13 per cent less pay for migrant workers than Nationals; ILO

Despite COVID Restrictions, World Saw Increased Displacement

Migrants earn about 13 per cent on average less than national workers in high-income countries, finds a new International Labour Organization (ILO) report.

The report “The Migrant Pay Gap; Understanding Wage Differences Between Migrants and Nationals” said that migrant pay gap has widened in some high income countries in the last five years. It said that migrant workers in Italy earn 30 per cent less than the nationals when compared to 27 per cent in 2015. It also noted that the pay gap is 29 per cent in Portugal compared to 25 per cent in 2015. Similarly, the figures stood at 21 per cent for Ireland when compared to 19 per cent in 2015, the report noted.

The report has said that the migrant population faced problems of discrimination and exclusion in all the countries. In addition, Covid 19 pandemic has aggravated the situation, the ILO study said. It said that migrants are more likely to be in precarious work, with 27 per cent on temporary contracts and 15 per cent working part time. They mainly work in the primary sector such as agriculture, fishing and forestry. The ILO said that the migrants usually take up more jobs than the nationals in the secondary sector such as mining and quarrying, electricity, manufacturing, gas and water and construction.

The report also said that the pay gap in hourly wages in some countries like Cyprus, Italy and Austria is higher. It comes to 42 per cent, 30 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. In Finland, it is lower than the average and stood at 11 per cent and in the European Union as a whole, it is almost 9 per cent, the report said.

ILO Labour Migration Branch chief Michelle Leighton said that migrant workers often faced inequality of treatment in the labour market. This included wages, training, access to employment, conditions of work, trade union rights and social security, said Leighton.

Skills mismatch

The ILO noted that migrant workers earned less than nationals having same qualification did. Most of the time, migrants have to work in lower skilled and low paid jobs, which do not match their education and skills. It said that the share of migrant workers with secondary school education is 78 per cent and 98 per cent in the United States and Finland. However, their share in high or semi skilled jobs are only 35 per cent and 50 per cent, the report added.

The ILO also points out that situation is reversed in low and middle-income countries. Migrant workers are usually high skilled expatriates and they earn about 17.3 per cent more per hour than others do.

Women migrant workers

The International Labour Organisation has said in the report that migrant women workers face a double wage penalty. The pay gap between male nationals and migrant women in high income countries is estimated at nearly 21 per cent per hour. This is higher than the gender pay gap (16 per cent) in those countries. The ILO says that this was because migrant women workers represent a significant share of those in domestic work, the study said. About 73 per cent or 8.45 million of all migrant workers are domestic workers around the world. In high-income countries, the pay gap between migrant care workers and non-migrant care workers is about 19 per cent.

Impact of the pandemic

The ILO notes that Covid 19 pandemic has hardly hit the labour market, especially the migrant workers. Tens of millions of migrant workers were forced to return home after losing their jobs at the beginning of the pandemic, the study said.

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