Immigrants’ experiences on integration while attempting to access the labour market: Implications for social work practice
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: The challenge of immigrants and their integration into adopted countries is a key topic for the global field of social work. However, there is a paucity of research on immigrants’ lived experiences in gaining access to the labour market. Thus, this study examines how immigrants in Norway experience integration while in the process of gaining access to the labour market. The prevalent notion of integration achieved through gainful employment narrows the concept of integration and disguises the underlying marginalization and inequalities that are derived from majority- minority dividing lines. (2) Methods: Data were collected via nine qualitative semistructured interviews with ten immigrants (one interview was with a couple) living in Norway. Data was analysed by using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. (3) Results: The results showed that the participants experienced social exclusion but accepted this as an inevitable part of being an immigrant. The participants regarded the learning of Norwegian language as the key aspect to understanding social customs and forming informal relationships with native Norwegians and important for achieving integration. Freedom and equality were also regarded as issues of great importance. (4) Conclusions: The results provide the field of social work with important insights towards informing social work practices and challenging current paradigms.