Articles on migration.
Fida Abu Libdeh arrived in Iceland aged 16. “I didn’t even understand whether my teacher was trying to teach me Icelandic or Danish. It wasn’t until many years later I learnt I had dyslexia,” she says.
The Faroe Islands want to tempt women to move back home. There is a female deficit. Like in many more remote areas in the Nordic region, there is a demographic imbalance. Young people are drawn to urban areas, and the older grow older still. Can migrants fill the holes in the labour market as the health and care sectors’ responsibilities grow? “The hundred-year-wave hits the Nordic labour market” is this issue's theme.
The road to Punkalaidun is beautiful, but treacherously winding and slippery in the wintertime. This is far out into the countryside. The municipality is more than 150 kilometres north-west of Helsinki.
There was great concern in the Nordic countries a few years ago that they would be hit by an age shock. The fear was an increasing lack of labour as a result of falling numbers of young and middle aged people. But out of the four main demographic drivers, only one developed as expected: Populations are ageing.
By 2030 Sweden’s countryside could have lost one third of its employable population compared to the year 2000, resulting in lost tax revenues, increased healthcare needs and a lack of labour. Many municipalities now put their hopes in the successful integration of newcomers. Krokom municipality is one of them.
Newcomers can represent an important contribution to the labour markets in the ageing Nordic countries if they learn the language and are given the opportunity to settle into the labour market, especially in more remote areas which for decades have been loosing many of their employable young to the cities.
The labour market is changing. When the Nordic labour ministers met in Helsinki on 29 November, the integration of refugees into the labour market and challenges like demographics, new technology and a fragmented labour market were among the central issues. Together with the ILO, the discussion carried on around the future of work and gender equality.
“This is exciting,” state secretary Christl Kvam told the Nordic Labour Journal as she debuted at the Nordic ministers’ meeting as a representative for the upcoming Norwegian Presidency.
There is an important Nordic debate on how to integrate refugees faster and better into the labour market. At the Nordic ministers’ meeting in Helsinki, the exchange of experiences and new policies inspired discussions and new ways of thinking.
Getting newly arrived refugees quickly into work is a high priority with Roskilde municipality. Experience shows that early and employment-focused activation helps all parties.
Refugees represent a different type of group compared to labour immigrants. The integrating of last year’s record number of refugees to the Nordic region will therefore probably take longer than for labour immigrants. There is also a risk that labour market integration runs into problems after five to ten years, warned researches at a Nordic seminar held in Oslo.
The refugee crisis engaged the participants at the Nordic Council’s session in Copenhagen. Border controls introduced one year ago between Sweden and Denmark run contrary to the open Nordic labour market. A joint Nordic control at the border between Germany and Denmark is one suggested solution for easing the problems faced by Öresund commuters.
Elisabeth Vik Aspaker is Norway's Minister of EEA and EU Affairs, and the Minister of Nordic Cooperation. She comes from Troms, Norway's northernmost county and is used to working across the Cap of the North. She has enjoyed a solid career in local politics, has been an advisor and state secretary in several centre-right governments and is well prepared for 2017. That is when she will be in charge of Nordic cooperation. What will be her priorities?
Train delays resulting from ID checks at Öresund is irritating and tiring for many border commuters, while new agreements for cooperation are made in the Nordics’ northern regions. Commuter routes between Norway and Sweden are also as busy as ever.
The Nordic region needs to project a hipper image to young people, educational institutions must become more similar in nature and job opportunities more visible if you want to improve cross-border movement. That was the challenge from young people during a debate on the future of mobility and cooperation in the Nordic region on 25 and 26 August.
During the Nordic Council’s Session in Oslo on 19 April new border obstacles are being debated. Border controls for travellers from Denmark to Sweden could be introduced for those travelling in the opposite direction. The Nordic Labour Journal follows the debate, and takes a look at the basic challenge: What is being done to integrate refugees and immigrants into the labour market?
Many types of voluntary organisations played an important role when Sweden received a record number of refugees last autumn. There are many challenges, but with successful integration many municipalities consider refugees to be the solution to the future need of labour.
“The aim must be to normalise the situation and to remove borders obstacles when the refugee situation comes back under control,” says Bente Stein Mathisen, chair of the welfare committee at the Nordic Council. But before that happens, Danish politicians want to introduce new obstacles – this time for travellers between Sweden and Denmark. Refugees, border obstacles and integration are themes when the Nordic Council meet in Oslo on 19 April.
The large number of refugees arriving in the Nordic countries is having consequences for Nordic cooperation. This is the theme for the Nordic Council’s session in Oslo. New border obstacles have emerged, and if the refugee situation is handled very differently in the different Nordic countries it could have grave consequences.
Less than one in three refugees in Denmark finds work after three years. Now the government and the social partners want to change this by introducing a two year integration education programme in the workplace.