Reports 2013/04

Refugees and the labour market, 4th quarter 2011

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This report describes the labour market situation for refugees 15 – 74 years old settled in Norway in the 4th. quarter of 2011. The figures for the refugees are compared to the immigrant group as a whole, where refugees are included, and the entire Norwegian population. Refugees in this report are people who have immigrated to Norway because of flight. Family immigrants with these refugees are also regarded as refugees.

In the 4th quarter of 2011 a total of 76 613 refugees were registered as employed. They constituted 50.8 per cent of this population group. In the whole Norwegian population the employment rate was 69.1 per cent and among immigrants in total, 62.8 per cent. The employment rates within the refugee-population and the population as a whole were unchanged since the 4th. quarter of 2010, while there was an increase of 1.2 percentage points among immigrants in total.

Refugees from Sri Lanka had the highest employment rate at 70.4 per cent. Then came refugees from Chile and Croatia with 68.2 and 66.4 per cent respectively. The lowest rates were recorded among refugees from Somalia at 30.6 per cent. Then came refugees from Eritrea and Iraq at 38.5 and 41.4 per cent respectively.

Among refugees in total men had an employment rate of 54.4 per cent and women 46.7 per cent in the 4th. quarter of 2011, which constituted a difference of 7.7 percentage points in men’s favour. For the entire population these figures were 71.7 and 66.4 per cent respectively, a difference of 5.3 percentage points. In the refugee groups from Afghanistan, Turkey, Iraq and Somalia the differences in employment rates between men and women were particular large, between 14 and 20 percentage points in men’s favour. On the other side, we find refugees from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Vietnam who have smaller gender differences than the Norwegian population as a whole.

Among the employed refugees 64.6 per cent were in full-time employment (defined as 30 hours or more per week), while the corresponding rate in the entire employed population was 72.4 per cent. Full-time work is most common among refugees with a high level of employment.

About 21 300 of the refugees were resettlement-refugees in the 4th quarter of 2011. This group of refugees is selected each year by the Norwegian foreign authorities in cooperation with the UN. The quota per year is 1 200 refugees. The resettlement-refugees constituted about 15 per cent of the refugee population aged 15-74 years, and the largest groups came from Iran, Vietnam, Iraq, Myanmar and Afghanistan. These groups constituted in total ca. 15 000 of the resettlement-refugees aged 15-74 years.

The employment rate among resettlement-refugees was 48.3 per cent, a rate which was 2.5 percentage points below the total refugee average. Among the larger groups of settlement refugees, those from Vietnam had the highest employment rate at 61.6 per cent. The groups from Somalia and Eritrea had the lowest rates at 26.2 and 27.2 per cent respectively.

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