"We need urgent measures to get asylum seekers to work"

We urgently need specific measures to help the thousands of asylum seekers who came to Belgium last year, find employment. That's according to the think tank Itinera. They warn that 3 in 4 refugees don't have the right skills, and they could become outcasts if we don't take action now.

Some 57,000 refugees who found shelter in Belgium are still unemployed. It's important for their integration in Belgian society to land a job. The thing is that a majority - 3 in 4 - haven't got the right (or any) qualifications.

Moreover, access to the labour market is even more complicated due to special regulations concerning a working permit, integration courses, language skills and the recognition of degrees obtained at foreign schools or universities. 

Itinera is now sounding the alarm: if we don't take action, we end up with a whole group in society that may get side-lined. Itinera is proposing wage subsidies, reducing the wage burden for employers, a higher minimum salary or subsidised apprenticeships.

The organisation of the self-employed Unizo confirms the problems, and estimates that it is up to the VDAB - the Flemish employment and vocational training service - to tackle the problem thoroughly. They think special apprenticeships are not necessary, as long as the people find their way to the VDAB.