Reports 2015/38

Norwegian language training and employment among immigrants granted residence permit in 2009

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In 2009, 12 800 immigrants were granted a residence permit. This either gave them the right or made it compulsory for them to participate in Norwegian language training and social studies. Sixty-four per cent of these immigrants were in employment or education, while 3 per cent were in receipt of social assistance in November 2012.

The purpose of this report is to examine the impact of Norwegian language training on immigrants who were granted a residence permit in 2009 (herein referred to as the 2009 cohort). This is done by looking at whether the immigrants’ participation in employment and the education system varies according to participation in Norwegian language training. It is, however, not possible in this report to show a direct causal relationship between Norwegian language training and employment.

The report does not cover immigrants from the Nordic countries or other EEA countries who have the right of residence in Norway under the EEA chapter of the Immigration Act.

 Most immigrants undertake Norwegian language training

Of the 12 800 immigrants in the 2009 cohort who were aged 16-55 years in 2012, 10 400 undertook at least one hour of Norwegian language training during the period 2009-2012. This corresponds to a participation rate of 81 per cent. Almost 2 400 people – i.e. 19 per cent of the 2009 cohort – did not participate in any Norwegian language training. In this group, 34 per cent were registered with work as the reason for immigration, and an equal share were registered under family reunification. Fifteen per cent had reported refuge as the reason for immigration to Norway. Among those who participated in the Norwegian language training, 50 per cent were registered under family reunification, while 39 per cent were in Norway as refugees.

Many Norwegian language training pupils were from East Africa

The countries with the highest number of participants were Eritrea, Afghanistan and Somalia, while those with a background from India, Russia, Afghanistan and the USA had the highest share of non-participants.

High employment rate for non-participants of Norwegian language training

The share who were in employment or education was higher among non-participants than participants of Norwegian language training, with 84 compared to 60 per cent. In addition to those in employment or education, 9 per cent were still on the introduction programme for new immigrants, 4 per cent were registered as 100% unemployed and 3 per cent were social assistance recipients.

 Most men in employment

The figures show that 74 per cent of all men in the 2009 cohort were working or studying in 2012. The corresponding share for women was considerably less at 56 per cent.

Nine out of ten men who did not participate in Norwegian language training were in employment or education, compared to seven out of ten who did participate. The same pattern is evident for women: 78 per cent who did not participate were in employment or education in November 2012. The corresponding share for women who did not participate was 52 per cent.

The youngest participants had the highest employment rate

A closer look at the figures in each age group among those who participated in the Norwegian language training shows that 61 per cent in the age group 16-25 years, 62 per cent in the age group 26-35 years, 57 per cent in the age group 36-45 years and 47 per cent in the age group 46-55 years were either in employment, in employment and education, or in education.

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