“Ile-de-France occupies a special place in terms of employment of immigrant workers, if only in terms of volumes, since they represent 22% of the active population of the region”, i.e. twice more than in the rest of metropolitan France, summarizes for AFP Mustapha Touahir, head of the regional service of the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies.

In total, 1.25 million immigrants worked in the region in 2018, or more than one in five workers (22.1%), according to the study published Thursday. A stable rate over a decade: immigrant workers represented 21.4% of the active population in Ile-de-France in 2008, 23% in 2013.

In proportion, it is much more than the employment rate of this population in other regions, which oscillates between 4% in Brittany or Normandy and 12% in Corsica.

These workers, who are mainly concentrated in Seine-Saint-Denis, the poorest department of metropolitan France, are half from Africa, mainly from Algeria, Morocco, central and sub-Saharan Africa, details INSEE.

They are “over-represented in low-skilled, very difficult jobs, but essential to the proper functioning of a territory”, observes Mustapha Touahir.

According to the study, more than six in ten home helpers, housekeepers or domestic workers (61.4%) were immigrants in 2018.

The latter also represented nearly two-thirds of the total workforce (60.8%) of workers in the structural work of building and public works.

One out of two Ile-de-France cooks was an immigrant and more than four out of ten worked as guard and security guards (47%), cleaners (45%) or childminders (43%).

– Labor shortage –

Professions which are characterized “by more restrictive working conditions than the average”, in terms of physical effort, repetitive tasks or schedules and for which “employers are faced with recruitment difficulties”, notes the statistical institute.

“The recruitment tension is a source of even greater challenges as these are, in part, key professions, so-called essential (…). Some were even on the front line during the crisis sanitation”, a period during which 76% of cleaners were immigrants

Some were even on the front line during the health crisis”, a period during which 76% of cleaning agents were immigrants, further underlines INSEE.

Conversely, this workforce is largely under-represented among executives or intermediate administrative professions (9%).

“We do not find them in all jobs and there is no highly qualified job in which they would be over-represented”, notes Mustapha Touahir.

And it is not necessarily a question of skills, according to INSEE.

“We measure downgrading situations, with immigrants who do not hold jobs commensurate with the diploma they have obtained”, continues Mr. Touahir. A situation whose explanations are “multiple” but whose “phenomena of discrimination” are an “element of explanation”, he believes. Just like the obligation to have a European diploma or one recognized by the State to practice certain professions, in particular medical.

In Ile-de-France, nearly 40,000 immigrant workers with a diploma attesting to at least five years of higher education are employed as workers or employees, notes INSEE.

And only 56% of immigrants with a bachelor’s degree enter intermediate or higher professions. For non-immigrants, this rate is 80%.