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Less Trust in Benefits of Immigrant Labour in Norway

The proportion agreeing that “Immigrants make an important contribution to Norwegian working life” decreased by 8 percentage in one year.

This is shown in the annual population survey of attitudes towards immigrants and immigration conducted by Statistics Norway between 1 July and 10 August this year.

The share agreeing that “Most immigrants make an important contribution to Norwegian working life” was 72 per cent this year compared to 80 per cent the year before, which was the highest share since the question was introduced in 2002. Fourteen per cent disagreed this year, and 13 per cent answered “either/or”.

Weakened belief in the value of labour migration

Another assertion about immigrants on the labour market also received less support in this year‚Äôs survey. The share agreeing completely or on the whole that ‚ÄúLabour immigration from non-Nordic countries makes a mainly positive contribution to the Norwegian economy‚ÄĚ fell by 5 percentage points. The support for this statement is now 66 per cent, while the share disagreeing is 16 per cent.

Reduced expectations of being Norwegian

Moreover, we see a minor decrease of 4 percentage points in the proportion agreeing that ‚ÄúImmigrants in Norway should endeavour to become as similar to Norwegians as possible‚ÄĚ. There is, nevertheless, still a larger share – 49 per cent – supporting this statement, while 41 per cent disagree.

Half of respondents reject the idea that immigrants abuse social welfare

Half of respondents also still disagree with the assertion that ‚Äúmost immigrants abuse the social welfare system‚ÄĚ, while a third believe this to be true. The corresponding shares for the assertion that immigrants are a ‚Äúsource of insecurity in society‚ÄĚ are roughly the same. Seven out of ten agree that most immigrants ‚Äúenrich the cultural life in Norway‚ÄĚ; a few percentage points less than last year, but not significantly different. The proportion agreeing that ‚Äúimmigrants in Norway should have the same job opportunities as Norwegians‚ÄĚ, is unchanged from the previous year at 86 per cent.

Forty-two per cent now think it should be more difficult for refugees to obtain a residence permit in Norway, while 47 per cent think that access to permits should remain the same as today. Last year, opinion was split down the middle in relation to this question. As before, 7 per cent think that it should be easier to obtain a residence permit in Norway. None of these changes are statistically significant.

Varying attitudes according to background factors

Basically, women and men have similar attitudes to immigrants, but women are slightly more liberal in relation to some aspects. This is, however, not the case in work-related questions. The most elderly are generally more sceptical towards immigrants and immigration than other age groups. Which of the two youngest groups (16-24 and 25-44 years) is the most immigrant friendly can vary. A breakdown by education, shows that acceptance of immigrants is greatest among the highly educated. The acceptance varies also according to the urban/rural dimension, with the greatest degree of benevolence being found in the most urban areas.

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