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Migration and integration in Norway - statistics & facts

Immigration to Norway was relatively low until the 1970s. Since then, however, the number of immigrants increased and underwent several phases. In the beginning of the 1970s, labor immigration was the most prevalent reason. This wave was superseded by asylum seekers throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Due to the expansion of the European Union in 2004, labor immigrants from new EU countries in Eastern Europe particularly dominated immigration to the Scandinavian country. Since the 1990s and until today, the most common reasons for immigration were family and labor matters. Other notable types of immigrants were refugees fleeing their country and students.

Norway experienced an increased migration flow over the past decade, with more immigrants entering the country than emigrants leaving it. Since 2011, the number of people who immigrated to Norway decreased annually. As of 2020, around 38 thousand foreigners settled in the Nordic country, most of whom came from Poland, Sweden, and Denmark. During the same year, approximately 27 thousand people moved from Norway. That was around 15 thousand people less compared to 2016 when emigration numbers peaked. The highest number of emigrants moved to Sweden, followed by Denmark, and Poland. In terms of destinations, immigration to and emigration from Norway thus seem to follow the same pattern.

Norway received the most asylum applications in 2015, when the European migrant numbers were at the highest level. That year, over 31 thousand people applied for asylum in the country, while roughly 10 thousand people were granted asylum. The number of asylum seekers dropped significantly in the years that followed, reaching around 1.5 thousand people as of 2020. Over five thousand people were granted asylum that same year, however. Syrians, Eritreans, and Turks received the most asylum grants in 2020.

During that year, people of Syrian and Eritrean origin were also granted the most permanent residence permits in Norway. Over six thousand Syrians and nearly 2.3 thousand Eritreans became permanent citizens in 2020. To achieve a permanent Norwegian residentship, applicants must have stayed three years in Norway without exceptions. Additionally, they must have been economically independent for the past 12 months without having received any social benefits. Considering citizenships, nearly three thousand Somalians as well as Eritreans became Norwegian citizens in 2020 and thus obtained Norwegian passports.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 31 most important statistics relating to "Migration and integration in Norway".


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