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MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

Does standardization matter? Evaluating the potential of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) for reducing employment discrimination faced by immigrants.

Awarded: NOK 1.4 mill.


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Project Period:

2023 - 2024


Around 57 million people in Europe are foreign-born. Developing strategies for inclusive growth and devising actions to promote immigrant integration through non-discrimination are among Europe’s current priorities. This project will evaluate if the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which is used to standardize host country language requirements for different professions throughout Europe, can serve as an effective tool to reduce hiring discrimination against immigrants. Employers have been shown to discriminate against immigrant applicants based on language-related bias, which can be reduced when language requirements are specified in CEFR terms. Based on a novel design that combines real-world variation in the inclusion of CEFR requirements in job ads with a factorial survey experiment and in-depth interviews among employers, the project will address three objectives: 1) Examining if the inclusion of CEFR requirements reduces differential treatment of immigrant applicants on aggregate; 2) Identifying labor market areas and ethnic groups that benefit most from the introduction of CEFR requirements; 3) Assessing the current implementation of CEFR requirements in relation to uninformed or inadequate use. Results and the collected data set will be distributed among the scientific community (open access), among the general public (science fairs) and among employers and county governors (webinars, roundtable discussions) and can serve as a stepping-stone for developing comprehensive and adequate language requirements for different professions at the (inter)national level. The projects unites expert researchers in sociolinguistics and language test development with an early career researcher (ecr), specializing in immigrant integration and language-based discrimination into an interdisciplinary team. This will provide impactful training to the ecr, who will benefit from methodological training, project management experience, and network ties.

Funding scheme:

MSCA-Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA)

Funding Sources