From Migrants to Workers: Immigrants’ role in the local labour markets in the Nordic region

Over the past few decades, the scale of international migration into the Nordic countries has increased considerably. The foreign-born percentage of the entire population of several Nordic countries exceeds that of traditional migration destination states such as the United States and Australia.

While many of these recent arrivals migrate to the capital cities and other large urban areas of the Nordic countries, there has been increased migration to rural and sparsely populated areas of the Nordic region, and the role of these new arrivals in these areas is not well known.

The aim of the From Migrants to Workers project commissioned by the Nordic Working Group on Demography and Welfare, is to explore from a comparative perspective the role and functions of the immigrants in maintaining a well-functioning labour market and developing local and regional labour market. The study will consider both the need for and the scale of such external labour, but will also seek to identify the functions that this external labour force performs and the gaps that remain. Furthermore, the project is an attempt to identify the newcomers’ processes of adjustment to and integration into the receiving labour markets, to provide an overview of best practices in this endeavour.

The study will encompass a broad quantitative analysis of the scope of the external labour force in local and/or regional labour markets as well as in-depth qualitative case study analyses of three Nordic areas that are to be determined. The quantitative analysis will examine the scale of immigration into the Nordic countries by country of origin, gender, level of education, and other characteristics. It will examine the scale of regional immigration with a focus on the more sparsely populated areas of the Nordic region. The case studies will supplement the research and provide a more qualitative assessment of the role of these new immigrants in the labour market.

This article is part of Nordregio News #4. 2015, read the entire issue here.

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