- Country of net migration since mid-1960s, with 13% foreign-born and 15% of 2nd generation
- Large share of non-EU-born are university-educated (around 1/3)
- Decreasing share of newcomers are family migrants, with rise in study and humanitarian migrants
- One of the highest and increasingly positive attitudes towards immigrants in developed world, alongside other Nordics and English-speaking countries
- Rank: 4 out of 38
- MIPEX Score: 69
- LABOUR MARKET MOBILITY 90
- FAMILY REUNION 63
- EDUCATION 65
- HEALTH 67
- POLITICAL PARTICIPATION 82
- PERMANENT RESIDENCE 70
- ACCESS TO NATIONALITY 52
- ANTI-DISCRIMINATION 59
Changes in context
Key Common Statistics
|Country of net migration since:||% Non-EU citizens||% Foreign-born||% Non-EU of foreign-born||% Non-EU university-educated||% from low or medium-developed (HDI) country|
|UN 2010 data in 2013||Eurostat 2013||Eurostat 2013||Eurostat 2013||Note: Adults aged 18-64, Eurostat 2013||Eurostat 2013|
Changes in policy
NO's major strengths on integration policy are long-established going back a decade or more. Recent changes have slightly undermined those strengths. NO lost 2 points when its 2010 Immigration Law introduced fees and resource requirements for certain separated non-EU families that are higher than the established minimums of what the NO-born need and use to live together as a family. NO lost another point in 2014 when immigrants lost their national platform to inform and improve policy, KIM.
Conclusions and recommendations
Immigrants face many more opportunities than obstacles to fully participate in society, with NO ranked 4th, alongside FI and similar to CA and NZ. Overall, NO's general policies and context increase immigrants' participation in society, thanks to NO's high levels of employment, social support and political participation.
NO's strengths in many areas of integration are a testament to its 2012 comprehensive policy and its commitments to mainstreaming, equality and diversity. Immigrants count on the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion and its IMDi directorate to guarantee them equal rights and basic information and support to participate in different areas of life. For example, NO's introduction programme and requirements set realistic expectations for immigrants to put in equal efforts to learn as much as they can about the NO language and society. Mainstreaming means that the Ministry coordinates with other ministries, who take targeted actions on diversity as part of their general commitments to equal opportunities and outcomes. Through this process, immigrants have benefited from stronger laws and targeted support on anti-discrimination, employment, multicultural education and, recently, health.
Immigrants could benefit from better rights and opportunities if NO follows international reform trends on the recognition of non-EU degrees, dual nationality, birthright citizenship and comprehensive anti-discrimination laws. NO's integration policies are increasingly evaluated through robust studies, thanks to NO's wealth of administrative data. Access can be expanded in the most effective programmes: pre-primary education, professional degrees, wage subsidies, job-specific language training and citizenship. Immigrants can also get involved in this comprehensive process of mainstreaming through a new strong consultation structure, which would replace KIM and the current annual dialogue conference. Immigrant civil society needs the independent capacity and networks to engage in consultation and advisory bodies in all relevant national policies.
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Labour Market Mobility
Effective general and targeted support in NO reaches large numbers of non-EU residents and helps many get into jobs in the long-term, though potentially below their level of qualifications or basic needs
How many immigrants could be employed?
An estimated 22% of working-age non-EU citizens are not in employment, education or training in NO, similar to DK, SE and UK and lower than in most European countries. However the numbers increase among low-educated non-EU men and women (about 1/3) in NO, as in other Northern European countries.
Do immigrants have equal rights and opportunities to access jobs and improve their skills?
Non-EU residents can benefit from favourable rights and support for their labour market integration in NO, ranking 3rd, alongside CA and the other Nordic countries. Most can change jobs and sectors, or use general training and study grants like NO citizens. Targeted support such as vocational training and wage subsidies has had positive effects on labour market integration according to robust studies (see box). In practice, some may not be eligible or able to access this targeted support, while problems may arise in practice to use recognition procedures and education/social benefits.
Dimension 1: Access to labour market
- Non-EU residents have generally favourable access to NO's labour market, with only slight delays for labour migrants (see also 13 other MIPEX countries with equal access)
- Permanent residents and family migrants enjoy the same labour market access as do citizens in NO, as in most countries
- All non-EU labour migrants can only change jobs and sectors once they become long-term residents after 3 years
Dimension 2: Access to general support
- All non-EU residents with long-term prospects in NO are encouraged to develop and use their skills through equal access to general support
- Non-EU residents enjoy more equal support in NO (ranked 2nd) just behind SE (also generally equal support in 9 other countries, e.g. DE, NL, CA, PT)
- In addition to permanent residents and family migrants, labour migrants on the path to permanent residence (i.e. not seasonal workers, au pairs, etc.) can combine their work with education & training and use study grants with the same rights as NO citizens
- All can get support from public employment services and get their skills and academic qualifications recognised through NOKUT (even if missing documentation)
- Greater gaps emerge in the recognition of non-EU professional qualifications
Dimension 3: Targeted support
- Non-EU immigrants may be eligible and able to take up effective targeted support to develop their skills, networks, and work experience in NO, with strong policies as in 8 other countries (i.e. Nordics, DE, NZ, PT, AT)
- Newcomers are informed of opportunities through the introduction programme, materials and campaigns
- A one-stop-shop (NAKUT) receives applications for recognitions, but only for non-regulated professions
- Immigrants can get advise from specialised employment services (NAV Intro) and enroll in job-specific language training and programmes with wage subsidies and work placements (see box)
Dimension 4: Workers' rights
- Non-EU workers generally have equal rights as NO citizens, depending on the conditions attached to their permit
- Generally equal rights are guaranteed in NO and 12 other countries (e.g. CA, DE, NL, PT, SE)
- Under NO's 2010 Immigration Act, temporary residents using social assistance may possibly not have their permit renewed
The NO employment service (NAV) regularly conducts internal diversity training (including Diversity Mirror). Its special NAV Intro Unit offers specialised help for immigrant job-seekers. This unit works with municipalities to improve their services and assists directly with interviews, language testing, targeted training courses and recently support for immigrant entrepreneurs. Specifically, NAV has workforce programmes targeting immigrant women (e.g. Welcome In) and youth.
More broadly, the pilot project 'Second Chance' sought to assist long-term inactive immigrants, especially stay-at-home wives/mothers, to improve their skills and to find employment. Following a positive evaluation in 2012, the programme was extended as 'Job Chance' (Jobbsjansen). Municipalities with more than 750 immigrants may apply for funding from IMDI (30 million kroner in 2013 and 87 million in 2014). A 2013-6 action plan 'We Need Immigrants' Competence' aims to facilitate the recognition of non-EU qualifications (e.g. health sector) and bridging programmes. For example, NOKUT, the body responsible to recognise foreign degrees, started a 2013 trial for refugees missing documentation.
Are immigrants acquiring new skills?
Working-age non-EU immigrants are more likely to access education and training in NO than in most European countries. Around 30% of men and women reported that they were recently enrolled in adult education or training in 2011/2, which is just as high as in DK, FI, NL and UK though further below SE (42%). Uptake was slightly higher among high-educated men and women (1/3) than low-educated men and women (1/4). Relatively few obtain a degree in NO (slightly higher rates in DK and SE). Moreover, most unemployed non-EU citizens must find a new job in NO without the support of unemployment benefits. According to 2011/2 estimates, 38% of non-EU citizens received any unemployment benefit when unemployed in the previous year. Access was much higher in FI and countries with long-settled non-EU citizen populations (AT, BE, FR, CH).
What other factors explain whether immigrants find skilled and well-paid jobs?
- High employment rates (≥70%) in NO and other Nordics
- More rigid employment protection legislation in NO than on average in OECD
- Slight minority of recent migrants coming for temporary work or study permits
- Few non-EU-born immigrants obtain a formal educational degree in NO
- Exposure to the language not possible before migration
Are immigrants employed in qualified and well-paid jobs?
Labour market integration happens over time in NO as in most European countries, according to 2011/2 data. Employment rates are comparatively high and equitable in NO among the long-settled non-EU-born (10+ years' stay). The majority are working, both among high/low-educated men and women. The long-settled non-EU-born are just 10% less likely to have jobs than non-immigrants with the same gender and level of education. For example, employment rates are estimated at 65% among the low-educated NO-born and 58% among the low-educated non-EU-born, while these rates rise to 90% among the high-educated NO-born and 82% among high-educated non-EU-born.
The long-term problem is getting immigrants into jobs that fully use their skills and provide sufficient wages and benefits. Around 1/3 of long-settled non-EU-born men and women are working in jobs below the level of their qualifications. This level of overqualification is 2 times the level for the NO-born women and 3 times the level for men. 18% of low-educated non-EU-born workers experience in-work poverty, which is around 2 times the level for low-educated NO-born workers.
What do we learn from robust studies?
Robust evaluations in NO that non-Western immigrants are more likely to find jobs after participating in wage subsidies and, to some extent, vocational training (see Bilgili forthcoming).
Despite some of the most restrictive requirements for newly formed families, families regularly reunite in NO and start the integration progress with equal rights and promising programmes
How easily can immigrants reunite with family?
Non-EU immigrants only have slightly favourable chances of reuniting together in NO because of 2010's new requirements (-6 MIPEX points on family reunion). These requirements are rare in Europe and the developed world. Depending on their residence and family situation, non-EU residents may face the 6th most restrictive requirements in the developed world (alongside DK, DE, NL), including high fees and the highest income thresholds. These requirements may not be effective for long-term integration by delaying adults and children's arrival in NO and its many real opportunities and policies for socio-economic integration, including its well-supported introduction programme.
Dimension 1: Eligibility
- The eligibility rules are halfway favourable depending on the family and the sponsor
- Families are largely defined the same way under NO family law and family reunion policies
- Non-EU families may have a harder time documenting their connections
- Non-EU residents can reunite with their spouse/partner, minor children and, in cases of total dependency, their adult children or parents
- Sponsors on the path to permanent residence can apply immediately when they meet the requirements in most cases
- Delays imposed only in cases for asylum-seekers and new marriages since 2010
- Only 7 other countries impose high age limits for adult couples (recently abolished in BE & UK as disproportionate)
Dimension 2: Conditions
- The requirements can be relatively demanding in NO, as in DK, NL, DE
- With certain humanitarian exceptions (more since 2012), sponsors cannot have used social benefits that year and must prove that they meet one of the highest income levels in the developed world
- Fees are high even by NO standards and continue to rise (the median fee in EU is 120€ and average is around 200€)
- Families can be kept apart until the sponsor has worked for 4 years and they must have secured adequate housing
- For new marriages, sponsors must have worked or studied for 2 years
- These conditions, with the aim of decreasing the number of family reunions and asylum seekers, may be a conflict of interest with goals to promote integration
- In contrast, the requirements are slightly favourable for all family reunion cases in 24 out of the 38 countries (e.g. BE, FI, SE)
Dimension 3: Security of status
- Applicants and families are halfway secure in their status, slightly more insecure than the average Western European country, with NO ranking 22nd alongside CH and UK
- Refusals and withdrawals can be based on several discretionary procedures
- The final decision should be taking the family's individual circumstances into account and open to appeal
Dimension 4: Rights associated
- Family members can equally participate and settle in NO, with equal rights as their sponsor and a clear path to autonomous residence, with NO tied for 1st with CA, PT, ES and similar to SE, IT
- They have the equal right to work and participate in education and training programmes, as in the majority of countries
- The language/introduction programme is one of the most favourable in developed world to help immigrants learn the language and find their way in the country (see box)
- NO creates better conditions for independence and gender equality within families than most countries with a path to permanent residence after 3 years, including for divorced/separated couples
- The right to autonomous residence is further facilitated for vulnerable families, such as in case of death or domestic abuse/violence
The introduction programme provides families with the basic knowledge and support they need to learn the language and find their way in NO. Since 2005, most newly arrived adults aged 16-55 have the right and the duty to complete free NO language training and social orientation within their first 3 years (250/50 hours required before 2012 and 550/50 required after 2012, usually up to B1 level). Immigrants needing more time or higher levels of fluency can benefit from up to 3000 lessons, depending on their individual needs. This right and duty extends to family of beneficiaries of international protection, permanent residents and NO citizens. Those aged 55-to-67 have a right but not a duty to participate. Non-EU labour migrants and their families have the duty to complete 300 NO lessons, but not the right to free courses, depending on their employers' policy. The programme does not apply to students, au pairs and other short-term temporary permits, Nordic citizens and EU/EEA permits. More might successfully participate if it was free for all who needed it (e.g. DK, FI, SE, DE) with more public learning materials (e.g. DK). NO evaluations suggest that these types of introduction programmes significantly boost language learning and can improve long-term employment outcomes for certain immigrants (see Bilgili forthcoming).
Are families reuniting?
Between 9,000-11,000 family members have reunited with a non-EU sponsor every year in NO from 2008-2013. NO is not a large country of non-EU family immigration, with large annual numbers in countries such as BE, CH, NL, SE and Europe's largest countries. Newcomer families to NO are very diverse, coming from all over the globe. The largest groups, SO and TH, make up only 9-10% of reuniting family members. The other major nationalities reflect NO's non-EU countries of origin (IN, PH, ER, US, RU, PK, RS, BZ, CN, IQ). About half of reuniting family members are spouses with the other half made up of children and, occasionally other family members. Hardly any elderly over 65 arrive through family reunion.
What other factors explain whether immigrants reunite with family?
- Many newcomers recently settling down with family in NO and other Nordics
- Sizeable share of humanitarian migrants likely to stay and need family reunion in NO and other Nordics
- Small numbers with permits ineligible to sponsor
- Most non-EU citizens from low-to-medium developing countries and thus less more to reunite
How often do immigrants reunite with family?
Non-EU families regularly reunite in NO and a few other European countries (recently SE, NL, FI). The non-EU family reunion rate in NO has slightly decreased in recent years; While the number of non-EU citizens increased by around 25,000 from 2011-2013, the number of family members reuniting with non-EU sponsors has remained stable around 9,000-11,000. Still, the rate of non-EU family reunion is still slightly above average for Western Europe. Also, these rates are relatively equitable, with reuniting families representative of the makeup of NO's non-EU population.
All types of non-EU families are generally more likely to reunite in countries with slightly favourable family reunion policies, such as NO, FI, SE, Benelux and Southern European countries.
NO is still working on effective targeted and general school support to achieve equal education in practice
How many pupils have immigrant parents?
Like most Northern European countries, NO has an increasing number of pupils with immigrant parents in its school system, particularly in Oslo. Among 15-year-old pupils, the 2012 OECD PISA study estimated their numbers as 4.8% 1st generation pupils and 4.7% 2nd generation. Only an estimated 1/3 of these pupils have parents who speak NO at home (similar to the levels in SE).
Is the education system responsive to the needs of the children of immigrants?
Scoring 65/100, NO's targeted education support ranks 4th internationally alongside CA and NZ, with strong support for multicultural education and targeting pupils' individual needs. Reforms to improve general education quality and outcomes improved targeting needs and opportunities brought by Norwegians with other cultural backgrounds. Immigrant pupils can learn NO at all school levels, while receiving mother tongue support in order to continue developing cognitively. Multicultural education is strengthened in curricula, a national body (NAFO) and objectives for more trained and diverse teachers.
Dimension 1: Access
- Access is a slight weakness in NO and in most European countries
- Equal access for all immigrants arriving as children to pre-primary, primary and secondary education
- 2010 Immigration Law reduced access to secondary and higher education for unaccompanied minors over 16; Undocumented immigrants who cannot be returned also cannot access education levels like vocational training (see differences in DK, FI, SE, EE, FR, NL, ES)
- Potential role for external experts to assess and place newcomer children (see FR, LU)
- Obligatory measures to increase participation of immigrant pupils in pre-primary education, but only ad hoc for vocational and higher education
Dimension 2: Targeting needs
- Schools receive strong support to target pupils' individual learning needs in NO, tied for 1st with DK/FI/SE, EE and US
- All municipalities are obliged and financially supported to offer their own targeted support to newcomer and language-minority pupils
- Newcomer parents and pupils are informed through meetings and interpretation, supported by NAFO, the Directorate for Schools and National Parents’ Committee for Primary and Secondary Education (FUG)
- Pupils can benefit from a high-quality curriculum for learning NO at all school levels
- For several years, government has been investing in multicultural competences of teachers and kindergarten staff in hundreds of schools, with a focus on multicultural pedagogy, multilingualism, second language teaching and adult education
Dimension 3: New opportunities
- NO is starting to realise the new opportunities for schools to promote social integration and the benefits of immigration
- These policies are halfway favourable and rank 5th alongside DE and similar to DK/FI/SE and AU/CA
- Language minorities are recommended to be taught their mother tongue and cultures alongside 2nd-language NO support, usually during the normal school day
- Immigrants are increasingly encouraged to study and qualify as teachers
- Ad hoc initiatives for mixed classrooms/schools and for outreach to immigrant parents (see also AU/CA/NZ, other Northern European countries)
Dimension 4: Intercultural education
- Most immigrant and non-immigrant pupils should get some exposure to multicultural education in NO, tied 3rd with SE, NL, AU, NZ
- The appreciation of cultural diversity is promoted across the curriculum in schools and by IMDI in wider society
- Schools are given guidance and trainings on multicultural education as they must adapt to the educational needs of all pupils, including basic social, cultural and religious needs
- Multicultural education could be better implemented in schools through dedicated specific subjects (e.g. CA, IS, IT, NL, SE, UK) and greater monitoring/evaluation of schools
Are pupils with limited literacy getting remedial courses?
A slight majority of foreign-born low-literacy pupils (55%) benefit from extra out-of-school literacy courses in NO, as in a few other developed countries (e.g. DE, AU/CA/NZ, IE/UK), according to 2012 OECD PISA data on 15-year-olds. Enrollment is much higher in the other Nordic countries (69-79%) for these pupils as well as for low-literacy 2nd generation or non-immigrant pupils (only around 1/3 of both are reportedly enrolled in NO).
What other factors explain whether the children of immigrants excel at school?
- A slight majority of immigrant and non-immigrant pupils with low-educated mothers are concentrated in disadvantaged schools in NO
- Only 1/3 of 1st/2nd generation speak the language at home in NO and SE
- Estimated 20% of foreign-born pupils arrive after age 12
- % of GDP spent on education highest in Northwest Europe
- Student-teacher ratios relatively low and above-average duration of compulsory education in NO
How well are the children of immigrants achieving at school?
1st and 2nd generation pupils are 2/3 more likely to be math low-achievers, when comparing both immigrant and non-immigrant pupils with low-educated mothers. This data comes from the 2012 OECD PISA study. The share of low-achievers rises to 30% of non-immigrant pupils with low-educated mothers and 50% of 1st and 2nd generation pupils with low-educated mothers. No progress is observed on this indicator from one generation to the next in NO, unlike in SE, FR, IE/UK and traditional countries of immigration. Large gaps remain in NO, DK, FI and several other European countries.
No systematic link emerges between targeted education policies and outcomes. Targeted education policies may be too new, too weak, too late or too general for most migrant pupils to benefit from them all across the country and education system. Moreover, the general structure of the education system also has a great if not greater impact on the outcomes of migrant and other disadvantaged pupils.
What do we learn from robust studies?
A few robust studies examine the impact of NO's education policies on immigrants' school attainment. For example, Brinch et al. 2012 find that granting all pupils the right to at least 3 years of upper secondary education in 1994 significantly improved immigrant youth's educational attainment. Drange and Telle 2010 found that offering 4-hours of free preschool in two Oslo districts improved school performance of immigrant girls 10-years-later.
NO taking a 1st major step to achieve equity in health for migrant patients, with 2013-2017 national strategy on immigrants' health
Is the health system responsive to immigrants' needs?
The NO health system is leading the Nordic countries to guarantee equal quality services for immigrant patients, with a slightly favourable response ranked 4th alongside AU and just behind NZ, CH and US. Leadership from NO's migrant health policy has started the process to make services more responsive and accessible to eligible immigrant patients.
Dimension 1: Entitlements
- Equal entitlements to healthcare coverage are largely guaranteed for asylum-seekers and most legal migrants in NO, but not for undocumented migrants, unlike in several other leading European countries
- Legal migrants with ≥1-year-permit and asylum-seekers must become members of the National Insurance Scheme with equal coverage as NO citizens in comparable circumstances
- Undocumented migrants receive emergency and ‘absolutely essential’ care, but are normally required to pay for it afterwards in full. However, there are exemptions for some conditions and at-risk groups (see wider coverage in CH, SE, IT, NL, LU and FR)
- Access to these entitlements may be undermined by the documentation for asylum-seekers (D-number) and discretion for undocumented migrants (regarding emergency or 'absolutely essential' assistance)
Dimension 2: Access policies
- Efforts to make healthcare services accessible in NO are average for Western Europe, ranking 15th
- Providers serve undocumented patients without the threat of sanctions or reporting obligations (similar good practices in Nordics, FR, Southern Europe)
- Regular multilingual information on entitlements and ad hoc health education projects, mostly focused on legal migrants and asylum-seekers
- Cultural mediators are not systematically available (see BE, FR, LU, CH, US)
Dimension 3: Responsive services
- Healthcare services are starting to respond to migrant patients' specific health/access needs
- NO policies rank 7th like SE, DE and IE, as they catch up with the leading EN-speaking countries
- To achieve equity in health, health services are supposed to involve migrants and adjust to their individual needs
- Voluntary pre- and in-service trainings on migration and ad hoc measures to open up to migrant users and staff
- Free forms for interpretation have developed for patients
- Several projects to adapt diagnostic and treatment methods (e.g. dementia in elderly migrants kulturformuleringen for mental health professionals, FGM, TB treatment, Vitamin D drops)
Dimension 4: Mechanisms for change
- Services becoming accessible and responsive through new leading national migrant health strategy, with NO tied for 3rd with NZ and US
- 2013-2017 national strategy on immigrants' health set out overall strategy on 'Equitable Health and Care Services - Good Health for All'
- Wealth of data and research on migrant health and access
- Strategy accompanied with small funding for implementing key priorities
- Leading migrant health stakeholders: NAKMI, Norwegian Centre for Minority Health Research since 2003 and SOHEMI, an advisory board under Health Directorate
- Migrant and ethnic minority health is now seen as a priority across service providers and health agencies (e.g. Board of Health Supervision and Ombudsmen and new policies on migrant health in patient organisations, trade unions and NGOs)
- Migrant health not yet taken into account in other policies beyond health
NO continues its tradition as an inclusive Nordic democracy; most non-EU immigrants are enfranchised as national citizens or local voters and over time as politically active as the NO-born
Do immigrants have comparable rights and opportunities to participate in political life?
NO's policies on political participation are still one of its major areas of strength for integration policies, despite the current absence of a strong national consultative body. NO's score dropped -6 points, due to the closure of KIM, but remains the highest internationally, ranked 1st just ahead of FI, LU, NZ and PT. Non-EU immigrants still have better opportunities to become politically active in NO than in any other developed country of immigration. Since 2014, they have weaker chances to inform and improve the national policy, awaiting a new innovative proposal for a strong and independent structure for consultation (see different examples in AU, BE (VL), DK, FI, DE, KR, LU, PT, ES).
Dimension 1: Electoral rights
- Nordics grant the most inclusive voting rights in Europe
- After 3 years, all newcomers can vote in all but national elections (as in DK, FI, IE, NL, SE, more inclusive in NZ)
- They can also stand as candidates in local elections
Dimension 2: Political liberties
- All legal residents join or form parties, associations and media in NO and all other Western European countries
Dimension 3: Consultative bodies
- Framework for consultation is no longer favourable for promoting meaningful participation of immigrants at national level (-23 points on consultation)
- Regional and city leaders in e.g. Oslo and Drammen consult with immigrants through robust and independent consultative bodies
- Some regions and cities model theirs on the national body (KIM, see below)
- Others grant consultative status to immigrant umbrella NGOs, as in IE (local) and BE (regional)
- A few make political appointments without direct input from these communities
- In 2014, the national government closed the Contact Committee for Immigrants and the Authorities (KIM), one of the strongest consultative bodies internationally (see box)
- Government so far replaced KIM with an ad hoc annual 'dialogue conference' without any powers
Dimension 4: Implementation policies
- Non-EU residents are informed and supported to become active in immigrant and mainstream civil society, with strong policies in NO and 13 others
- For example, 14 national-level integration-focused organisations received funding in 2012, including 2 new organisations: Utrop (news organisation) and LIM (network of liberal Muslims)
- Multilingual brochures and films developed by IMDi for 2011 local and 2013 national elections (2013 was the 100th anniversary of the universal right to vote)
Since 1984, the law required that KIM propose and respond to all types of issues and that authorities respond to the consultation. Its regionally nominated members represented immigrants in all their diversity and lead the body, along with a permanent secretariat.
How many non-EU immigrants are eligible to vote?
NO is one of the most politically inclusive countries, looking at both enfranchised and naturalised non-EU citizens in 2011/2 (alongside SE, IS, BE, NL and PT). An estimated 60% of the non-EU-born in NO have been enfranchised through access to NO nationality, according to 2011/2 estimates. Around 85% of non-EU citizens have also been enfranchised at local level in DK, NL and SE (data missing from NO). Large numbers of non-EU citizens have used the vote when countries have granted them this right, although registration rates are generally lower than for national citizens but often similar to higher than for EU citizens. For example, in NO, consistently around 30% of non-EU citizens have turned out to vote in elections ever since the late 1980s.
What other factors explain whether immigrants become politically active?
- Just 1/3 of non-EU citizens are university-educated
- Most from low-to-medium developed countries with lower levels of civic engagement than in Nordics
- Sizeable number of humanitarian migrants likely to become civically active over the long-term
Are immigrants participating in political life?
Long-settled non-EU-born adults seem on average almost as likely to participate politically as non-immigrants with similar levels of education. In the 2000s, 54% of long-settled residents (10+ years' stay) reported recently taking part in a political party, association, petition, demonstration or contacting a politician, compared to 61% for non-immigrants. That means the long-settled non-EU-born are just 12% less likely to become civically active than the NO-born, although political participation rates were 1/3 lower among the low-educated (29% for non-EU-born vs. 46% for NO-born).
Immigrants' integration can quickly benefit from the relative security and equal rights of permanent residence in NO if they can meet NO's average requirements and put in an equal effort to learn as much Norwegian as they can
Who can become long-term residents?
The slight majority of non-EU citizen men and women have lived in NO at least 5 years, which is similar in SE, another country with relatively large numbers of non-EU newcomers.
How easily can immigrants become long-term residents?
Permanent residence is a slightly favourable part of non-EU immigrants' process of integration in NO. For immigrants to obtain a relatively secure status and equal rights, they must go through eligibility rules and requirements that are relatively average for a European country. The path to become permanent residents has become more expensive, with higher fees since 2010 (-4 points).
Dimension 1: Eligibility
- The eligibility rules for permanent residents in NO are relatively average for Western Europe
- Most temporary residents can apply after a shorter but less flexible period in NO than in most countries (3 years with absences ≤7 months) and count time studying in NO
- Not all time studying in NO counts towards permanent residence
Dimension 2: Conditions
- Immigrants face average requirements to become permanent residents in NO, similar to DK and other Western European countries
- All immigrants on the path to permanent residence are expected to put in equal efforts to learn as much Norwegian as they can through free courses for most (600 hours for right/duty to follow language/social orientation programme and pass a test since 2011)
- Adult applicants must demonstrate a basic legal income and pay higher fees since 2011 (225 euros in NO, international median is 140 euros)
Dimension 3: Security of status
- Immigrants becoming permanent residents are slightly secure in the future in NO, ranking 5th alongside SE and IT/PT/ES
- While the decision can take months, refusals or withdrawals should be made on only a few discretionary grounds
- Permanent residents obtain a permanent secure status in NO as in 26 other countries, with the right to live/work abroad for periods of 2 years
- Any decision to deport a permanent resident must take into account all aspects of their life, with protections for the NO-born
Dimension 4: Rights Associated
- Permanent residents in NO can work, study and live in the country with the same social and economic rights as nationals in 29 other countries
Access to Nationality
Renunciation requirement can discourage immigrants from the clear path to becoming citizens in NO, the last Nordic country resisting dual nationality
Who can become a citizen?
NO's large share of newcomers means that just 40% of non-EU citizens have lived there long enough to qualify to become NO citizens, according to 2011/2 estimates. Approximately 7% of non-EU citizens were actually born in NO.
How easily can immigrants become citizens?
The path to NO citizenship for immigrants generally supports their integration. But its limited options for dual nationality and limited entitlements for children put NO slightly below the average Western European country and any other Nordic country, except IS. NO has yet to undertake the reforms spreading across Europe, from DE, SE, FI in the early 2000s to PT, LU, CZ, PL and, most recently, DK in 2013/4.
Dimension 1: Eligibility
- The residence requirements for foreign-born immigrants and spouses are average for Europe, though slightly less flexible
- Children aged 12+ born or raised in NO go through the same procedure as newcomer immigrants, unlike in the near-majority of countries (see stronger entitlements in BE, FR, SE, IE, UK)
Dimension 2: Conditions
- Unlike most MIPEX countries, NO provides immigrants the right support to succeed as new citizens (see box)
- The flexible rules recognise anyone who puts in the hours to learn NO or Sami (600 hours or A2 test) and the country's civic values, with the proper exemptions for the NO-educated and vulnerable groups
- Requiring the same test for all people may undermine – rather than improve on – this success
Dimension 3: Security of status
- NO's procedure is similar to most European countries'
- The government tries to keep them short and objective so that all applicants meeting the legal requirements are entitled to become NO citizens
- New citizens can lose their citizenship on several grounds, but with some protections against statelessness
Dimension 4: Dual nationality
- NO is the last Nordic country resisting dual nationality
- Dual nationality is hard to avoid; NO already has to accept it as an exception on humanitarian and accessibility grounds
- Reforming countries like CZ, DK, and PL are finding it easier to regulate, with many benefits and few risks. They fully accept dual nationality because renunciation requirements are seen as major obstacles to naturalisation and not as incentives for integration
§4-2 of the Citizenship regulations provide applicants with five ways to demonstrate their willingness to learn NO's language(s) and civic values. Immigrants can complete the language and civic training under the Introduction Act. Or they can pass an A2-level oral and written test. They can complete NO or Sami coursework at the primary or secondary education level, 30 credits of NO or Sami at the university level, or the intake requirements for university studies. It is also possible to be exempted on health or compelling grounds under the Citizenship regulations or Introduction Act.
How many immigrants are becoming citizens?
6,149 non-EU citizens became NO citizens in 2012. The total number of naturalisations has remained stable between 10-15,000 since 2005.
What other factors explain why non-EU immigrants become citizens?
- Many newcomers not yet eligible to naturalise
- Majority are humanitarian or family migrants and thus likely to stay
- Most from less developed countries and thus likely to naturalise
- 2/3 from countries allowing dual nationality
How often do immigrants become citizens?
By 2012, 60% of non-EU-born adults had become NO citizens, on par with several Western European countries. The yearly naturalisation rate for non-EU citizen men and women has been stable in recent years, above the average in Europe and on par with FI, IS, UK, though below SE. Rates are lower on average in NO for several groups: non-EU citizens over 65, from certain refugee-producing countries and from countries allowing dual nationality. Internationally, non-EU citizens are much more likely to naturalise in countries with inclusive policies. NO's clear path to citizenship encourages many to apply and succeed. Still, the acceptance of dual nationality seems to be one of the most important policies affecting naturalisation rates.
Following international reform trends, a strong comprehensive law covering nationality and multiple discrimination in NO would offer better access to justice for victims
Is everyone effectively protected from racial/ethnic, religious, and nationality discrimination in all areas of life?
Potential victims of discrimination in NO can seek justice under anti-discrimination laws and support that are just average for Western Europe. These laws are slightly more advanced than DK's but far behind the trend towards strong comprehensive anti-discrimination laws (recently FI, SE, UK). Despite the NO's government's leadership to promote equality in the public sector and society, its specific laws are only halfway favourable for victims to access justice, falling below the average for Western Europe on its definitions and concepts, fields of application and enforcement mechanisms.
Dimension 1: Definitions
- NO has weaker definitions of discrimination, particularly nationality discrimination, than half the MIPEX countries
- Wide range of actors cannot discriminate against a person on the grounds of race, ethnicity or religion
- NO would catch up with other established countries of immigration by explicitly outlawing nationality (e.g. FI, SE, FR, DE, UK) and multiple discrimination (see 8 countries, e.g. AT, DE, UK, CA, US)
Dimension 2: Fields of application
- Without clear protections against nationality in all areas of life, NO takes 'minimum' horizontal approach to fighting discrimination against immigrants (similar to AT, DK, PL, ES, instead see 16 countries, including FI/SE)
Dimension 3: Enforcement mechanisms
- The mechanisms to enforce the law are only halfway favourable for victims to access justice in NO (as in FI/DK, behind countries such as FR, NL, SE)
- Victims benefit from shifts in the burden of proof, protections against victimisations, class actions since 2008 and roles for equality NGOs in court in NO, as in the majority of countries
- NO could strengthen enforcement through wider sanctions, legal aid and support for situation testing
Dimension 4: Equality policies
- NO government commitments to equality are among the strongest in the developed world, ranked 6th overall like AU and AU
- 2009 positive duties (see also FI, SE, UK) build on a national action plan and international standards (ICERD, ECRI)
- Authorities must promote equality in their work, while companies must report on their actions.
- The Equality and Discrimination Ombudsman has slightly favourable powers to help victims, except representing them in court
- Equality bodies have stronger legal mandates in around a dozen countries, e.g. BE, FI, IE, NL, SE
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How many racial/ethnic and religious discrimination complaints were made to equality bodies?
Statistics are not collected on discrimination cases in NO. More than 95% of all discrimination cases were handled by the Equality Ombud and Tribunal. In 2012, the Equality Ombud received 1714 inquiries: 1540 requests for advice and 174 complaints, including only 32 on ethnicity and 6 on religion.
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