Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets – The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic
13 Oct 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic has made social and economic inequalities even more pronounced in the Nordic countries. In all countries, foreign-born people have experienced stronger increases in unemployment than their native-born peers. Immigrants born outside the EU, especially individuals with low levels of education, have faced the largest challenges in finding and keeping employment in 2020.
In 2019, the Nordic Council of Ministers published the report “Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets” (Calmfors and Sánchez Gassen 2019). A main conclusion was that Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden all face serious challenges in this regard, especially with low-educated men and women from outside the EU. Since the previous report was published, all Nordic countries have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which initially took a substantial toll on economic growth and employment levels. First evidence shows that migrants, and especially recently arrived immigrants, may have been disproportionately affected (OECD 2020). Still, the overall picture remains fragmented.
To get a more comprehensive view, the Nordic Council of Minsters through the project Nordic co-operation on integration, commissioned Nordregio to provide an up-to-date overview of the current labour market situation of immigrant men and women in the Nordic countries. Nordregio also re-connected with some of the writers of the 2019 report, including Per Skedinger, Bert Bratsberg, Oddbjørn Raaum, and Knut Røed. The researchers reviewed their respective chapters and adjusted policy recommendations considering the impact of Covid-19. A new, final section by Professor Olof Åslund, brings the chapters together and offers cross-cutting conclusions and recommendations.