Norway 'best in Scandinavia’ at integration: report

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File photo of Norwegian PM Erna Solberg on a 2014 visit to a Holmlia youth centre. Photo: Torstein Bøe / NTB scanpix
13:38 CEST+02:00
A new report has found that Norway beats its neighbours on integration, with better results in education, employment and income.

The report, based on data from OECD countries, was published by Norwegian research institute Inclusion and Diversity Directorate (Inkluderings- og mangfoldsdirektoratet – IMDi), and shows that Norway beats both Denmark and Sweden as well as a series of other EU countries on figures for immigrant education, employment and income.

But Norway’s relative integration success is not necessarily a direct result of country’s immigration policies.

The report said that Norway's strong economic growth and a large number of available jobs are the main reasons it outpaces its neighbours when it comes to integration. Additionally, Sweden has received the most refugees over the last ten years, while Norway has received the most working migrants, who are easier to get into employment.

The IMDi report measured integration by examining employment, education and living conditions among immigrants generally and young people with immigrant backgrounds in particular. In Norway, 28 percent of those aged 15 and 34 who have immigrant backgrounds are either employed or in education. 

“The report shows that there are still major differences within Norway, and we definitely have big challenges. But if we compare ourselves with other countries on immigrants' employment, education level and income level, we score rather well,” Kristian Rose Tronstad, a researcher with the Norwegian Institute for City and Regional Research (Norsk institutt for by- og regionforskning), who wrote the IMDi report, told VG.

“[But] I would be cautious about saying that everything is rosy,” added Tronstad.

The report shows that 37 percent of immigrants in Norway are in higher education – the highest level in Scandinavia – and that this percentage is increasing year on year.

More immigrants are also in employment in Norway compared Denmark, Sweden and the most of the EU – the Norwegian employment level of 71 percent is beaten only by Iceland, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Some 66 percent of female immigrants are also working in Norway – a result way ahead of any other country. Immigrants in Norway also earn more than their Scandinavian counterparts, but the report said that much of that could be ascribed to the generally higher wages in Norway

However, many immigrants – both highly educated migrants and second-generation immigrants – are relatively poor at Norwegian, according to the report, which also finds that young people in the age range 15-34 are more likely to become marginalized than ethnic Norwegians.

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The report also found that despite having the lowest immigrant unemployment rates, immigrants and those with immigrant backgrounds are still twice as likely to find themselves outside of the labour market than ethnic Norwegians. 

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