Work-migration-life balance: Patterns of immigrant labor market engagement by parity

Chia Liu , University of St. Andrews
Hill Kulu , University of St Andrews

This study explores immigrants’ timing and level of participation in education and the labor market upon arrival in Germany by origin, gender and parity. Using retrospective and prospective biography from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), we examine the timing and level of participation in education and the labor market after migration. We control for the legal pathway (EU and ethnic German migrants versus non-EU and refugee migrants) by which migrants enter Germany, in addition to their origin country. We take education and pre-migration work history into account. Kaplan-Meier estimations and piecewise constant hazards models reveal that immigrant women are more likely to work part-time than full-time compared to men, and substantial heterogeneity exist among different migration backgrounds, regardless of legal pathway and parity. Having children strongly influences women’s propensity to enter the labor market but not men’s. Refugees are the least likely to promptly integrate into the labor market, particularly women with children. However, even when parity and migration backgrounds are accounted for, migrant individuals’ pathways differ substantially. Larger heterogeneity exists among immigrant men’s movement in and out of the labor market, but not women’s, pointing to the possibility that working immigrant women are already a group of highly selected individuals. Our work contributes to the understanding the complexity behind family and work for immigrants in a Western European context, particularly shedding light on refugee migrants.

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 Presented in Session 39. Migrant Populations