Reports 2018/01

Refugees inside and outside the labour market 2016

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This report describes the labour market situation for refugees 15 – 66 years old settled in Norway in the 4th. quarter of 2016. The figures for the refugees are compared to the entire Norwegian population aged 15-66 years. The refugees’ family immigrants are also included among the whole group of refugees.

In the 4th quarter of 2016 a total of 89 195 refugees were registered as employed. They constituted 47.4 per cent of this population group 15-66 years of age. In the whole Norwegian population, the employment rate in the corresponding age group was 71 per cent, i.e. a disparity of 23.6 percentage points. There were only slight reductions in the employment rate since 2015, 0.7 percentage points among refugees and 0.2 percentage points in the whole population.

The duration of residence in Norway is of great importance to the level of employment among refugees. Among those who have resided less than 4 years in Norway, the employment rate is far below the average of refugees, because many of them participate on the introduction programme for newly settled refugees. Refugees with 4-6 years of residence have 46 per cent employed, while those with 7 to 19 years in Norway have employment rates at 52 – 56 per cent. Among refugees resided 20 years or more in Norway, the employment rate lies slightly above 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 reugees 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 with more than 3 years of residence in Norway we can, moreover, observe a higher level of employment among refugees from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Myanmar 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 0-15 years have employment rates between 69 and 73 per cent 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 the definitive lowest employment rate irrespective of refugee background. Since more than 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, 5.8 versus 2.4 per cent. In addition, 8.4 per cent of the refugees participate on the introduction programme for new immigrants and 9.3 per cent participate in formal education. When the share of employed is added, the refugees have in total a share of 71 per cent within the labour force or in education (the introduction programme included) versus 82.7 per cent in the whole population aged 15-66 years, i.e. a disparity of 11.7 percentage Points.

Among three selected groups with a short time of residence, the employment rate is very low the first two years due to particpation on the introduction programme, but among those with 3 years of residence, the employment rates are: 38.4 per cent (Syria) and 32 per cent (Eritrea and Sudan). With 4-6 years of residence the rates are: 57.3 per cent (Eritrea), 53.2 per cent (Syria) and 47.3 per cent (Sudan).

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