Reports 2016/03

Immigrant workers from EU/EEC - a demographic overview

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Between 2004 and 2014 a total of 138 000 people immigrated from the new EU-members in Eastern Europe to find work in Norway. During the same period, 40 200 immigrated to Norway due to family relations with one of the immigrant workers.

The immigration due to work was not extensive in the beginning of the period, when the rules limited the workers access to Norway. The immigration peaked in 2011, when more than 19 000 immigrant workers came to Norway from these countries.

More than every second immigrant worker was Polish, 22 per cent emigrated from Lithuania and the rest came from the remaining countries: Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, The Czech republic, Croatia and Slovenia.

Three out of four immigrant workers are men, but women have been a relatively larger group the later years. The share of women varies between 17 percent for Poland and 35 per cent from Hungary. Women are, on average, younger and more educated than men.

About 60 per cent of the immigrant workers were between 25 and 39 years old when they immigrated and the share has been on this level in the whole period. The later years, the share of the youngest immigrant workers are growing and, as a total, 1 out of 5 immigrant workers were younger than 25 years of age when they immigrated. The Baltic countries are overrepresented in this age group.

About every second immigrant worker were married before they immigrated. The share was higher in the beginning of the period, but has been reduced. Only 39 per cent of the immigrant workers who immigrated in 2014 were married. Men and immigrants from Poland are overrepresented among the married. 80 per cent of those who get married after immigration find a partner from their own country, while only 5 per cent gets married to a person without an immigrant background.

43 per cent of the immigrant workers end their education after high school. This particularly applies to immigrant from Poland and Slovakia. Almost every second immigrant worker from Hungary has completed a degree from a University or a College, while every fifth Lithuanian has no education beyond primary school. Female immigrant workers are better educated than male immigrant workers.

90 per cent of the employed immigrant workers are working in a secondary industry, such as extraction, manufacturing and construction, or in trade, hotels and restaurant etc. These are also major industries among employed family migrants, many of whom are also working with health and social services. Around 6 per cent of the immigrant workers and 10 per cent of the family immigrants were unemployed in 2014.

When the immigrant workers’ first settle in Norway, they decide to live in the most central and the most remote municipalities more often than the rest of the Norwegian population does. The youngest choose the central municipalities, while women prefer the remote areas. The settlement seems not to be influenced by marital status or level of education. Those who settle in the most central areas are most likely to migrate to other municipalities and are also most like to emigrate.

Very few immigrant workers have changed their citizenship to Norwegian

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