FIW Studien | 2010-03

Qualification Structure, Over- and Underqualification of the Foreign Born in Austria and the EU

This project focuses on comparing the qualification structure of migrants residing in Austria as well as their over- and underqualification rates to other EU countries. The skill structure of foreign born residing in Austria has improved slightly in the last years. Austria is, however, characterised by a high share of medium skilled migrants and a low share of highly skilled migrants. In addition among the pool of migrants in the EU from a given country, Austria generally selects the less qualified. The location decisions of highly skilled migrants are mostly governed by income opportunities, labour market conditions, ethnic networks and a common official language. Over- and under-qualification rates among the foreign born in Austria largely accord with the European average, the largest part of the differences can be explained by differences in qualification and country structure between the foreign born in Austria and the EU. Native-foreign born differentials in employment rates are, however, significantly higher in Austria than in other EU countries.