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How can municipalities make it easier for refugees and their relatives to find work?

A new report shows what factors affect the ability of refugees to make a living, and what their contacts with public agencies are on issues relating to this. The report has been produced within the framework for the national research programme in migration and integration operated by the Swedish Research Council.

Many different views prevail about how entry to the labour market works for refugees and their relatives, but those who make decisions about integration of newly arrived persons need useful, research-based knowledge. What are the real preconditions that affect the ability of refugees to make a living, and their contacts with public agencies in conjunction with joining the labour market?

The report “Kommunala insatser för att underlätta arbetsmarknadsinträdet för flyktingar och deras anhöriga” (“Municipal interventions to facilitate entry into the labour market of refugees and their relatives”) highlight the central role played by municipalities, the regulatory framework, and the initiatives made on behalf of this group on the labour market.

It shows that integration of refugees and their relatives into the labour market takes a long time, and that the initiatives offered by municipalities vary greatly from one municipality to another. A general conclusion of the study is that there is limited knowledge about the initiatives and their effects on refugees’ establishment on the labour market – despite municipalities being such important actors.

In a concluding discussion, the authors highlight a number of insights from the work on the report:

    • Introductory programmes, language courses and intensified matching initiatives for refugees produce good labour market effects. Subsidised employment also has good effects, in particular if it entails ordinary work tasks in ordinary workplaces.
    • The effects of labour market training for refugees are mainly positive, but it should not necessarily be municipalities that provide this training.
    • The validation of foreign qualifications can have positive effects.
    • The administration time for asylum cases and work during the asylum period play important roles.
    • Initiatives that have been shown to lack positive effects are, for example, municipal activation policies.
    • The allocation of refugees to municipalities has had negative labour market effects.
    • It is unclear whether municipal adult education and higher education have had effects. The same applies for whether anonymised job applications have counteracted discrimination.

    The report will be presented on 13 December

    A seminar on labour market establishment of newly arrived persons is arranged for 13 December. During the seminar, researchers from the Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy (IFAU) will present the conclusions from the work on the report. The seminar will conclude with a panel discussion, where researchers, practitioners and decision-makers take part.

    You can read more about the seminar and register here (in Swedish)

    Part of a ten-year national research programme in migration and integration

    The report was produced by Mattias Engdahl, Anders Forslund and Ulrika Vikman at the Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy (IFAU). It was requested by the Swedish Research Council, which has been tasked by the Government to operate a ten-year national research programme in migration and integration since 2017. In addition to strengthening research in this field, the programme shall also contribute to research being disseminated and made accessible outside the research community. This research review is part of the communication work.

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    National research programme within migration and integration

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