Immigrants are a disadvantaged group on European labour markets. In most countries, they are over-represented in unemployment and under-represented in employment. To integrate immigrants into the labour market, European governments use a broad range of Active Labour Market Programmes (ALMPs) including language and introduction courses, job search assistance, training programmes, and subsidised public and private sector employment.

A growing number of empirical evaluation studies investigate the employment effects of ALMPs on immigrants. Yet, there is no clear picture which programmes work for immigrants and which do not. In order to help policymakers allocate resources efficiently we condense the findings of the existing studies by means of a meta-analysis. A meta-analysis identifies the extent to which certain features of the underlying studies (e.g., programmes analysed, methods employed, data used) predict the results of these studies. We focus on the relationship between the type of programme evaluated and the programme’s estimated employment effect on immigrants.

We find that only wage subsidies in the private sector can be confidently recommended to European policy-makers. In most evaluation studies, wage subsidies are estimated to increase employment chances of immigrants. On the other hand, most studies present insignificant estimates for the effect of training. The same is true for job-search assistance and public-sector employment.


immigrants, unemployment, labour market integration, ALMP, evaluation, meta-analysis