New model helps refugees find jobs in Denmark: DA

Increasing numbers of refugees have found success in finding work in Denmark, according to a newly-released analysis.

New model helps refugees find jobs in Denmark: DA
Photo: Iris/Scanpix

The Confederation of Danish Employers (Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening, DA) says the positive news can in part be put down to the tripartite agreement the government entered into with businesses and union representatives last year.

Under the agreement, a new so-called ‘basic integration education programme’ (integrationsgrunduddannelse, IGU), was introduced, aiming to put refugees in short-term jobs at an apprentice salary level of between 50 to 120 kroner ($7-$17) per hour.

The IGU jobs can last for up to two years and refugees are offered skill development or education courses of up to 20 weeks. 

Asylum seekers cost the Danish state an average net total of 163,000 kroner ($23,000) per person in 2014, according to figures published by the Ministry of Finance on Monday.

But other numbers released by the report paint a more positive picture.

Refugees have come a long way as far as finding work in Denmark goes, with more people finding work more quickly in recent years, according to the figures.

“There are a lot of signs that things are going in the right direction. Refugees are more commonly making it on to the job market, finding employment, wage subsidised work and internships than before,” Berit Toft Fuhl, senior consultant with DA, told newspaper Dagbladet Information.

Much of the improvement in refugees’ employment prospects can be put down to the tripartite agreement, said DA.

READ ALSO: Denmark to refugees: Work first, learn Danish later

Prior to the agreement, only three percent of refugees were considered available for immediate employment. Today, the figure stands at 60 percent, and DA expects it to continue to rise, reports the newspaper.

A significant number of refugees also found work with Danish businesses last year, according to Confederation of Danish Industry (Dansk Industri) figures, with 3,100 finding full-time employment between March and November last year – an increase of 75 percent.

Another positive development was in the area of welfare-supported internships (virksomhedspraktik), an oft-used intermediate step towards work in the Danish job market. Approximately 6,000 refugees are currently engaged in this type of employment activity with Danish businesses, reports Information.

The introduction of IGU has also helped almost 400 refugees into part-time work, according to the report.

Ministry of Finance figures in turn show that refugees are finding work sooner and that the number of asylum seekers is falling.

In 2015 – the peak year for asylum arrivals in the country – around ten percent of refugees on two-year asylum permits were in work. In 2016, this proportion had increased to 25 percent, according to Dagbladet Information.

“There are, as such, signs that those granted asylum are finding work faster than previously,” writes the ministry in its report, adding that “there is still some way to go to reach the government’s target, whereby half of all asylum seekers should be working three years after arrival in Denmark.”

The ministry also notes that there may be some difference between its own registration-based analysis and figures posted by the Ministry for Immigration.

The anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DF) recognised the positive signs of the figures but maintained that immigration was a huge drain on the Danish economy.

“We did not support the tripartite agreement because of IGU and the right to social welfare, which is given on a flimsy basis, while others spend several years earning it. And if you look at the report overall then you can see that integration has failed. The bill will continue to increase for many years if we don’t limit the amount of people coming here,” DF party chairperson Peter Skaarup told Dagbladet Information.


Labour shortage hits half of Danish companies in construction sector

A record-high shortage of labour at some Danish companies is exacerbated in some places by a lack of materials, according to new data.

A file photo of construction in Aalborg. As many of half of construction companies in Denmark currently report a lack of labour.
A file photo of construction in Aalborg. As many of half of construction companies in Denmark currently report a lack of labour. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

The construction industry reports a lack of labour at around half of all companies, according to a survey by Statistics Denmark, based on responses from businesses.

In the service industry, which includes restaurants, hotels and cleaning, one in three companies reported a lack of workforce.

Some industries, notable machinery related businesses, also said they are short of materials currently.

The lack of labour is holding the Danish economy back, according to an analyst.

“Never before have we seen such a comprehensive lack of labour in the Danish economy,” senior economist Søren Kristensen of Sydbank said.

“It’s a shame and it’s a genuine problem for a significant number of the businesses which at the moment are losing revenue as a consequence of the lack of labour,” Kristensen continued.

“That is costly, including for all of Denmark’s economic growth. Even though we on one side can be pleased that it’s going well for the Danish economy, we can also regret that it could have been even better,” the economist said in a comment to news wire Ritzau.

Despite the lack of labour, businesses have their most positive outlook for years, according to Statistics Denmark.

The data agency based its conclusions on a large volume of responses from companies related to revenues, orders and expectations for the future.

The numbers are processed into a measure termer business confidence or erhvervstillid in Danish. The October score for the metric is 118.7, the highest since 2010, although there are differences between sectors.

READ ALSO: Are international workers the answer to Denmark’s labour shortage?