A systematic review of working conditions and occupational health among immigrants in Europe and Canada

Tidsskriftartikel - 2018


BACKGROUND: A systematic attempt to summarize the literature that examines working conditions and occupational health among immigrant in Europe and Canada.

METHODS: We established inclusion criteria, searched systematically for articles included in the Medline, Embase and Social Sciences Citation Index databases in the period 2000-2016 and checked the reference lists of all included papers.

RESULTS: Eighty-two studies were included in this review; 90% were cross-sectional and 80% were based on self-report. Work injuries were consistently found to be more prevalent among immigrants in studies from different countries and in studies with different designs. The prevalence of perceived discrimination or bullying was found to be consistently higher among immigrant workers than among natives. In general, however, we found that the evidence that immigrant workers are more likely to be exposed to physical or chemical hazards and poor psychosocial working conditions is very limited. A few Scandinavian studies support the idea that occupational factors may partly contribute to the higher risk of sick leave or disability pension observed among immigrants. However, the evidence for working conditions as a potential mediator of the associations between immigrant status and poor general health and mental distress was very limited.

CONCLUSION: Some indicators suggest that immigrant workers in Europe and Canada experience poorer working conditions and occupational health than do native workers. However, the ability to draw conclusions is limited by the large gaps in the available data, heterogeneity of immigrant working populations, and the lack of prospectively designed cohort studies.


Sterud T, Tynes T, Mehlum IS, Veiersted KB, Bergbom B, Airila A, Johansson B, Brendler-Lindqvist M, Hviid K, Flyvholm M. A systematic review of working conditions and occupational health among immigrants in Europe and Canada. BMC Public Health 2018;18:770.
doi: 10.1186/s12889-018-5703-3

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