The Local, March 13, 2012
Immigrants are set to make up almost half of Oslo’s population by 2040, according to Statistics Norway, new figures show, prompting an immediate call for more restrictive immigration policies from Progress Party leader Siv Jensen.
In less than 30 years from now, 70 percent of the Norwegian capital’s first and second generation immigrants will have their roots in countries outside the 30-member European Economic Area, Statistics Norway said.
The study, the first ever projection of immigration trends to be published in Norway, shows that the largest cities will also see the biggest upsurge in immigrant numbers.
Immigrants are defined in the statistics as either people who have either moved to Norway from another country, or the Norway-born children of two first-generation immigrants.
According to Statistics Norway’s most likely scenario, Oslo’s immigrant population will rise from today’s 28 percent to 47 percent in 2040.
In the country as a whole, the immigrant population is expected to jump from 12 to 24 percent, or from 600,000 people today to 1.5 million in 2040.
For Siv Jensen, the trend is deeply worrying.
“For far too long Norway has been an attractive country for asylum seekers and immigrants. The Progress Party believes it’s high time for more restrictive policies,” she said.
“The more immigrants there are the more difficult it will be to make integration work,” according to the 42-year-old head of the populist opposition party, which has long called for stricter immigration rules.
Jensen said the Progress Party wanted Norway to hand out fewer residence permits to immigrants. She also called for the country to tighten immigration policy loopholes.
For instance, she suggested that an immigrant marrying somebody from the same country of origin in Norway should not automatically be granted residency.
“We must admit that there are major differences in the types of integration challenges posed by different immigrants.
“Norway still has a major need for workers, and labour-market immigration from Eastern Europe presents completely different integration challenges than immigration from Eastern Africa,” said Jensen.