The reasons for people relocating over country borders are many and complex. It could be due to necessity as a result of escaping war, persecution and disasters. It can also be because there is a desire to find work or get an education. A large number of relocations are family related. Many seek to reunite with family members that have already left to find work or take up education, or who have fled. There are also those who marry abroad and seek to immigrate. There are 459 000 immigrants (approx. 9.4 per cent) and 93 000 (approx. 2 per cent) Norwegian-born persons with immigrant parents living in Norway. Together these two groups represent 11.4 per cent of Norway’s population. Immigrants and Norwegian-born persons with immigrant parents are represented in all Norwegian municipalities. Oslo has the largest proportion with 27 per cent, or 160 500 people. Almost half of all the immigrants come from Asia, Africa or Latin-America. 2 in 10 immigrants have lived in Norway for more than 20 years, and 4 in 10 have lived here for 4 years or less.The history of immigration to Norway started after oil resources discovery in 1969 and may be divided for following phases:
(1) Initially in the 1960s was only about 50 000 immigrants – mostly people from European and other Nordic countries.
(2) First wave of labour migrants arrived from Pakistan and they were significant that they caused the introduction of the so-called “immigration freeze” in 1975.
(3) Thereafter, family immigration increased considerably. Since 1970s, family immigration has been mostly Thai, Philippine and Russian women that migrate to Norway to marry Norwegian men.
(4) In the mid 1970s, refugees were accepted from developing countries, such as Vietnam and Chile initially.
(5) In the mid 1980s, there was an increase in the number of asylum-seekers from countries such as Iran and Sri Lanka.
(6) Due to favourable lending and scholarship schemes, there has been a degree of immigration for education purposes since 1980, including countries in Asia and Africa.
(7) In the 1990s, war refugees from the Balkans were the predominant immigrant group accepted in Norway – a large number of which have already returned to Kosovo.
(8) Since the end of the 1990s, asylum seekers from countries such as Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan arrived.
(9) Nowadays the main immigration wave is due to labour reasons and mainly comes from new EU members such Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Baltic countries. The structure of immigrants in Norway nowadays looks like this:Unfortunately, this statistics doesn’t mention about immigrants, who live illegally in Norway. These numbers would be much more bigger than presented above.
In April 2008, the Government presented a new report to the Storting on Labour Migration (Report no. 18 to the Storting (2007 – 2008) (AID 2007, Labour Migration). The basis of the report is that in light of the demographic development, Norway among others has a need for immigration in order to cover future labour needs. It provides a thorough review of this need and takes its basis in the fact that it can mainly be covered in Norway. Mobilisation of unused domestic capacity is central together with continued immigration from the EEA area, but some immigration from countries outside the EU/EEA area may be necessary. The criticism aimed at Norway is that the increase in the number of unskilled workers to the country since 1990 is small, and that the share of foreign students from developing countries is small. Norway is commended for giving students good economic conditions and for covering large amounts of refugees’ expenses. But I believe that unskilled workers in any country is therefore not a positive thing, neither for society nor for immigrants. In my opinion it is vital to prevent increased migration leading to social dumping and the development of a new and ethnic-based lower class in Norway. Really, with a huge respect to all nations I realized that in Oslo there are too many poor migrants without any job or occupation and that is bad situation. They just live, perhaps in families houses, they don’t know Norwegian and have problems to communicate in English and they hope for a better life here. Or I’m wrong, because I realized this only from my observations. But I reckon that the immigration of unskilled labour must therefore be regulated according to the situation in the labour market. Unfortunately, there are too many generous incentives for staying unemployed offered by the Norwegian welfare state and therefore it even increases poverty in this country instead. On the other hand the poverty in countries, where immigrants come from decreases due to this policy, which is one positive aspect.