Immigrants come looking for work

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Immigrants from the European Union (EU), the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand made up fully two-thirds of the roughly 50,000 persons who arrived in Norway from outside the Nordic area last year. Most were hoping to find a job.

With Norway’s economy remaining strong at a time when other countries are suffering serious debt problems and high unemployment, Norwegian employers are attracting applicants from outside the traditional Nordic area. State statistics bureau SSB (Statistics Norway) said immigration for work-related reasons remains high.

Most from Poland
The Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, in addition to Norway) have traditionally made up the majority of non-Norwegian job seekers but an easing of rules covering work permission for residents of many European countries boosted work immigration, according to SSB.

A total of 31,200 persons from outside the Nordic countries moved to Norway last year with the intention of seeking work. They came mostly from the EU and European countries covered under the European Free Trade Association (22,000) but included new arrivals from the US, Canada, Australia and News Zealand. Work permission rules are tougher, though, for immigrants from outside the EU, so many of them came for reasons of family unification including marriage to a Norwegian.

The largest single nationality seeking work in Norway continues to come from Poland, comprising 10,300 persons, 9,900 of whom registered with local authorities as coming to Norway for reasons of work. The next largest groups of work immigrants came from Lithuania, Germany and Latvia.

Asylum seekers decline
The numbers of persons coming to Norway to seek asylum declined slightly, to 6,200 or around 12 percent of the total number of non-Nordic immigrants. Most came from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Somalia.

All told there are around 158,000 persons with refugee background now living in Norway, according to a new overview from SSB. They make up 3.2 percent of Norway’s total population and 26 percent of total immigrants.

Persons who came to Norway as refugees from Iraq and Somalia made up the largest single groups, with 20,400 and 18,900 respectively.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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