King Harald V, Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen and Pakistan’s ambassador to Norway were among those kicking off a weekend of events marking the 50th anniversary of the first labour immigrants’ arrival in Norway from Pakistan. They paved the way for tens of thousands of other immigrants over the past several decades.
The City of Oslo hosted the celebration of how immigration “has contributed to making Oslo a more open and culturally diverse city.” City officials claimed that such diversity “has been enriching and a strength for the city.”
Newspaper Aftenposten reported how Qaiser Saeed was among those arriving in the fall of 1971, leaving family and friends behind to work in a printing plant at the rate of NOK 12 per hour. Many expected to save money and return to Pakistan but ended up remaining, even though they had to work two or three jobs in order to earn enough to support their families. Saeed was among those keen that his children could become doctors or lawyers, and lots did.
People with roots in Pakistan continue to make up the largest single immigrant group in Oslo, followed by immigrants from Somalia, Poland and Sweden.