"It should pay to work. We want people to be able to support themselves," Hauglie explained to Norwegian national broadcaster NRK regarding the proposed measures.
At present, Norway offers several special arrangements to refugees, who are automatically enrolled in the National Insurance System from day one. Migrants are therefore entitled to a basic pension and other security benefits right away, whereas Norwegians have to be employed for 40 years before they are eligible for a full basic pension.
The changes are expected to result in major savings, yet the exact gain remains unclear as it depends on several factors. Generally speaking, Oslo hopes to save up around 200 million kroner (roughly 24 million USD) during the first year alone. However, the proposed system will only become fully effective towards 2060, and then the savings are expected to reach 5.6 billion kroner (670 million USD) a year. However, Hauglie could not guarantee that municipalities won't suffer from additional expenses to boot as a result of the austerity measures.
In 2015, Europe saw perhaps the greatest influx of refugees in modern times. Over 31,000 refugees arrived in Norway, whereas Denmark took in over 21,000 asylum-seekers. Sweden remained last year's leader in arrivals per capita, with over 163,000 asylum-seekers in a country of less than 10 million.