Falling number of immigrantsThe number of people immigrating to Norway peaked in 2011. Since then, the number of immigrants arriving in the country has dropped annually, especially falling from 2016, a trend that can be observed all around Europe. Despite the falling number of immigrants, net migration to Norway continues to be positive as more people are immigrating than emigrating. In fact, the population increase the country has seen over the past decade is due to the positive migration rate, as the birth rate in the country has been falling over the same period.
Decreasing number of asylum seekersNorway received the highest number of asylum applications in 2015, when Europe saw a high number refugees arriving, especially from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. That year, over 31,000 people applied for asylum in the country and the following year, 16,000 people were granted asylum. However, the neighbor Sweden received a far higher number of refugees around 2015, which is reflected in the fact that Syrians and Iraqi make up the two largest group of foreigners there. The number of asylum seekers dropped significantly in the years that followed as the main routes for refugees to Europe have been closed. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic and the imposed travel restrictions led to a further reduction of immigrants in 2020 and 2021. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 caused a new wave of refugees arriving in European countries, and also Norway has seen a high number of Ukrainian refugees arriving.
Whereas Syrians topped the number of residence permits received in Norway in the years after 2015, recent numbers reflect the consequences of Brexit, with UK citizens topping the residence permit statistics in 2021. To achieve a permanent Norwegian residence permit, applicants must have stayed three years in the country without exceptions. Additionally, they must have been economically independent for the past 12 months without having received any social benefits. Considering citizenships, Swedes received the highest number in 2021.