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Recruiting Immigrant Workers: Norway 2014

image of Recruiting Immigrant Workers: Norway 2014

Norway is characterised by very high levels of migration from within the European Economic Area (EEA) and growing but small scale labour migration from countries outside the EEA. In this context, the challenge for managing discretionary labour migration is to ensure it complements EEA flows. High-skilled workers who come to Norway often leave, even if their employer would like to keep them. Norway has many international students, but most appear to leave at graduation or in the years that follow. The spouses of skilled migrants – usually educated and talented themselves – face challenges in finding employment, and this may cause the whole family to leave. Key industries in smaller population centres wonder how they will source talent in the future. This review examines these aspects of the Norwegian labour migration system. It considers the efficiency of procedures and whether the system is capable of meeting demand. It looks at several policy measures that were implemented and withdrawn, and assesses how these and other mechanisms could be better applied. The characteristics and behaviour of past labour migrants is examined to suggest means of encouraging promising immigrants to remain, and how Norway might attract the specific labour migrants from which it can most benefit in the future.

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Executive summary

Norway has become a major labour migration country in the OECD, with inflows of labour migrants – mostly workers from the EEA – exceeding all OECD countries except Switzerland, as a share of its population. Discretionary labour migration from outside the EEA has not grown as much as free movement. Free movement migration stood at about 40 000 inflows in 2012, compared with fewer than 5 000 non-EEA workers admitted.

English

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