Only 43% of immigrants from outside the European Union work in Belgium. The figure is low by European standards. Among immigrants who have acquired Belgian nationality the employment figure rises to 55%.
For the population as a whole the figure is 65%.
According to the figures published by Guy Tegenbos in the daily De Standaard acquiring Belgian nationality increases employment levels among North African immigrants from 35% to 46%.
Researcher Ive Marx: "Acquiring Belgian nationality has an important impact. We notice that chances of finding a job jump sharply."
Even if there are no strings attached to acquiring Belgian, it still helps people to find employment. Though there are plans to change the law, at present immigrants can apply for Belgian nationality after three years in the country. After seven years stay here it becomes a right.
It is believed that immigrants who apply for Belgian nationality are more motivated than those that do not and that this helps them to find a job more easily. Such immigrants are also more likely to learn the language, which usually boosts employment prospects significantly.
By acquiring Belgian nationality immigrants can also apply for all jobs in the public sector. This is not the case if you only hold a foreign passport.
Ive Marx believes that some employers also see acquiring Belgian nationality as a way of showing that you are prepared to integrate into Belgian society, again boosting people's chances on the labour market.
On average immigrants are up to 8% more likely to find work than those in Brussels and Wallonia.