Reports 2018/03

Unaccompanied minor refugees 2015-2016

Child welfare, employment, education and income

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Unaccompanied minor refugees are children and young people who arrived in Norway before turning 18 without their parents or anyone with parental responsibility for them, and who applied for asylum and were granted residence in Norway on this basis. Of the near 17 500 who applied for asylum in the period from 1996 to 2016, more than 8 000 were granted a permanent residence and settled in Norway.

Most come from Afghanistan, Somalia and Eritrea

A total of 90 per cent have a background from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Syria, Ethiopia or Eritrea. Eight out of ten of the unaccompanied minor refugees are boys.

More than half received measures from the child welfare services

Fifty-two per cent of those who have been living as unaccompanied minor refugees in the age group 0-22 years received measures from the child welfare services in 2015. The measures that were most commonly received in this group were financial assistance and housing with follow-up. Unaccompanied minor refugees aged 18-20 account for the highest proportion of child welfare measures, with 74 per cent.

Nearly one out of five live in Oslo

Many of the unaccompanied minor refugees have moved to Oslo. At the beginning of 2017, 18 per cent lived in Oslo, while only seven per cent were originally settled there.

Activity levels vary with age, length of residence, country of origin, and gender

Seventy-four per cent of the unaccompanied minor refugees who are now aged 18-29 were either in education or employment or participating in the introduction programme at the end of 2015, which is a considerably lower proportion than in the general population in the same age group (85 per cent). The activity level, and particularly the employment level, increases with age and length of residence. The unaccompanied minor refugees from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have a higher activity level than those from Eritrea, Somalia and Iraq.

Lower income than the general population

For the unaccompanied minor refugees now aged 18-29 years, the share of income from employment accounts for 65 per cent of total income, which is a much lower share than in the general population in the same age group (80 per cent). A large share of the unaccompanied minor refugees’ income stems from benefit transfers. Share of income from employment increases with length of residence.

The average income for the unaccompanied minor refugees is much lower than the average income in the general population, and we find a higher share with persistent low income among unaccompanied minor refugees compared with the general population.

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