Reports 2017/08

Refugees inside and outside the labour market 2015

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This report describes the labour market situation for refugees 15 – 74 years old settled in Norway in the 4th. quarter of 2015. The figures for the refugees are compared to the entire Norwegian population aged 15-74 years. The refugees’ family immigrants are also included among the whole group of refugees.

In the 4th quarter of 2015 a total of 84 450 refugees were registered as employed. They constituted 47.3 per cent of this population group 15-74 years of age. In the whole Norwegian population the employment rate in the corresponding age group was 66.1 per cent, i.e. a disparity of 18.8 percentage points.

However, immigrants have a larger share of people aged 25-54 years than the population as a whole. When regarding this age population, which is the most economically active years, the employment rate in the whole population is almost 80 per cent and 53.3 per cent among refugees, i.e. a disparity of 26.6 percentage points.

The duration of residence in Norway is of great importance to the level of employment among refugees. Among those who have resided 4 years or less in Norway, the employment rate is far below the average of refugees. This group is, however, in a phase of adaption to the Norwegian society and as a consequence they are outside the labour force. Refugees with 4-6 years of residence have 46 per cent employment rate, while refugees who have resided from 7 to 19 years in Norway have employment rates at 50 – 53 per cent. Among those with 20 years or more in Norway the employment rate is close to 60 per cent.

However, the duration of residence in Norway do not have the same impact on the employment rate among all groups. For instance enter male refugees the labour market earlier than females. There are great gender disparities (in men’s favour) among those who have resided 4-9 years in Norway. Among some selected nationalities, we can also observe a higher level of employment among refugees from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Myanmar within the groups with more than 4 years of residence in Norway compared to those from Iraq, Somalia and Syria.

The refugees’ age at the time of settlement in Norway is also of importance. Those who settled in Norway at the age 0-19 years have an employment rate at 70 per when resided 20 years or more.

The education level also has a considerable impact on the employment rate. The group with compulsory education only have in particular the lowest employment rate irrespective of refugee background. Since more than the half of the refugees have compulsory education only, this group reduces the average employment rate.

Refugees who have completed an upper secondary or higher education in Norway have, however, an employment rate only a few percentage points below the whole population at the same educational level.

Since refugees have relatively more new-comers on the labour market than the whole population, the share of jobseekers is greater, 6.4 versus 2.5 per cent. In addition 6.3 per cent of the refugees participate on the introduction programme for new immigrants and 9.2 per cent participate in formal education. When the share of employed is added, the refugees have in total a share of 70 per cent within the labour force or in education (the introduction programme included) versus 83 per cent in the whole population aged 15-66 years, i.e. a disparity of 13 percentage points.

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