ENABLING IMMIGRANTS TO ENTER THE LABOR MARKET The effect of local government initiatives on immigrants’ labor market participation.
Abstract: It has been shown that there is some variance in immigrants’ level of unemployment in themunicipalities that cannot be explained by immigrants’ education level, time living in Sweden or the strength of the local labor market. Several municipalities undertake integration initiatives even thoughthe formal responsibility for immigrants’ establishment is at the national level of government. This thesis set out to test whether the local integration efforts can be part in explaining why some municipalities perform better regarding immigrants’ participation on the labor market. Additionally, the effect of different kinds of integration activities has been tested as well as the effect of adapting labor market programs to immigrants versus mainstreaming. Data on municipalities labor market integration efforts has been collected via survey to all municipalities and analyzed using multivariate regression. The survey questions and additional control variables added to the analyses is based on previous research and studies on what barriers immigrants face when transitioning to a new domestic labor market and how receiving societies can enable an easier transition.No support was found for the hypothesis that the local integration efforts would have a positive effect on immigrants’ labor market participation nor for the hypothesis that any kind of integration activity would be more effective than others or that adapted labor market programs are more effective thanmainstreamed. The insignificant results are possibly due to difficulties in evaluating outcomes of integration efforts in a quantitative way.
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