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Unequal ChancesEthnic Minorities in Western Labour Markets$
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Anthony F Heath and Sin Yi Cheung

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263860

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263860.001.0001

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Down and Out: The Children of Migrant Workers in the Belgian Labour Market

Down and Out: The Children of Migrant Workers in the Belgian Labour Market

(p.142) (p.143) 4 Down and Out: The Children of Migrant Workers in the Belgian Labour Market
Unequal Chances


British Academy

Belgium has three major ethnic minorities – Italians, Moroccans, and Turks – originating from guest workers who arrived in the post-war period. These groups continue to experience significant ethnic penalties in the Belgian labour market. For employment and occupational attainment alike, the Italian second generation experiences the smallest ethnic penalties and comes closest to achieving parity with native Belgians. In contrast, the Moroccan and Turkish second generation experience much larger ethnic penalties. Moreover, the Turkish second generation is clearly at the bottom end of the ethnic hierarchy, since it experiences at once the largest penalties on avoidance of unemployment and on access to the salariat. The persistence of ethnic disdvantage in the second generation suggests that at least part of the explanation is to be found in the receiving society. Possible explanations range from overt ethnic prejudice to citizenship status.

Keywords:   Belgium, ethnic minorities, Italians, Moroccans, Turks, labour market, ethnic penalties, unemployment, salariat, ethnic prejudice

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