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Norway decries immigrants taking all jobs created in 2012. Swedes collected 3300.

Thursday, 27 June 2013
Norwegian labour organisation LO is concerned that immigrants are taking jobs away from the Norwegians. This comes following a new report from the Norwegian Statistics office, Statistic sentralbyrå (SSB) which show that of the 38,000 new jobs created in Norway last year all went to immigrants. The Swedish immigrants took 3,300 of the jobs.

"This can make it more challenging for Norway's' own vulnerable groups on the Norwegian labour market to have access to jobs," says Liv Sannes of the Norwegian Labour Union, LO.

That many of newly created jobs in Norway have been going to immigrants is well known. But that all 38,000 new jobs created in Norway in 2012 would go to people from other countries came as a surprise to the country's largest trade union, LO.

"We have long seen the trends, but we were a little surprised that all of the employment growth in 2012 was linked to immigration, "says Liv Sannes, economist at the Norwegian Labour Union LO.

One of the drivers according to her is the economic situation outside of Norway where unemployment is higher than in Norway. Unemployment in Norway is currently 3.5 percent. "Many people are seeking work in Norway right now. Net immigration has been over 40,000 people per year in the last six years, "says.

Asked if  LO wants to limit immigration to Norway. Liv Sannes replies: "No, we are not suggesting that. What we are doing is to draw the attention of politicians that this may make it more challenging for vulnerable groups on the labour market. These groups are young people, people with health problems, Norwegians with immigrant background. It may require extra efforts for these groups to get a job."

Of the 38,000 new jobs created in Norway, according to Norway's Statistics sentralbyrå (SSB),  27,000 jobs went  to immigrants residing in Norway, while the other 11,000 posts went to a combination of commuters and seasonal workers.

A total of 3,300 of these immigrants are from Sweden. Of these, 500 live in Norway, while the other 2,800 are commuters or seasonal workers.

The largest immigrant group are EU citizens from Eastern Europe, particularly Poland, and the Baltic states. Norway also has a large influx from Asian countries.

"Generally, we have good experience of Swedish labour force in Norway. The main challenge is for the short term, large amounts of immigrants from low-wage countries. It puts pressure on wages levels, the standard of labour and the entire Norwegian working model. A too rapid and large-scale immigration can threaten our integration capabilities, "says Liv Sannes.

Swedes account for 12.5 percent of the immigrant labour force in Norway, according to SBB. During the fourth quarter of 2012, 52,000 Swedes worked in Norway, of which over half were residents. This is an increase of 7 percent from the same period in 2011.

by Team

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