Reduced labour immigration

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A total of 50 500 persons with non-Nordic citizenship immigrated to Norway in 2016. Immigration due to refuge showed the highest increase, while labour immigration showed the highest decrease. Family immigration was the most common reason for immigration in 2016.

The annual immigration flows have varied over time. Almost 789 000 persons with non-Nordic citizenship immigrated to Norway between 1990 and 2016. There were some marked fluctuations during the period, mainly due to increased numbers of refugees caused by war and conflicts in different corners of the world. In 2005, there were more labour immigrants than refugees for the first time. 2006 was a crossing point, with labour immigration and family immigration at about the same level. After 2006, labour immigration dominated the migration picture until last year. The large influx of refugees into Europe in the autumn of 2015 brought many refugees from Syria to Norway. More refugees came to Norway in 2016 than labour immigrants. Family immigration has remained stable over the last three years, with around 16 500 immigrations yearly.

Figure 1. Immigrations, by reason for immigration
Figure 1. Immigrations, by reason for immigration
Total Labour Family Refuge Education Other Unknown
1990 11057 1029 4568 4277 975 208
1991 11091 1050 4391 4509 1057 84
1992 12236 1152 4896 4997 1139 51 1
1993 16775 1140 4768 9613 1210 44
1994 11348 1215 4242 4596 1225 70
1995 10222 1427 4335 3085 1296 79
1996 9676 1487 4622 1988 1485 94
1997 11546 1858 5872 2138 1574 104
1998 14364 2508 6782 3137 1834 103
1999 22247 2077 7481 10638 1954 97
2000 18968 1997 7610 7144 2131 86
2001 17370 2376 8388 4270 2238 98
2002 22688 2706 12850 4494 2526 112
2003 19814 2379 9226 5512 2605 92
2004 21252 4063 9247 5083 2758 101
2005 23963 6433 10458 3936 3034 102
2006 29628 11778 11344 3159 3237 110
2007 44408 21377 13768 5274 3875 114
2008 48817 23249 16925 4464 4057 122
2009 44657 17926 15295 6451 4237 136 612
2010 50648 23754 15009 6406 5274 132 73
2011 54553 26730 16273 5359 5817 374
2012 56749 25541 18132 7188 5430 458
2013 54521 23543 17447 7377 5854 300
2014 50107 21411 16364 7026 5026 249 31
2015 49336 18091 16720 9279 4961 251 34
2016 50490 14372 16465 15190 4147 308 8

Labour immigration continues to fall

In 2016, labour immigration decreased by about 21 per cent from 2015. A total of 14 400 persons from non-Nordic countries immigrated for work in 2015. Labour immigrants from Poland made up the largest group in 2016, with 4 100 persons, a decrease of 1 100 from the previous year.

Seven out of 10 who immigrated for labour are still in Norway

Not everyone who immigrates to Norway stays here for the rest of their life. The reason for immigration has a bearing on whether they leave the country. Of those who immigrated for education, only 38 per cent still lived here on 1 January 2017. The corresponding percentage for those who immigrated for labour was 70 per cent.

Figure 2. Resident immigrants, by reason for and year of immigration
Figure 2. Resident immigrants, by reason for and year of immigration
Labour Family Refuge Education
1990 26.6 65.1 63.2 21.4
1991 19.8 61.1 63.9 23.7
1992 19.5 64.3 67.6 19.2
1993 16.2 63.4 70.1 19.3
1994 26.9 65.6 74.5 19.2
1995 28.9 67.0 76.6 18.0
1996 30.1 64.6 74.1 21.1
1997 33.4 66.9 80.0 21.7
1998 34.5 68.3 81.3 19.9
1999 35.1 71.9 57.7 23.8
2000 42.7 73.3 73.1 27.3
2001 44.8 73.1 87.4 29.6
2002 46.6 77.1 87.8 31.7
2003 48.9 78.4 92.3 30.7
2004 55.4 77.6 92.7 32.6
2005 60.4 78.9 93.0 35.0
2006 60.9 78.1 93.7 32.0
2007 61.4 78.1 91.8 29.8
2008 61.4 78.9 93.6 28.6
2009 69.6 78.3 95.8 32.6
2010 69.2 80.5 96.8 32.9
2011 71.3 80.5 96.1 34.3
2012 73.4 81.9 97.5 36.5
2013 78.5 83.4 97.4 38.9
2014 85.3 85.4 99.3 49.3
2015 90.9 92.2 99.8 75.9
2016 98.2 98.7 99.9 97.1

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