Nordic Integration and Settlement Policies for Refugees

A Comparative Analysis of Labour Market Integration Outcomes

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This report has been commissioned by the Labour Market Committee of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The chief aim is to provide policy-relevant knowledge by conducting a comparative analysis of refugee labour-market integration in Scandinavia. Instead of focusing on the well-known employment gap or the fiscal impact of refugee unemployment, this study investigates the divergent impacts of integration programmes and settlement policies for refugees from different backgrounds. Through longitudinal comparative analysis, this study examines the labour-market integration of refugees in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, searching for explanations of cross-national differences by combining statistical analyses with in-depth analyses of national policies and governance structures.



Hypotheses: discussion

We began this report by presenting three main hypotheses as to why there might be cross-national differences in the employment outcomes for Scandinavian integration programmes. As shown in Chapter 5, we found substantial differences in labour market outcomes between the three countries, between genders and other subgroups, cohorts, and development over time. For male refugees, employment rates are higher in Denmark than in Norway and Sweden after the first few years in the country. After three years, employment rates are 45–46% in Denmark and Norway and 40% in Sweden. After seven years it is highest in Norway and lowest in Denmark. Refugee women have the highest employment rate in Norway in all the years after arrival, and after seven years, 45% of the refugee women are employed in Norway, whereas this is only the case for 35% in Sweden and 27% in Denmark.


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