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Denmark: Refugee employment increased in the second quarter of 2017

24.4 percent of refugees aged 16-64 were in paid employment in the second quarter of 2017, reports Statistics Denmark in its September newsletter. This means that 5,900 refugees (arrived within the past 5 years) have managed to kick in the notoriously binding doors to the Danish labour market since the third quarter of 2015.

Upon a closer look, male refugees account for most of the increase as the paid employment of refugee women are up by only 5.6 percent, while men’s are up 21 percent. Newspaper Berlingske reports that the Ministry of Employment has announced that the share of refugees in employment increased from 12 percent in June 2015 to 30 percent in June 2017.
According the national statistics office, most of the refugees found jobs in the service industry (hotels and restaurants, travel agencies, cleaning, etc.)

The underlying causes of the rise in refugee employment are yet to be investigated. Experts suggest that it is due to a combination of factors from a general rise in employment to a change in the way refugees are met by their new municipality and a possible effect of the lowered ‘Integration benefit’ for refugees. The 2016 refugee introduction programme that looked like a failure only 6 months ago may also have helped. Initiatives such as voluntary work and mentorship are other potential reasons. 

The 345 newsletter of Statistics Denmark

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