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Karen Breidahl

Ålborg Universitet, CCWS – Center for Comparative Welfare Studies, Department of Economics, Politics and Public Administration

Labour market policies targeted at unemployed immigrants in the Scandinavian countries: Same challenges, same political objectives but different ‘solutions’

The aim of this PhD project is to achieve a deeper understanding of differences and similarities in the policies which have been introduced in the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway and Sweden) in order to integrate immigrants (particularly from non-western countries) on the labour market. The point of departure is an identification of a number of key variations in the labour market polices in the three countries targeted at immigrant groups with the most marginal position on the labour market – Newly arrived immigrants and social assistance receivers with an immigrant background.

In particular two remarkable differences stand out and are interesting taking the institutional and normative features of the Scandinavian welfare state into account: The first difference concerns the generosity of social assistance for immigrants. Hence, since 2002 Denmark has repeatedly reduced the benefit level provided for immigrants – which has not been the case in Norway in Sweden. The second difference concerns the underlying principle behind the Introduction programmes for newly arrived immigrants, which has been introduced in all three countries, where Sweden stands out from Denmark and Norway.