Norwegians Increasingly Positive About Growing Immigration, Survey Finds

© AFP 2022 / JONATHAN NACKSTRANDRefugees enter the arrival centre for refugees near the town on Kirkenes, northern Norway
Refugees enter the arrival centre for refugees near the town on Kirkenes, northern Norway - Sputnik International, 1920, 17.12.2021
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The immigrant community in Norway, with nearly a million people, accounts for 18.5 percent of the country's total population and is continuing to grow rapidly due to mass immigration and demographic trends.
Norwegians’ attitudes towards immigration are becoming increasingly positive. According to Statistics Norway (SSB), the proportion of Norwegians who believe it should be easier to stay in the Nordic country is increasing.
Furthermore, fewer Norwegians see immigrants as a source of insecurity, and more have become positive about labour immigration, the SSB survey has found.
Seven out of ten Norwegians surveyed stated that they don't see most immigrants as a source of insecurity.
Only 17 percent of those surveyed said they see immigrants as a threat, a decrease of 3 percent from last year.
As a result of entry restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, travel across national borders has been hampered for refugees and asylum seekers. Conversely, since the onslaught, the proportion of Norwegians who believe it should be easier to stay in the country has increased. In the survey, 20 percent of respondents answered that it should be easier to stay, up from 17 percent last year. By contrast, the share of proponents of harsher measures decreased from 20 percent last year to 16 percent now.
Views on labour immigration have also been overwhelmingly positive. Eight out of ten agree that most immigrants make a useful contribution to Norwegian working life, and seven out of ten believe that labour immigration from countries outside the Nordic region mostly contributes positively to the Norwegian economy.
This is seen as part of a general trend, as attitudes towards immigrants and immigration have become increasingly positive since 2002. After a influx of asylum seekers in the midst of the 2015 migrant crisis, somewhat more negative attitudes were measured, but after that, the trend has reversed again and the curve is moving upwards, also in this year’s survey.
“At the same time as more positive attitudes are expressed, we see that there has been more contact with immigrants. Most people who are in contact with immigrants state that they mainly have positive experiences”, senior SSB adviser Frøydis Strøm explained.
This is also reflected in Norway's political map. Of the major political parties represented in the parliament, only the national-conservative Progress Party is advocating for limiting immigration. Publicly voicing anti-immigration opinions is seen as anti-democratic, xenophobic and borderline racist.
As of January 2021, there were nearly a million immigrants and Norwegian-born residents with two immigrant parents, accounting for 18.5 percent of Norway's total population of 5.3 million. Their share is rising rapidly due to demographic and mass immigration. By contrast, only in 2017 their share was 16.8 percent.
For over a decade, Poles have constituted by far the largest group of immigrants, greatly outnumbering Swedes, Lithuanians and Somalis.
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