Former participants in the Introduction Programme 2005-2016
The introduction programme for new 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.
One of the main observations made in this report points toward increased participation in the labour market and in education in the first years after finishing the introduction programme. The share employed or under education then flattens out before it gradually decreases towards the end of the period. However, there is a positive development among those who were employed in terms of growing full-time positions, higher income levels as well as greater self-sufficiency.
For most of the cohorts, the share employed or under education increases from about 60 per cent in the first years after the introduction programme, to 63-65 per cent after 4-6 years. It then decreases to about 60 per cent after 8-12 years. This development is mainly due to a reduction of the share of those under education as time goes by, a development which is not fully compensated the employment growth among the former participants.
A higher percentage of men than women were either employed or under education throughout the period from 2010 until 2017. The differences do however reduce as time passes by. The share that were under education decreased for both sexes. 10 percentage points more men than women were either employed or under education in 2010. This gap in labour market and educational participation was reduced to about 5 percentage points in 2017.
The income situation for the former participants is closely related to their attachment to the labour market. The levels of income for former participants increased during 2010-2017. The growth is however lower for this group than for the comparable groups in the population. In 2010, the median household income among those finishing the introduction programme during the period 2005-2009 was s about 65 percent of that of the general population between 20 and 66 years. This share had reduced to 63 percent by 2017. The composition of household revenues changed as well during this period. In the period from 2010 to 2017, the share of the total household income derived from employment increased from about 50 percent to about 65 percent. The percentage with annual low income among former participants was around 40-42 percent in 2017. This reflects the degree of self-sufficiency among the former participants.
There are clear variations by country background, both in terms of results in the labour market and with regards to the income situation. In general, it is those with background from Somalia and Iraq which display the lowest share with employment or under education. Former participants with background from Myanmar, Eritrea and Ethiopia are among those with generally more favorable results, in terms of higher shares in employment or under education, with higher income levels, as well as fewer with sustained low income.