Increased support for a more restrictive refugee policy

The proportion of people who want to make it more difficult for refugees and asylum seekers to obtain a residence permit increased by 11 percentage points in 2009 compared to the year before. About half the population thinks the access to residence permits should be further restricted.



The present survey of attitudes towards immigrants and immigration also demonstrates that the proportion who strongly agree or agree “on the whole” that immigrants make an important contribution to Norwegian working life, fell by 4 percentage points from last year.

This time, Statistics Norway also posed a brand new question on labour migration. Two out of three agreed that labour immigration from non-Nordic countries contributes positively to the Norwegian economy. Both the present survey and last year’s survey were conducted in the month of July.

More restrictive attitudes confronting asylum seekers

The proportion of people who want to restrict the access for refugees and asylum seekers to obtain a residence permit in Norway increased – as already mentioned – by 11 percentage points. The increase may be due to the large growth in the number of asylum seekers to Norway recently and the attention given to this by the media.

Seven out of ten value immigrant contribution to working life

Seven out of ten still strongly agree or agree on the whole that “most immigrants make an important contribution to Norwegian working life”. Thirteen per cent disagree, whereas 15 per cent “neither agree nor disagree”. Compared to last year’s survey, there has been a decrease by 4 percentage points in the proportion agreeing to this statement. This may be related to the financial crisis affecting the global economy in September last year and causing an increase in the unemployment rate. The attitudinal change is nevertheless comparatively small.


Elderly and low educated more sceptical

Attitudes among the population mainly vary according to the same general patterns as before. In some respects, women appear to be more tolerant than men. The eldest and the least educated are the most sceptical to immigrants and immigration – this year as well as before. People resident in the most urban areas and in Oslo/Akershus are somewhat more open-minded than people in other parts of the country. Persons enrolled in education are also more positive towards immigrants and immigration than retired people and those benefiting from social security payments, whereas employed people place themselves somewhere in between the two.

Three out of four report to be in contact with immigrants. Persons with a lot of contact are more positively attuned to immigrants and immigration than persons with little or no contact.

For further documentation and more through analyses, see the report “Holdninger til innvandrere og innvandring 2009” (in Norwegian only), soon to be published on this website.

Source: Statistics Norway

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