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10 May 2024

Denmark: IGU state integration project extended

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Denmark launched a new initiative for the integration of refugees in 2016 entitled “IGU” (Integrations Grund Uddannelse, or basic integration education). It started as a 3-year trial scheme, based on an agreement between the Danish government and employers and trade unions, but has been extended several times and is now running until 2028.

The goal of the initiative is to help refugees into the labour market, and at the same time give both the private and public sectors an opportunity to train staff to suit their requirements. The programme is offered to refugees and people who arrived via the refugee family reunification process aged between 18 - 40, who have been in the country for less than 10 years. People who arrived under the Danish special laws for Ukraine and Afghanistan are also eligible.

An IGU programme runs for two years, and comprises both school and practical training. For each person, a school programme and a contract for work internship are individually negotiated, with the relevant municipality responsible for ensuring the school programme and an employer for the work internship. Work colleagues can be appointed “language buddies” and are offered a short course on how to support language training. A programme evaluation shows positive results on this scheme, noting that 3 in 4 people who have acted as language buddies said they would volunteer to do it again.
 
Refugee participants in the programme see such economic advantages as receiving an apprentice salary instead of state benefits during the work period, and being eligible for unemployment insurance after completing the programme. For employers, a bonus of 2 700 EUR is offered after 6 months and again after 2 years, and it is not required that they pay a full salary to new employees secured via this programme until training is complete.
 
The Danish Ministry of Immigration and Integration made available to the public a range of material about the IGU programme, including a video and an information folder in 8 languages. Both the ministry and local job centres provide help and guidance to refugees and employers who are interested.
 
In 2018, private consulting company Rambøll conducted an evaluation of the IGU scheme, deeming it successful overall in terms of integration, but with room for improvement.

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Denmark
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Posted by
Michala Clante Bendixen
Country Coordinator

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