Assimilation of immigrants to the Cape Town labour market

Type Working Paper - SALDRU Working Paper
Title Assimilation of immigrants to the Cape Town labour market
Issue 06/03
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
Page numbers 2-29
Influx controls of the apartheid regime have had lasting consequences for South African residential and migration patterns. This is particularly the case for the Western Cape that receives about 48000 immigrants a year, with the notable streams of immigrants emanating from the Northern and Eastern Cape, two of the poorest provinces of South Africa. This study concentrates on Mitchell’s Plain, an area in the Western Cape that contains a black township (Khayelitsha) and a large proportion of the coloured population of Cape Town. It is, in essence, an analysis of the urban poor. Using the Khayelitsha/Mitchell’s Plain Survey (KMPS) 2000 data, an introductory assimilation analysis is conducted to gauge whether an assimilation effect exists amongst those that have entered the Cape Town labour market. Migrant status is found to influence current labour force status negatively. Descriptive statistics show evidence of pre-labour market disadvantage in terms of years of schooling and poor schooling quality for migrants. An occupational analysis probes assimilation effects in terms of occupational mobility. It finds that low mobility for both migrants and the local-born exists, which could hamper the ability of migrants to overcome any initial disadvantages experienced. An earnings function is assembled with a focus on the years since entry to the labour market to confirm that a longer time spent in Cape Town positively affects the current wage received for the sample in general.

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