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Denmark and refugees: Traineeships and wage subsidised jobs work best

| Text: Marie Preisler

Denmark has redoubled its efforts to get newly arrived refugees quickly into working for companies. Earlier they had to learn Danish first.

Get more newly arrived refugees into jobs, and as quickly as possible after their arrival to Denmark. That is what the Danish government and the social partners have agreed, and as a result they have expanded the number of measures which give financial support to private or public companies which take on refugees as workers.

Both public and private companies often use traineeships, a publicly funded measure, as a way to give refugees an introduction to the workplace. And if the internship goes well, some companies choose to use wage subsidised jobs as a way of keeping the refugee in the workplace for a longer period of time.

Traineeships and wage subsidised jobs are the two measures which so far have worked best when it comes to getting newly arrived refugees into the labour market, shows research from KORA, the Danish Institute for Local and Regional Government Research.

In a fresh report, KORA has looked at municipal integration measures aimed at the labour market, and concludes that measures like guidance and further training do not bring refugees or immigrants any closer to finding jobs. But temporary work and wage subsidies do, together with traineeships – especially in private workplaces.

The report also shows that these measures are not enough, however: Very few newly arrived refugees are in work. 75 percent of  newly arrived refugees have had less than three weeks of work during their first three years in Denmark.

In order to improve refugees’ integration into the labour market, another measure has been launched. The government and the social partners have introduced a new two year long integration education programme (IGU) for newly arrived refugees. It is a supplement to the existing measures aimed at integrating refugees into the workplace, and came into force on 1 July 2016 – for now as a pilot measure lasting three years.

The first IGU position has been filled, but it is too early to say just how popular the new measure will become. 

At Roskilde Municipality the head of integration, Maria Tvarnø, has not yet created any jobs to go with the new measure, but she expects it will happen.

Filed under:
Measures for integrating refugees into the labour market

The most common support measures for businesses that want to help refugees get access to the labour market, are:

  • Business or language traineeships
  • Wage subsidised jobs
  • Mentoring
  • Basic integration education (IGU) 
About the new basic integration education IGU
  • For refugees and family reunion members between 18 and 40, who have had a registered address in Denmark for less that five years.
  • Two year long, with a practical and theoretical part lasting 20 weeks, aimed at giving the refugee better language skills and the qualifications and competencies which the company needs. 
  • The practical part is salaried in accordance to similar programs.
  • The company is given a 20,000 kroner bonus.
  • After the IGU training, the refugee can take out unemployment insurance as a graduate.



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