It utilizes cohort analyses based on surveys where those who immigrated and return migrated to Norway in 2003 and 2005 are followed for a number of years in the 2000s, up to 2014. The report attempts to identify and shed light on the potential for immigrants to increase their attachment to the labour market. We also look more closely at how individuals’ connection to the labour market in the years after arriving in Norway affects the probability of being in workin the long term.

Refugees and immigrants with family as their reason for immigration have employment rates that are clearly below the average for the population that immigrated, especially among women. Among immigrants arriving for work or educational reasons, as well as immigrants from other Nordic countries, employment rates are above the average for the population, and on average also higher than among Norwegian-born persons returning from a stay abroad. The same applies to working hours (conditional on employment), but with working hours increasing with the number of years in employment.

However, the analysis indicates that a relatively high proportion of immigrants of working age entered employment during the periods we look at. What distinguishes immigrants from the Norwegian-born population that return migrated is that many have several years without employment during the periods we are looking at, with partly high flows both to and from employment. Towards the end of the periods, male immigrants have higher flows out of employment than into employment, which is not the case among female immigrants.

A possible reason why many immigrants with background from escape have low occupational participation may be that they tend to gather in industries that are often characterized with unstable working condition. Immigrants with escape and family as their reason for immigration are often employed in occupational groups such as Service and sales workers, Plant and machine operators and assemblers etc., and Elementary occupations etc., while those arriving for work or educational reasons, along with Nordic and Norwegian-born immigrants, are often employed among Professionals, Technicians and associated professionals and partly among Managers. However, working immigrants from the 2005 cohort show a decline in the degree to which they work as Professionals and Technicians and associated professionals and show a very strong growth in the probability of working as Crafts and related trades workers. This is related with the EU’s eastward enlargement in 2004.

With increasing duration of stay, however, mobility between the industries increases. The proportion of immigrants who are employed in "immigrant-heavy" industries such as Accommodation and food service activities, Administrative and support service activities and Manufacturing tend to fall with increasing duration of residence, while the opposite is true in an industry such as Human health and social work activities.

Concerns that immigrants have low employment due to health challenges in being employed in occupations and industries with a lot of hard work seem to primarily apply to those with escape and family as their reason for immigration, but also apply to labour immigrants with crafts as a profession.

In the short term, there is a slightly higher probability of employment among immigrants who move between different geographical centrality levels than those who do not move, but this effect seems to diminish and disappear with increased duration of residence. The probability of employment is relatively low for immigrants living centrally, while it varies somewhat between the other levels of centrality where the probability of employment is highest. The latter seems to be most relevant among immigrants with a refugee background.

Individual characteristics such as previous professional experience, periods of non-employment and what one has done during these periods are important for professional participation. Especially in the slightly longer term, employment history is of great importance. Not unexpectedly, it is of greater importance for immigrants with a refugee background than for other immigrants, and somewhat more important for men than for women.

The probability of employment is also affected by what immigrants did when they were not working. Being in education gives a higher probability of employment compared to having been registered as unemployed or being outside the labor force in general, but this effect is strongest in the short term.

The probability of employment increases with increasing level of education. Immigrants with higher education are most likely to be employed regardless of previous work experience. However, the educational effect is greatest for immigrants with a refugee background.

Immigrants in single-person families in Norway show a relatively high probability of being employed in the short and medium term after immigration, but the probability falls relative to those in households with two to four family members as the duration of residence increases. This may be related to changes in the composition of families with single immigrants in Norway with increasing duration of residence.