Former participants in the Introduction Programme 2013-2017
The introduction programme for newly arrived immigrants is an integration policy initiative that all Norwegian municipalities are obliged to offer newly arrived refugees and their families according to the Introduction Act (Act no. 80 of 4 July 2003). Norwegian language training and social studies are the main activities in the program, along with work experience and vocational guidance.
An important goal of the introduction programme is to ensure self-sufficiency through participation in the labour market. Since 2010, the government’s national objective has been that a minimum of 70 per cent of the former participants should be employed or in education one year after the end of the programme.
For persons who completed the introduction programme between 2013 and 2017, the share in work and education one year after varied from 58 per cent for the 2015 cohort to 63 per cent for the 2017 cohort. For all cohorts, the share increases over the next few years (years 2 to 5), and for those who finished in 2013, the share in employment or education was up to 67 per cent in 2018, 5 years after completion of the programme.
Similar to the results from previous reports, we find that there is a significantly higher percentage of men in employment or education in the first few years after the introduction programme. The biggest differences are one year after completion, but the differences then decrease somewhat year by year. Among those who finished in 2013, there were 22 percentage points more men than women in employment or education in 2014, and this was reduced to 15 percentage points four years later in 2018.
The income situation for the former participants is closely related to their attachment to the labour market. The income level for former participants is significantly below the level of comparable groups in the population, but there is still an improvement during the first 5 years after completion of the programme. The 2013 cohort’s median household income in 2014 was equal to about 56 per cent of the income in the population aged between 20 and 50. In 2018, this share had risen to 63 per cent, while the share with annual low income decreased from 60 per cent in 2014 to 45 per cent in 2018.
There are significant variations by country background both in terms of results in the labour market and the income situation. Generally, the former participants with background from Somalia and Iraq are those with the lowest share in employment or education. Those with background from Eritrea and Ethiopia are usually with more favourable results, in terms of higher shares in employment or education, higher income levels, as well as fewer with sustained low income.