Combatting long-term unemployment post-Covid – focusing on immigrants in the Nordic countries

As the Covid-19 pandemic slowly fades in the Nordic countries, many people, especially immigrants, are still unemployed. Most notably, the number of long-term unemployed (12 months or longer) men and women is increasing. Data shows that the probability to find a new job decreases the longer the unemployment period prevails.

Unemployed immigrants are often in a more disadvantaged position than natives as they might have limited work experience in the host country and smaller professional networks. Women from outside Europe are also less likely than natives to have a higher education, which further reduces their job opportunities. Special attention and targeted support measures are therefore important to facilitate the labour market (re-)integration of immigrants on the Nordic labour markets.

Project aims, goals and deliverables

Overall, the project aims to build a more systematic knowledge base about immigrants’ experience of long-term unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Which groups are more affected than others, and which policies and measures are planned or implemented in the Nordic countries to speed up their labour market re-integration? The project will also facilitate Nordic knowledge exchange and knowledge building between key actors thereby ensuring Nordic added value.

First, we will gather data on the number of long-term unemployed immigrants in the Nordic countries, and – if possible – consider gender, age, level of education, region of origin, and sector of previous employment.

Second, in close cooperation with “Clearingcentralen” ( and their Nordic expert group on labour market integration of immigrants, the project will identify and discuss ongoing efforts in the Nordic countries and regions: highlight good examples, evaluated success factors, lessons learned, as well as planned measures for the near future.

The project will be concluded in a concise and reader-friendly report showing the results of the quantitative analysis, and a description of effective approaches and tools to support long-term unemployed immigrants in their job search. A final section will highlight policy recommendations and suggestions for joint Nordic action.

Target groups

The target groups of the project include national, regional and municipal officials who are involved in integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour market. The recommendations on how to support long-term unemployed immigrants in their (re-)integration into the Nordic labour markets will also be relevant for civil society organisations, employers’ organisations, chambers of commerce and other actors in the Nordic Region.

The project ended in October 2022. The final report “Combatting long-term unemployment among immigrants” was published and launched together with the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Find the final report here.