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Working in Norway: Immigration, labour immigration, statistics

These seven graphs show that Norwegians are becoming more and more positive towards immigrants

Eight out of ten respondents believe that most immigrants make an important contribution to Norwegian working life.
The attitudes of Norwegians towards immigrants have become increasingly more positive over the last two decades.

The attitudes of Norwegians towards immigrants have become increasingly more positive over the last two decades.


The attitudes of Norwegians towards immigrants have become increasingly more positive over the last two decades. This according to figures compiled by Statistics Norway (SSB) which has been investigating this annually since 2002.

The 2021 survey, which was published in December last year, shows that this trend is continuing.

Senior Adviser Frøydis Strøm of SSB says that there has also been an increase in contact between Norwegians and immigrants.

«Most people who encounter immigrants state that their experience of this is largely positive,» says Frøydis Strøm in a notice on SSB’s website.

Positive attitude towards labour immigration

The graphs below show how the attitudes of Norwegians towards labour immigration have become more positive over time.

In 2021, a total of 80 per cent of respondents answered that they strongly agree or somewhat agree that immigrants make an important contribution to Norwegian working life. 

This figure represents an increase on the 66 per cent reported in 2002. During the same period, the number of labour immigrants in Norway has increased sharply.

Nyttig Engelsk

Seven out of 10 respondents are of the view that labour immigration from countries outside the Nordic Region generally makes a positive contribution to the Norwegian economy. This question was initially included in SSB’s 2009 survey. The proportion of respondents stating that they strongly agree with this statement has increased substantially over the course of the last decade.

Positiv øko Engelsk

The proportion of respondents who state that immigrants should have the same opportunity to work as Norwegians has remained stable at between 80 and 90 per cent since the early 2000s. In the most recent survey as many as 94 per cent of respondents stated that they somewhat agree or strongly agree with the statement. This is the highest proportion ever.

samme muligheter engelsk

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Not more sceptical as a result of the coronavirus pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic made a significant imprint on 2020 and 2021. SSB’s most recent survey accordingly included a new statement:

«The coronavirus pandemic has made me more sceptical towards labour immigration».

As the graph below shows, almost six out of 10 respondents disagreed with this statement.

korona engelsk

Trust and culture

As regards the statement that immigrants should make an effort to become as similar to Norwegians as possible there have been major variations over the years. Moreover, in 2021, for the first time more respondents say that they disagree (47 per cent) than agree with the statement (32 per cent). That no fewer than 18 per cent reply that they «neither agree nor disagree» indicates that that this is a difficult issue on which to make a decision, according to SSB. 

bestrebe engelsk

When it comes to cultural life in Norway, an increasing number of respondents state that they strongly agree that on the whole immigrants have a positive effect.

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kultur engelsk

The proportion of respondents who strongly agree or somewhat agree that most immigrants abuse the system of social benefits has fallen over time. During the last decade, there has been a particular increase in the proportion who strongly disagree with the statement.

Misbruk engelsk

SSB’s surveys are funded by the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion.

Article in Polish: Siedem wykresów wykazujących coraz bardziej pozytywne nastawienie Norwegów do imigrantów

Article in Lithuanian: Septynios diagramos, rodančios, kad norvegai vis pozityviau žiūri į imigrantus

Translated by Robert Lovering.


This is a news article from FriFagbevegelse, a Norwegian online newspaper about working life and the labor movement.

On our website, you will find more articles that are relevant for foreigners working in Norway. We write about rights, laws, and regulations for foreign workers in Norway.

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