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More about MAVI

In the autumn of 2015, Norway received a historically high number of refugees, who have been, or currently are obligated to participate in the two-year introductory programme that helps them into further education or work. There is a lot of excitement about how, for example, Syrians, a relatively new group in Norway, will do in the labour market in the years ahead. Will they repeat the success story of the Bosniers who came onthe1990s and are often lauded as "integration winners" (Dzamarija, 2016), or will the labour force participation be low due to other factors?   


The introductory program

Since 2010, the national goal has been that at least 55% of participants in the introductory programme should go directly into work or education after two years in the programme, and that 70% of participants should be in work or education one year after completing the introductory programme. The recent report  "Introductory programme and Norwegian training: What works – for whom?" (Djuve et al., 2017) noted that in 2016 that only Hammerfest and Ålesund met the national targets when looking at the proportion of refugees in work four years after the introduction programme (71% for Ålesund and 70%  for  Hammerfest). For Stavanger, the share was 52% in the same year, while for Sandnes it was 57%. Although several of the Rogaland municipalities do better than many other municipalities, it is still lower than the national goals.  There is a debate about whether the introductory programme  fulfill its promise. Djuve et al. (2017) shows that  there  are large municipal variations in how the scheme is organised and implemented, and that in some cases these affect the outcomes. They also document that there are measures in the introductory programme that have little effects. Work is currently underway at the government level to further develop the introduction programme and other education programmes for adult immigrants.

Research Question

The project's overall research questions are formulated as follows:

What factors inhibit and what factors promote the aspirations of refugees and actual participation in the labour market during the various phases of the migration process (on arrival; during the introduction programme and after the introduction programme)? 


Secondary questions:

  1. What are the ambitions of labour market integration of asylum seekers who sit in reception centres?

  2. To what extent are such ambitions adjusted during and after participation  in the introductory programme?

  3. What roles do introductory advisers play in terms of their ambition and actual integration into the labour market?

  4. What roles does NAV play in terms of ambition and actual integration into the labour market?

  5. What roles does civil society play in terms of aspirations and actual integration into the labour market?

  6. What roles does religion and religious networks play in terms of aspirations and actual integration into the labour market?


Our hypothesis  is that  measurable  variables such as residence, age, country background,  education level, gender and family situation will have an impact on both aspirations and actual integration to the labour market, at the same time, personal characteristics, including the intercultural competence, employees in the field of practice, and whom they meet in their working life, will have an impact on the aforementioned ambitions and/or integration with the labour market. Furthermore, that meetings with actors from civil society can have the same impact.


Central theoretical concepts

The project will have a theoretical approach that includes both structural perspectives  (macro) and the migrants' own perspectives  (micro). By following  the migrants over time, and gaining insight into their connection to the labour market, the project will also have a life-cycle perspective  (see e.g. Odden,  2018).  Aspirations,  social mobility  and  social marginalisation  will  be the central theoretical concepts. The same applies to  the above-mentioned  concept  of intercultural competence  (Deardorff,  2006; Trails, 2003; Dahl, 2001). The project will produce knowledge and models for such meetings between the practitioners and newly arrived refugees, with a particular focus on labour market affiliation.


Key methodological approaches

We will interviewe  refugees and asylum seekers both in asylum centres in municipalities in Rogaland. Some of the refugees will be followed over time, and some as long as over 3 years. This will give us knowledge of how aspirations and actual connection to the labour market are adjusted over time, as well as what conditions affect such ambitions and  situations. We will also interview introductory advisers and NAV supervisors and observe meetings between these and participants, or former participants  in the introductory programme. Furthermore, we will  observe interaction between refugees in the introduction programme and teachers in classrooms. We will also interview a smaller selection of representatives from civil society, preferably voluntary sector and religious sector  (see e.g.  Kivisto  2014 and Connor 2014),  to gain insight into their work in the integration field in the broad sense.

In parallel, we will collect quantitative  data. Here we will more specifically use register data to describe and analyse, using regression analysis, the relationship between residence time, place of residence, national background, labour market association and income. Among other things, the analysis will generalise findings on factors that affect the income and employment situation of refguees in different part of the county.  We will also conduct a survey among refugees to investigate further into their experience with settling in Norway and integration in the labour market.

The combination between quantitative and qualitative data may provide a solid empirical basis in understanding and analysis of the project's overall research question. 

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