EU Orders Member States to End ‘Racist’ Migrant Underachievement in Jobs Market

BAD BELZIG, GERMANY - OCTOBER 26: Warda Abdi (standing), 23, an asylum-seeker from Somalia, looks at a YouTube video with her friend and fellow-Somali asylum applicant Asha at the "Der Winkel" cafe where many local asylum applicants go for Internet access and company on October 26, 2015 in Bad Belzig, …
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EU nations have been told to bring in measures promoting ethnic minorities in the workplace, to ensure the bloc has “the diversity Europe needs to remain relevant” in a global economy.

Institutions including the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), stressed the importance of engineering equality of outcome between migrant populations and natives in the continent’s jobs market.

“Today’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination points to a clear need to tackle pervasive racial discrimination in all areas of life. As it is also the International Decade for People of African Descent, we should stamp out the widespread and entrenched prejudice and exclusion that too many black people continue to face simply because of their skin colour,” the bodies said in a joint statement.

“Too many people with an ethnic or migrant background are still being held back in the job market. This is despite laws against racial discrimination and for equal opportunities in employment that have been in place for decades,” the bodies added.

In addition to enforcing existing anti-discrimination law both international and national with “tougher sanction”, European governments should establish “positive measures” such as workplace “diversity audits”, according to the press release.

Transforming professions with pro-minority “amendments to working practices”, and holding public sector recruitment drives for people with foreign backgrounds are amongst actions that EU countries were urged to take in order to “promote the diversity Europe needs to remain relevant in today’s global economy”.

“We have the laws but too often they fail to deliver. We need to step up our policies and practices to reduce the barriers ethnic minorities face when trying to enjoy their basic right to employment,” said FRA director, Michael O’Flaherty.

Asserting that “racism in any form is toxic to the creation of a fair, equal and rights respectful society,” he pointed to the results of a recent FRA survey on the experiences of immigrants and people of foreign background in Europe.

Just under a third of respondents said they had been discriminated against when applying for work, half of whom believed this was a result of their skin colour or appearance, according to the report by the FRA, which argues that inequality of outcome between migrant populations and natives in Europe is the result of discrimination.

ECRI chair Jean-Paul Lehners added that, through its work with countries in Europe, the self-styled anti-racism body “aim[s] to motivate all stakeholders to open up even more to diversity and build an inclusive working culture”.

Governments must also work “to prevent new discrimination risks that could arise from the use of new technologies”, he said in the statement, which warned policymakers should be alert to “built-in biases” of software which use data to automatically calculate risk assessments, for example.

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