The importance of work for highly educated refugees in Norway
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In 2016, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security highlighted the importance of refugee participation in labor in several reports. The ministry stresses the dependency of the Norwegian welfare model on high tax revenue, and argues that it is very important for adult refugees to work. In order to increase employment rates among the refugee population, and decrease number of dependents on social benefits, the Introduction Program was implemented in 2006. This was followed by the tightening of migration policies for obtaining asylum in Norway. However, the employment rate among refugee population is low, with less than a half of overall population with a refugee background working. Along with that, there is no specified numbers on how many refugees with a higher education work within the profession. This thesis aims to explore whether highly educated individuals with a refugee background in Norway work within the profession and to listen to their experiences of seeking relevant employment. Seven individuals with a refugee background and higher education aged between 24 and 52 were interviewed. The study reveals that none of the seven interviewees works within their chosen professions. However, only one interviewee believes that his inability to find a skilled job is related to prejudices or discrimination, while other respondents name other reasons. The main tendency is that interviewees who came to Norway as adult have more negative experiences, than those who came to Norway in childhood. Using the work of Erikson and Maslow I explore if, inability to work within the profession negatively affects self-esteem and everyday life of older interviewees, while having a lesser effect on younger interviewees.