the field of monitoring integration.


Documentation :


  • Colloquium: Asylum Seekers and Refugees: The Long and Winding Road to Employment ? - Programm: N - F

  • Press file

The Long and Winding Road to Employment. An Analysis of the Labour Market Careers of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Belgium: final report  Rea, Andrea - Wets, Johan  Brussels : Belgian Science Policy, 2015 (SP2605)
[To download

De lange en moeizame weg naar werk. Analyse van de loopbaantrajecten van asielzoekers en vluchtelingen in België: samenvatting  Rea, Andrea - Wets, Johan  Brussel : Federaal Wetenschapsbeleid, 2015 (SP2606)
[To download

La longue et sinieuse route menant à l'emploi. Une analyse des carrières sur le marché de l’emploi des demandeurs d’asile et des réfugiés en Belgique: résumé  Rea, Andrea - Wets,Johan  Bruxelles : Politique scientifique fédérale, 2015 (SP2607)
[To download

The Long and Winding Road to Employment. An Analysis of the Labour Market Careers of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Belgium: summary  Rea, Andrea - Wets,Johan  Brussels : Belgian Science Policy, 2015 (SP2608)
[To download

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