The OECD has rated Denmark as one of the least successful Western countries at integrating its immigrants into the job market
Denmark is lagging far behind other Western countries when it comes to integrating its immigrant population into the job market, according to a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development released late last month.
The OECD’s annual report, International Migration Outlook 2007, compared the unemployment rates of countries’ immigrants with that of their native citizens. Immigrant representation in the Danish job market was found to be far under that of native Danes, and the country’s immigrant women are the worst integrated in the Western world.
The employment rate for immigrant women was 20 percent lower than that of Danish-born women. Non-native men were 11.4 percent underrepresented.
‘Employment levels for immigrants has actually risen over the past 10 years,’ said Tina Honoré Kongsø of the Confederation of Danish Industries. ‘But those that have come recently - especially those from eastern Europe - have come for jobs, so they have no integration problems whatsoever.'
She added that the problem existed amongst the large number of immigrants that have come to Denmark for humanitarian reasons or through family reunification.
But Torben Tranæs, head of research for the Rockwool Foundation, said he knows of another concrete reason that Denmark fared so poorly in the OECD’s report.
‘We did a similar study comparing the same five immigrant groups in Germany and Denmark -Turks, Lebanese, Iranians, Poles and those from the former Yugoslavia,’ he told Berlingske Tidende newspaper. ‘Those that came to Denmark had less education and had less work experience.’
Peder Pedersen, an economist at Aarhus University, agreed that disparate education levels likely played a part in Denmark’s poor showing.
‘Sweden has a large number of Chilean immigrants, for example, while our immigrants tend to come mostly from more isolated countries.’
Yet Sweden did not fare much better in the OECD report, and the figures for Scandinavia in general were not especially flattering. Sweden and Norway actually placed worse than Denmark. The Netherlands has the worst integration rate.
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