This is Norway at its best. This is where we fail.
Few other Western countries have had as much immigration as Norway in recent decades. The proportion of foreign-born people tripled from 2000 to 2020.
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) OECD is the International Organization of Industrialized Countries. Currently 38 member states have open market economies, democracies and high income levels. The OECD works to develop good models and policies for economic growth, welfare, environment and integration. Member States’ integration policy and work with migrants have been systematically studied for a long time. Norway’s efforts were first assessed in 2007. Now there is a comprehensive study of what Norway is doing right and wrong when it comes to integrating immigrants.
– Compared to other countries, Norway is doing well. Integration investment pays off for both the individual immigrant and society, Thomas Liebig summarizes.
He is head of the OECD’s Department of International Migration.
This week he presented Report With several recommendations to the Norwegian authorities. It compares the language skills, education and work participation of immigrants in Norway and other OECD countries.
How successful has Norway been with integration? Where do immigrants fall outside Norwegian society?
It is one of the best countries in Norway:
1. Straight to school, to work fast
- The Norwegian labor market is in demand for people with higher education and professional skills. Nevertheless, even though more of the Norwegian-born are employed, Norway generally scores high on the employment of immigrants.
- A reason Introduction, The Introductory Program is mainly about reuniting refugees and their families during resettlement. It should provide basic skills in the Norwegian language, a basic understanding of Norwegian social life and prepare participants for work or education.This ensures that refugees quickly receive Norwegian education, vocational training and individually tailored work preparation.
- Of the men who arrived as refugees and received the induction program, 70 percent were in work or education five to nine years after arrival. Of those who did not participate in the training, only 58 percent were employed after the same period.
- Norway is very quick to recognize the education and skills of immigrants. By this they can quickly become useful in the society. In 2020 it took Absolutely A national organization for the quality of education that contributes to improving the quality of higher education and vocational education in Norway. Also responsible for approving the use of foreign education and skills in Norway.It takes an average of eight days to process a complete academic approval application. In 2016, the average processing time was 63 days.
2. Class trip for migrant children
- An important indicator is whether immigrant children succeed in Norwegian society. In Norway, the second generation does well in school and has a high level of employment – especially compared to their parents.
- Norway stands out in that children of immigrants have the same high-quality education as children of Norwegian-born parents.
- Most Norwegian-born people with an immigrant background are in the workforce between the ages of 15 and 34. The number is increasing every year. In 2019, 73 percent were employed. Comparison: 83 percent of peers with two Norwegian-born parents were employed.
3. Victory of women
- Norway has some unique results for women with a migrant background. Women with immigrant parents are more likely to be employed. 74 percent of women aged 15 to 34 are employed. For men of the same age, the figure is 72 percent.
- Norwegian equality also affects immigrants. International attitude surveys show that immigrants in Norway are more positive about equality than in other countries.
This is what the expert says
– If you compare an average immigrant in different countries, Norway comes out pretty well. It’s clear that the investment in integration is paying off, says Liebig.
But he insists the results will be good in the short term. The challenge is that many people leave the working life after a certain number of years.
– After the introductory program, long-term integration is challenging. Make sure more people stay in work and ensure they don’t lose touch with working life, the OECD’s expert warns.
This is where Norwegian integration falls behind:
1. Multiple cooks and shifting responsibilities
Check out the plan below. If you’re having trouble understanding something, it’s precisely the important message from the OECD.
It is an attempt to create an overview of everything and everyone involved in integration and work with immigrants in Norway.
This is where Norway is in trouble.
- Norway has a complex coordination system with numerous actors with different roles and responsibilities. Politically, responsibility has shifted back and forth between ministries.
- Coordination levels are decentralized and divided into state level, district level and municipal level.
- The lack of central governance worries the OECD. Smaller municipalities have worse results in the introductory program than larger municipalities.
– Norway is not that big and doesn’t accept many refugees. It is good for municipalities to engage in coordination, but avoid reinventing the wheel. We recommend stronger governance and a national strategy to ensure everyone gets an equally good offer, says OECD analyst Elizabeth Gum.
2. Weakness in Norwegian
- Norwegian skills are weak among the migrant population, especially among migrant workers from the EU. Here, Norway scores low internationally.
- Students with migrant backgrounds struggle to get apprenticeships.
- Limited offer of Norwegian courses and introductory programs. For example, refugee families lose their right to the program if five years have passed before they are reunified. It affects many women. In addition, the supply of migrant workers is too weak, the OECD believes.
- The OECD recommends that EU immigrants in Norway try a short introductory course.
3. Monetary support slows down
- OECD experts believe a controversial scheme to pay for staying at home with children is slowing integration.
- Among the users, migrant mothers are highly represented. This plan has two unfortunate consequences, Liebig believes:
– We see a low rate of return to work. This scheme keeps them away from working life. This has consequences for the mothers, but also affects the children who cannot make Norway at a very important age.
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