From 1996 to 2020, 10 118 unaccompanied minor refugees were granted a permanent residence and settled in Norway. By the beginning of 2021 - 9 445 of them were still residents in Norway.
Unaccompanied minor refugees from Afghanistan are the single largest group (46 per cent), followed by Eritrea (15 per cent), Somalia (12 per cent) and Syria (7 per cent). Boys are in the majority with 84 per cent. About 3 500 persons have subsequently family immigrated to these minor refugees. Most immigrate to Syrian minor refugees with an average of 1.7 persons.
Unaccompanied minor refugees are living throughout the country in 247 municipalities. One third are settled in the five largest cities – most in Oslo with about 1 700 persons. Near 50 per cent of unaccompanied minor refugees have moved from their first settlement municipality – about a third to Oslo.
Education and employment are important factors for successful integration. Among those settled as unaccompanied minor refugees, now aged 18-39 years, about 79 per cent were employed or under education by November 2020. This is a somewhat lower percentage than in earlier monitors, but the labour market in 2020 was affected by the corona pandemic.
A higher percentage of men (80 per cent) than women (73 per cent) are either employed or in education, but there are differences according to country background. Unaccompanied minor refugees, especially from Syria, many with a short time of residence and low employment, are mostly under education or participating in the introduction program for new immigrants. Minor refugees from Sri Lanka, Iraq and Afghanistan have a longer time of residence, high employment rate, and consequently fewer are under education.
The level of income among those settled as unaccompanied minor refugees, is much lower than in the general population at the same age. In the age group 18-29 years, median income per consumption unit was 65 per cent of the general median income level in 2020. The level of income rises with time of residence. Among those settled as unaccompanied minor refugees, now in the age group 30-39 years, median equivalent income was 73 per cent of the median income in the whole population at the same age. Compared with previous monitors, the relative level of income has risen in the age group 18-29 years. The income level is more stable in the age group 30-39 years, who has a higher employment rate and probably was more affected by the corona pandemic in 2020.
Many unaccompanied minor refugees are at persistent risk-of-poverty as adults. But again, there are substantial differences with respect to country background. As the length of residence goes up, the share of people with persistent low income goes down as income from employment rises. However, many find it difficult to improve their financial situation even after many years of residence in Norway.
39 per cent of the unaccompanied minor refugees in the age group 0-22 years received measures from the child welfare services in 2020. In comparison, the corresponding share was 52 per cent in 2015. 82 per cent of the unaccompanied minor refugees were over 18 years of age, and 63 per cent were from Afghanistan. Over time, an even smaller proportion of unaccompanied minor refugees receives placement measures, while an increasing proportion receives financial measures.