top of page

Publications resulted from MAVI

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back: The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Reversed Integration Processes among Refugees in Norway

Benedicte Nessa, 2023


Nordic Journal of Migration Reseasrch Vol. 13(3), pp.1-18 

Link to paper

Refugees settling in Norway experience several barriers to labour market integration, such as language insufficiency, low or unrecognised formal competence, and discrimination. While numerous scholars have dealt with the issues of both policy implementation and the outcome of public measures, there is a growing interest in the contributions of civil society organizations (CSOs) to the labour market integration of refugees. Such an interest is fueled by the proliferation of neoliberal reforms in European welfare states and restrictive budgets, leading to increased recognition of CSOs as resolutions to social issues. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among refugees and employees in two CSOs in Norway, the findings suggest a particularly vulnerable phase immediately after the public introduction programme for refugees not moving on to employment, education, or training. Drawing on Bourdieu’s concept of different forms of capital in addition to Granovetter’s theory of social network, I argue that CSOs have a profound role in preventing the reversed integration processes that occur in this specific phase of settlement.

Nordic Journal of Migration Reseasrch Vol. 13(3), pp.1-18

“Managing aspirations and (dis) empowerment. Norwegian work counsellors’ strategies in “activating” and assisting newly arrived refugees in entering the Norwegian labour market”.

Zubia Wilman Robleda and Memory Jayne Tembo.Pankuku, 2022


Conference Paper Presentation 

In Norway, the migration discourse, both among politicians and in academia, is largely linked to the welfare state and the ambition of having as many people as possible contributing to its sustainability through participation in the labour market. Norway differentiates itself from other countries in Europe with its full-time compulsory two-year introductory programme, an activation policy is meant to qualify newly arrived immigrants (mostly forced migrants) for further education or work. Activation policies are a result of a major global development in the welfare state and are meant to responsibilise the welfare clients and make them work on their own employability. This article focuses on the welfare bureaucrats that are responsible for supervising the immigrants during this programme. The main role that these welfare workers have is to guide the immigrants through the qualification programme they are partaking in by giving them information and counselling to guide them in what they consider “the right direction” to get them to be active in the labour market. In particular, we ask: what strategies do welfare bureaucrats use to “activate” newly arrived immigrants and assist them in entering the Norwegian labour market? The data consists of ten semi-structured interviews with welfare bureaucrats in different municipalities in the Southwestern region of Rogaland, Norway. In the analysis we find that these welfare bureaucrats use primarily three different strategies to “activate” newly arrived immigrants: reality orientation, motivation work and warnings. Through these strategies what the welfare bureaucrats seek to achieve is to re-shape and adjust immigrants’ aspirations and motivations for labour market participation.

Conference paper presented at the 19th IMISCOE Annual Confernece, Migration and Time: Temporalities of Mobility, Governance, and Resistance. 29th June - 1st July, 2022, Oslo

Participant recruitment to online surveys with Facebook Ads: A comparison of different optimisation and placement strategies from a study of Syrian migrants in Norway

Oleksandr Ryndyk and Norma Wong, 2022


Conference Paper Presentation 

In the past few years, migration researchers have explored the potential of using Facebook advertisements (Facebook Ads) for recruiting migrants to online surveys. Due to budget constraints, studies have relied on optimisation strategies that maximise link clicks. Although this strategy has proven both most effective (brings in most clicks) and most efficient (gets the clicks at the lowest price), relatively little is known about bias introduced to recruited samples due to Facebook’s algorithms which deliver ads to the most responsive users. This paper presents findings from a study where four unique combinations of optimisation (Daily unique reach vs. Link clicks) and placement (Automatic vs. Manual) strategies have been used on Facebook to recruit respondents from among recently arrived Syrian migrants in Norway. Applying regression and post-stratification weighting techniques to a sample of 723 respondents, this article analyses the bias introduced to the sample during different weeks of the campaign. It finds that in addition to the overall sample’s bias towards more respondents with higher levels of education, across all gender and age groups, the subsample recruited in the period when the ads’ placement was manually restricted to Facebook was skewed toward even more educated respondents. At the same time, the analysis reveals no significant differences in the demographic composition of the subsamples between the Daily unique reach and Link clicks optimisations strategies. The findings offer useful insights for future studies designing advertisements strategies for recruiting migrants with Facebook Ads.

Conference paper presented at the 19th IMISCOE Annual Confernece, Migration and Time: Temporalities of Mobility, Governance, and Resistance. 29th June - 1st July, 2022, Oslo

What do newly arrived refugees see as the most important in their labour market integration process? Thematic analysis of free-text comments from a national online survey in Norway

Norma Wong, 2022


Conference Paper Presentation 

Under the Norwegian welfare state, refugee integration policies have a strong focus on labour market performance as a key indicator for successful integration. However, this mono-dimensional approach is not in line with the decades of international scholarship about integration, especially those of forced migrants. Based on Ager and Strang’s (2004, 2008) ten dimensions of integration, in combination with the most recent debates about the wider contexts and opportunity structures that surrounds the integration process, this paper presents empirical evidence from the newly arrived refugees in Norway on their views and experience in the labour market integration process. Drawing from the entries in free text comment section at the end of an online survey targeted at newly arrived refugees in Norway, this study presents an inductive thematic analysis of nearly two hundred entries. The findings show that labour market integration is inter-connected closely with other dimensions of integration, most saliently social connection and language acquisition. In addition, the comments also reveal that despite the comprehensiveness of the welfare state and the integration programme, there are structural issues concerning the design and implementation of measures, such that crucial needs are not heeded, and the newly arrived are often left demotivated and frustrated in their struggle to access the labour market.

Conference paper presented at the 19th IMISCOE Annual Confernece, Migration and Time: Temporalities of Mobility, Governance, and Resistance. 29th June - 1st July, 2022, Oslo

Labour Market Integration of Newly Arrived Refugees in Norway: a Systematic Scoping Review on Policies and Outcomes 

Norma Wong, 2021


Conference Paper Presentation 

Presentation (PDF)

This paper reports on the summary of findings from a systematic scoping review of literature in both English and Norwegian published in the past four years in the topic of labour market integration of refugees in Norway. During the process, two reviewers were involved, over 200 articles are located and screened; 87 relevant literature are identified, with only 18 in English and the rest in Norwegian. The article offers a detailed summary of the main themes and findings that emerged from this young and fragmented body of literature, including key features of the introduction programme, local adaptations of policies and their outcomes, policies focused on women, collaboration with civil society, and how these have achieved or failed in bringing more economic integration.

Conference paper to be presented in International Political Science Association 26th World Congress of Political Science, New Nationalism in an Open World, 10th - 15th July, 2021, online. Panel RC46.21 “The Political Dynamics of Welcoming and Including Immigrants” 13th July 2021 10.00-11.45 UTC

Labor Market Integration of Newly Arrived Refugees in the Norwegian Context

Benedicte Nessa, 2021


Conference Paper Presentation 

Presentation (PDF)

This paper presents Nessa's PhD research project and the preliminary findings thus far. The project explores the significance of newly arrived refugees’ encounters with civil society organizations regarding their aspirations and actual participation in the labor market, and how these evolve as they gradually settle into Norwegian society. After the two-year full time Introduction Programme, a significant number of participants "fell out" of the path towards employment or education. During this period, civil society actors can play a crucial role in avoiding a reversed language process, creating and maintaining aspiration for work in a time of waiting, and preventing isolation by connecting refugees and the majority population.  Targeting at newly arrived refugees who are not working or in education, this study has so far yielded some preliminary findings worthy of further exploration. These include the experiened barriers related to language, religious discrimination, and idleness after the introducatoin progreamme. The empirical data of this paper draws on interviews with newly arrived refugees (9) and representatives for civil society organizations (4), along with participant observation over a period of 6 months with two different organizations.

Paper presented at the conference "Migrating World: interdisciplinary approaches to Migration and Integration" organized by  London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Interdisciplinary Research Foundation,
London, UK, 20th February, 2021

What we talk about when we talk about integration: reflections on the research about labour market integration of newly arrived refugees in Norway.

Norma Wong,
Zubia Willmann Robleda, 2021

Conference paper presentation 

Presentation (PDF)

This paper presents the authors’ reflections about the ends and means of integration from an on-going project about labour market integration of newly arrived refugees in Norway. It elaborates on four aspects which are currently under-researched, and argues for multi-disciplinary, mixed-methods approach to reclaim the meaning of integration as opposed to assimilation. These are: 1) Social capital and inclusive communities; 2) Quality of jobs offered to immigrants; 3) Political participation; and 4) Immigrant entrepreneurship. 

Paper presented at the 17th Nordic Migration Resesarch Conference
"Colonial/racial histories, Narratives and Transnational Migration"

organized by University of Helsinki,
Helsinki, Finland, 11th - 14th January, 2021 

A scoping review of literature on labour market integration of newly arrived refugees in Norway: Report from a systematic literature search

Norma Wong, 2020


VID report

Full report available

This systematic scoping review summarizes the body of literature in both English and Norwegian published between 2015 to August 2019 on the topic of labour market integration of refugees in Norway. The review is centred upon the research question “What research have been done about labour market integration of recently arrived refugees in Norway?” During the process, a protocol was designed and followed. Over 200 articles were subsequently identified through systematic searches on databases using specific keywords strings, and screened by two different reviewers. 87 of them are included in this scoping review. 


The scoping review is a descriptive summary that includes statistics of the body of literature included. It mainly displays the distribution of articles in Norwegian and English, their topics, research methods, data sources, and types of publication to show the current trend observed in the defined field of literature in the Norwegian context.

Undergraduate projects

Cerine Evjen, 2020

Kvinnelig flyktningers møte med arbeidsmarkedet. En kvalitativ studie om utfordringer og muligheter når kvinnelige flyktninger integreres i det norske arbeidsmarkedet    

Line Norheim, 2020

Migranters møte med det norske arbeidsmarkedet.  Perspektiver fra praksisfeltet

Rahma Abdalla, 2020

Vil ikke, tør ikke? En kvalitativ studie av forholdet mellom religion og arbeid blant flyktninger
bottom of page