Swedish Professor in Norway: Record Number of Refugees Does not Threaten the Welfare State

Photo : Andreas Schalk

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He has come to Norway to participate in the government’s seminar on what immigration costs for the Norwegian economy, and to share Sweden’s experiences after arrival of record 160,000 asylum seekers last year.

Hassler notes that it has a significant impact on the public economy, but it is not dramatic. It is not a fundamental threat to the welfare state, it concerns around 1 percent of GDP of Sweden and even less for Norway, according to the Swedish professor.

Good integration is crucial, he adds and admits that Swedes have long way to go in integration issue.

– It is essential that the people who are in the country have access to good education and they enter in the labor market, says he. 

He also believes that unskilled newcomers should be paid with lower wages than current regulations dictate.

Finance Minister Siv Jensen (FRP) has invited the Swedish professor to Oslo on the occasion of Finance Ministry’s seminar on immigration impact on the Norwegian economy.

The Minister of Finance is skeptical to Hassler’s proposal to lower wages for refugees.

– The Government will consider it as challenging, especially considering that many are concerned about social dumping in Norway, she says to NRK.

John Hassler manage the fiscal council in Sweden, a government-appointed body that investigates whether fiscal policy is working properly.

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