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Evaluation of the Program Salary-Employment Advancement of New Immigrants

In order to encourage the employment of new immigrants and of returning residents, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption assists employers by funding the salaries of immigrants for a limited period. Assistance is designed to help advance new immigrants in employment, and the employer must undertake an obligation to continue to employ the immigrant at the conclusion of the period of assistance, and to train the immigrant as necessary.

The current study was commissioned by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption in cooperation with the Samuel Neaman Institute. The main goals of the research were: to identify the factors which affect the employment of immigrants at the conclusion of the period of assistance and in the course of time, examine the effect of running the program on the employment of new immigrants and formulate recommendations that could assist policy makers in improving the program.

Methodological framework of the study included a survey of attitudes among 651 new immigrants who participated in the program during 2006-2008 and among 181 employers who have received assistance, from the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, in funding the employment of immigrants in these years. In addition interviews were conducted with the parties involved in the program. The survey return rates were 24% of the immigrants and 42% of the employers. In addition, phone interviews were conducted to examine the immigrants' current employment status.

The results demonstrate that the program has accomplished its main objective of increasing the employment status of new immigrants. At least 56% of the program participants were employed in 2010. Comparison of the employment status of immigrants before and after their participation in the program was used to assess the change in their employment status using three levels: poorer employment status, same employment status as before, employment status improved.

The improved status means that the immigrants were unemployed or had a non-professional job before their participation in the program and during the research were employed, or professionally employed, accordingly.

Of 126 immigrants who responded to the research questionnaire, 49% have improved their employment status after their participation in the program, the employment status of 42% remained unchanged and the employment status of 9% have worsened. The variables which were found as significant predictors of improved employment status compared to poorer or unchanged employment status, were: contact with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption before the program, a small number of new immigrants working at the same workplace where the immigrant worked while participating in the program and mentoring stage in which an experienced department fellow trained the immigrant. The results demonstrate that most of the participants were satisfied with the program and with their workplace.

Based on the research findings, conclusions and recommendations were formulated to provide program managers a comprehensive view of the immigrants and their employers about the program and the factors that can affect its success in improving the employment status of immigrants in Israel.

The empirical data collected in this study will be used for the formalization of recommendations that could assist policy makers in improving the program.

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