Immigration For Members

Why do people move to Norway, and where do they come from?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Why do people move to Norway, and where do they come from?
Here is how many people move to Norway and why they chose to come here. Pictured is Oslo Opera House.Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Recent figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) have revealed how many people moved to Norway in the past year, where they come from and why they came to the Nordic country. 


Some 95,000 foreign nationals either moved to Norway for work, education to be with family, registered under the freedom of movement rules for EEA citizens or applied for asylum in Norway after fleeing their country of origin. 

Asylum applications made up the largest single group of applicants to Norway. Just over 40,000 people applied for refugee status in Norway. However, not all of these cases will have been granted or received a decision in 2022. 

The overwhelming majority of applications in 2022 were from Ukrainians requesting temporary collective protection. This form of asylum is granted to a large group of nationals, in this case, due to the war in Ukraine. It allows them to apply for asylum should they arrive in Norway with valid identification. 

Despite applicants from Ukraine making up the majority of those requesting asylum in Norway, the number of applications from nationals from other countries also increased, according to figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). 


Similar numbers of nationals from the EEA and the rest of the world moved to Norway under the regular immigration rules. As a result, more than 27,000 nationals from both inside and outside the EEA either registered as moving to Norway or were granted a residence permit in Norway. 

Out of the EEA nationals, Poles, Germans, Lithuanians, Spain and Romanians made up the largest groups of nationals to register a move to Norway under the freedom of movement rules. 

Work was the most common reason those from the EEA registered as moving to Norway, with some 16,970 coming to Norway for career-related reasons. After that moving for education was the most common reason for EEA nationals coming to Norway. Just over 5,187 foreign citizens moved for their studies, while 4,777 came to Norway to be with a family member or partner. 

Germans were the largest group of EEA nationals to register as moving to be with a family member or partner, while Poles were the largest group to report a move to Norway for educational purposes. 

Sticking with education, students from the Philippines, China and the USA were the largest group of nationals to be granted education permits for non-EEA nationals. Nearly twice as many Filipinos were granted study permits than those from the US or China. Nationals from Pakistan and Iran were the next largest groups to be given residence cards for education.

There were around 5,600 education permits granted to third-country nationals in 2022 at an approval rate of 92 percent.

Over 11,486 applicants were granted a first-time permit for family immigration, meaning they are either coming to Norway to reunite with a partner, spouse, or close family member. Those from India, Syria, the Philippines, Pakistan and the USA were the biggest groups to be given a family immigration permit. 


Around 85 percent of those who applied for a family immigration permit in 2022 were granted one. Nationals from Argentina, India, Serbia, Indonesia, South Africa and Kazakhstan had the highest approval rates, while only 46 percent of applicants from Afghanistan were granted a residence card. 

When it comes to work permits for third-party nationals, some 10,698 were granted permits. However, it wasn’t clear how many were renewals for existing permits and how many were granted to first-time applicants moving to Norway for the first time. Nevertheless, skilled worker permits comprised most of the work permits granted in 2022. 


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