Reports 2017/21

Refugees conection to the labour market in Norway

This publication is in Norwegian only.

Open and read the publication in PDF (1.7 MB)

This report describes labour market attachment among refugees. The selected population in this report is refugees from Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iran who settled in Norway in 2001 or 2002. We follow this sub-population every year up to 2014 in our register data. Family reunifications in relation to these refugees are also included.

The usual way to describe labour market attachment within the population as a whole is to look at shares of employed persons within various age groups. This method is not suitable for refugees, as it does not include other important factors that affect integration, i.e. period of residence in Norway and age upon settlement in Norway. The main objective of this report is to analyse the effect on labour market attachment among refugees when these two factors are taken into account.

It would be relatively easy to apply these methods to several country groups, and divide them into other variables, such as gender, or to analyse cohorts other than those who settled in 2001/2002, for instance newly arrived Syrian refugees in 2015/2016.

The report is based on those who settled in 2001/2002, and examines their active status in employment and education during the period 2004-2014. In order to ensure that the groups are large enough, we use 5-year cohort groups, aged from 15 to 49 years of age. The 50 and over group is not mentioned much in the report, since they constitute a rather marginal group within our refugee population.

The report examines participation in employment and education within each of the four country groups each year for various age groups at time of settlement in Norway. Some general patterns are then described at an aggregated level.

The main trend is the younger the refugee upon settlement in Norway, the higher the employment rate in 2014. This pattern can be observed within all four country groups, but with some variations. Refugees aged 15-19 when settled were between 27 and 31 years of age in 2014. The Afghanistan refugees had the largest employment rate at 72 per cent, followed by the Iranians with almost 70 per cent. Then came the refugees from Iraq with 62 per cent. Somalian refugees had the lowest rate, with slightly less than 60 per cent.

Refugees from Afghanistan had the strongest employment rate growth from 2004 to 2014 within all age cohorts. The groups from Iraq and Somalia alternated with the weakest growth.

We have also examined refugees who established themselves in “permanent” employment, i.e. continuous employment for five years. We have taken the employed refugees in 2010 as our starting point, and then found the employment rate among those who were still employed in 2014. Around 60 per cent of those employed in 2010 were defined as “permanently” employed in 2014. This share is largest among the refugees from Afghanistan (67 per cent) and smallest among those from Somalia (54.5 per cent).

Read more about the publication