Greater local supply of language courses improves refugees’ labor market integration

Agnieszka Kanas, Yuliya Kosyakova*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Utilizing the German residential allocation and residency obligation policies, which can be regarded as a natural experiment, we investigate the causal effect of the local supply of language courses on refugees' labor market integration. By restricting refugees’ initial and post-arrival regional mobility, these policies allow us to circumvent the potential problems of initial and post-arrival residential selection. Moreover, we examine the intermediary outcomes – language proficiency, language course completion and certification, and contacts with natives – through which the local opportunity structure of language courses shape refugees’ economic integration. Our results reveal that the local supply of language courses positively affects refugees’ employment probability, and this effect persists over the duration of stay. We further find that greater supply of language courses in the assigned county increases probability of learning the German language, completing the course and receiving language certificates. From a policy perspective, our findings imply that the local provision of language courses should be considered in refugees’ residential allocation to facilitate immigrants' integration. This is because limited access to such courses can delay host country language learning, language certificate obtainment, and labor market entry, thus slowing the integration of recently arrived immigrants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-36
Number of pages36
JournalEuropean Societies
Issue number1
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Hannah Gosse for her assistance in the analysis of the study; and all those who commented on the earlier presentations of this work at the following events: Dag van de Sociologie at the Utrecht University (online, June 2021), the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) general conference (online, August-September 2021), Sociology Department Research Seminar Series at the Trinity College Dublin (online, September 2021), the Annual Conference of the European Consortium for Sociological Research (ECSR) 2021 (online, October 2021), the 14th Annual conference of the International Network of Analytical Sociologists (INAS) (Florence, May 2022). Both authors contributed equally and are listed in alphabetical order.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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