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Working in Norway For Members

IN NUMBERS: What kind of jobs do immigrants in Norway have?

The Local Norway
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IN NUMBERS: What kind of jobs do immigrants in Norway have?
Photo by mkjr_ on Unsplash

Nearly a fifth of Norway's workforce was born abroad, but different groups of immigrants carry out very different roles. We break down the numbers.

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Norway has had successive waves of labour migrants and refugees, from the Punjabis who came from Pakistan in the 1960s, the Somalis and Iraqis who came in the 1990s, to the Poles, Lithuanians and others arriving after their countries joined the EU in 2004.

In 2022, 19 percent of workers in Norway were classed as “immigrants”, of which the biggest group, representing 28.4 percent of immigrants, were those from countries which joined the EU after 2004.

The next biggest group is immigrants from “Asia”, with 28.0 percent of immigrant workers, many of which will be from the original wave of Pakistani migration and the accompanying family reunions.

Leadership roles

It’s a sign of how well-integrated Norway’s Pakistani immigrants are that immigrants from “Asia” dominate the list of immigrants with “leadership roles” in Norway. 

It’s also striking, although perhaps unsurprising, how well immigrants from “other Nordic countries" do, ranking second, despite only representing 8.3 percent of immigrants. 

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On the other hand, immigrants from Africa rank only just above those from North America and Oceania in the number in "leadership roles", despite the two regions representing 10.6 percent and 2 percent of immigrants respectively.

When you come to "sales and service roles", immigrants from Africa start to take a larger share of the jobs, with immigrants from countries which joined the EU after 2004 also heavily represented. 

Poles, Lithuanians and people from other new EU countries overtake the more established Pakistani workers when it comes to blue-collar work, dominating the immigrant workforce in the process operator, machine operator and transport worker categories.

They also dominate other sectors, carrying out unskilled jobs such as cleaner roles and labouring on building sites, although immigrants from Africa are also well represented here.

Relatively few immigrants are employed in farming and fishing in Norway, with only about 300 people with an Asian background involved in the sector. Those from countries that joined the EU after 2004 are by far the most active here, although they only contribute just over 2,000 workers.

When it comes to jobs requiring degrees, immigrants from countries which were in the EU before 2004 are heavily overrepresented among immigrants, ranking second despite comprising only 10.3 percent of immigrant workers in Norway.

It's a fairly similar picture when you come to jobs requiring only secondary level education.

Immigrants from Poland, Lithuania and other countries which joined the EU after 2004, are also heavily represented in office jobs or kontoryrke, with their second position reflecting their share of the immigrant population.  

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