Norway’s strong oil-fueled economy has kept the country’s unemployment rate low for years, but it’s still high for immigrants, especially those from Africa, South America and parts of Asia. The opposition Conservative Party thinks employment rules should be eased to allow for more temporary work contracts, to help immigrants get a foot in the door.
While the official national unemployment rate among the 5,017,500 persons living in Norway now stands at 3 percent, according to state statistics bureau SSB, the most recent figures show it’s 6.4 percent for immigrants from South America, 7.7 percent for those from Asia and fully 12.4 percent for immigrants from Africa.
Variations among employment levels are wide in relation to various nationalities and ethnic groups. The jobless rate among immigrants from EU countries in eastern Europe, for example, is 6.3 percent, compared to just 2.7 percent for immigrants from western EU countries. For those from the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland) it’s even less, at just 2.3 percent, while unemployment within the Norwegian workforce excluding immigrants is a low 1.8 percent.
Norwegian employers prefer Norwegians
The statistics seem to support long-held beliefs that Norwegian employers prefer Norwegians, not least because of language issues, but unemployment among all immigrants did fall during the past year by nearly half-a-percentage point, to 6.1 percent. In 2009 it was 6.7 percent…