Study: Integration programmes and language training increase employment of immigrants
Integration programmes and language training increase employment of immigrants. An active labour market policy is most effective for people who have the greatest difficulty in securing employment. Financial sanctions, on the other hand, are likely to work best for the highly educated. These are the findings of a study completed by Labore, the Labour Institute for Economic Research som beställts av arbets- och näringsministeriets Kompetenscentret för integration av invandrare.
The Labore report is a systematic review of literature on the effectiveness of immigrant integration measures and active labour market policies. The review identifies four ways of promoting the employment of immigrants: integration programmes, language training, active labour market policies and financial sanctions.
While all of these policy measures may be significant for improving employment rates, the strongest credible research evidence favours integration programmes and language training. Among active labour market policies, wage subsidies in particular have been found to boost employment.
Previous studies of the effectiveness of financial sanctions give a partly inconsistent impression. Sanctions have been found to have both positive and negative employment impacts. They can also exacerbate poverty and departures from the labour force.
The literature review was confined to the best international examples
The systematic literature review focused particularly on studies that apply causal methods. When assessing the effectiveness of policy measures, causal methods give the most reliable impression of whether a change in employment rates was due to a measure specifically taken, or to some other independent factor.
The findings of evaluations completed in other countries are often difficult to apply in Finland, and so the Labore report focused primarily on studies conducted in other Nordic countries and in Northern and Central Europe. The examples from other Nordic countries in particular are also relevant to Finland, as labour market institutions are quite similar in the Nordic region.
Too few impact studies conducted in Finland
The study notes that only one research project on the effectiveness of integration measures based on a credible causal arrangement has been completed in Finland. More stochastic trials should be conducted in Finland to improve understanding of the effectiveness of integration measures and active labour market policies.
Antti Kaihovaara, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7125