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Difficult to achieve the target for rapid settlement of unaccompanied minor refugees

The number of refugees to be settled in Norwegian municipalities increased strongly in 2009. The Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi) nonetheless succeeded in increasing the proportion of refugees settled within the six-month deadline. However, goal achievement as regards the settlement of unaccompanied minor refugees has been poor for a number of years. - For this group, the policy instruments have not been sufficiently effective for the Storting's goal of rapid settlement to be achieve, says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo.
Published 11/11/2010 12:40 PM
Document 3:3 (2010–2011) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation into the Directorate of Integration and Diversity’s goal achievement and use of policy instruments in the work of settling and qualifying refugees was submitted to the Storting on 11 November 2010.

Nearly three times as many unaccompanied minor refugees were settled in 2009 as in 2008. Nonetheless, it took a long time to settle them, among other things because many municipalities settled unaccompanied minors for the first time and therefore needed time to establish adapted services such as suitable living and care arrangements.

Introduction programmes and tuition in the Norwegian language are important policy instruments in ensuring good integration. The investigation shows that the percentage of people who entered employment or education after completing the introduction programme decreased from 53% in 2008 to 44% in 2009. According to IMDi, this suggests that many of the participants are offered qualification measures that are not sufficiently adapted to their needs. It is also necessary to raise the municipalities’ competence in order to improve the results of the introduction scheme. IMDi has therefore established a further education programme for programme advisors, among other things.

The investigation also shows that more refugees are participating in Norwegian language tuition and passing written tests. It was also shown that the quality of the tuition is not satisfactory, and that there is considerable variation between municipalities. In the Office of the Auditor General’s opinion, IMDi and the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion should look into the quality of Norwegian language tuition in more detail. The authorities must follow up to ensure that Norwegian language tuition and the municipal introduction programmes are of a satisfactory quality, says Jørgen Kosmo. - This could contribute to the required improvement of results in the introduction scheme and help to improve refugees' chances of finding jobs, Mr Kosmo concludes.

The Ministry has stated that work is under way to identify measures that can ensure rapid and stable settlement, with particular focus on unaccompanied minors.

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