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Historical archive

A positive attitude towards labour migration

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion

- Labour migration contributes to continued economic growth in Norway. We have to attract the skills needed in the labour market. The Government therefore wants to put the conditions in order for an effective labour migration, said the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr. Bjarne Håkon Hanssen, when he presented the White Paper on Labour Migration in Kirkenes, Friday 18 April.

- Labour migration contributes to continued economic growth in Norway. We have to attract the skills needed in the labour market. The Government therefore wants to put the conditions in order for an effective labour migration, said the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr. Bjarne Håkon Hanssen, when he presented the White Paper on Labour Migration in Kirkenes, Friday 18 April.

The Minister also emphasised that labour migration is not the only solution to the demographic challenges of Norway.  – The main strategy for the Government is to mobilise the domestic labour force through the reforms of the public welfare system and the pensions system. Labour migration will supplement this strategy, said Mr. Hanssen.

The white paper presents a number of measures which will give a more user-friendly, transparent and predictable policy towards labour migration.

Over the past years, labour migration to Norway has grown considerably. Labour migration has contributed to lower the pressure in the economy, and thus prolonged the strong business upswing.

The increased labour migration gives the government and the society new opportunities and challenges. Three areas of development are in particular visible:

  • The globalisation gives an increasingly more international labour market. The employees and employers get access to an enlarged labour market. At the same time, it demands international skills and diversity in the Norwegian working life, and the competition between countries for certain groups of labour is growing.
  • Labour migration contributes to covering the demand for labour, and through this also to removing bottlenecks in the labour market and slowing down the cost increase.
  • Labour migration to Norway has an impact on both the labour market and the rest of the society. Labour migration is posing challenges to the Norwegian work life model. It is important to secure decent wage and working conditions to the workers who arrive, fight social dumping and undeclared work, and strengthen the integration into the Norwegian society of both the labour migrants themselves and the families they bring with them.

- Labour is our most important resource. Full employment and low unemployment is a main goal for the Government. In order to meet the demand for labour, counter poverty and further develop the welfare society, it is a goal to strengthen the employment and inclusion of people at the margin or at risk of becoming marginalised in the labour market. Labour migration should not crowd out this part of the domestic labour force, but should be a supplement, says the Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion, Mr. Bjarne Håkon Hanssen. – Through the labour and welfare policy and the general economic policy, the government is building the foundation for achieving these goals. The reforms of the pension system and the reforms of the labour- and welfare service are key elements in this strategy, he adds.

The policy towards labour migration will seek to secure the needed skills and labour force in a way which benefit the employers, individual persons and the society.

The proposals put forward in the white paper will on the whole strengthen the picture of Norway as a country which has a positive attitude towards labour migration. Within the EEA- area, there is by and large free movement of workers. The Government sets the premise that labour migration from third countries will still be regulated.

The white paper presents measures in a number of areas:

  • Changes to the immigration act.
  • Information, case handling and application procedures.
  • Integration of labour migrants.
  • Increased focus on the northern region.
  • Considerations to the needs of the sending countries.

 

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