Reports 2020/02

Resettlement refugees 2019

Almost one out of four resettlement refugees in Norway comes from Syria, most of them have arrived during the last five years. Other large country groups are Iran, Iraq and Vietnam.

52 per cent of all resettlement refugees are men and 48 per cent are women. From 2009, women have been prioritized for selection, resulting in an increased proportion of women. Resettlement refugees living in Norway are rather young. Almost half of them are 18 years or younger when they arrive in the country. The most common type of household is couples with children.

One out of six resettlement refugees live in Oslo. Those who have recently arrived have a more decentralised settlement pattern than those with a longer duration of stay.

In November 2017, 45 per cent of all resettlement refugees in the age group 15-66 years are employed, 49 per cent of men and 42 per cent of women. The employment level among resettlement refugees is 2.5 percentage points lower than the average for all refugees. Slightly above 50 per cent of those in employment are working full-time as compared to 70 per cent for the total population.

The first two years after arrival, most refugees are participating in the mandatory Introduction Programme, meaning that the level of employment is very low. The employment level is increasing by duration of stay. After eight years, half of the resettlement refugees are employed. When comparing country groups, we find that the groups with the longest duration of stay, for example Vietnam and Myanmar, have the highest level of employment. The lowest level we find for Syria (short duration of stay).

Resettlement refugees have a higher percentage than the average in the industries human health and social work activities, retail trade and food and beverage service activities. Among occupations, they have a percentage above the national average for service and sales workers and elementary occupations. These are occupations where higher education is normally not required. 60 per cent of the resettlement refugees have a level of education below upper secondary education, or no education at all. The percentage of resettlement refugees working in professional occupations, is well below the national average.

After the completion of the Introduction Programme, the percentage in employment or education is somewhat lower for resettlement refugees than for other refugees. However, the difference decreases by increasing duration of stay, especially for men.

The income level of resettlement refugees is low compared to other immigrants and the total population. Many resettlement refugees have low income from work and receive large shares of transfers. However, this varies with different types of household, duration of stay and country background. The transfer refugees who come from Syria, have short duration of stay, and large shares of total income in form of transfers, like social assistance and introduction benefit. Vietnamese refugees have long duration of stay, and relatively high income from work.

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