For members


Why do people move to Norway, and where do they come from?

Recent figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) have revealed how many people moved to Norway in the past year, where they come from and why they came to the Nordic country. 

Pictured is Oslo Opera House.
Here is how many people move to Norway and why they chose to come here. Pictured is Oslo Opera House.Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Some 95,000 foreign nationals either moved to Norway for work, education to be with family, registered under the freedom of movement rules for EEA citizens or applied for asylum in Norway after fleeing their country of origin. 

Asylum applications made up the largest single group of applicants to Norway. Just over 40,000 people applied for refugee status in Norway. However, not all of these cases will have been granted or received a decision in 2022. 

The overwhelming majority of applications in 2022 were from Ukrainians requesting temporary collective protection. This form of asylum is granted to a large group of nationals, in this case, due to the war in Ukraine. It allows them to apply for asylum should they arrive in Norway with valid identification. 

Despite applicants from Ukraine making up the majority of those requesting asylum in Norway, the number of applications from nationals from other countries also increased, according to figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). 

Similar numbers of nationals from the EEA and the rest of the world moved to Norway under the regular immigration rules. As a result, more than 27,000 nationals from both inside and outside the EEA either registered as moving to Norway or were granted a residence permit in Norway. 

Out of the EEA nationals, Poles, Germans, Lithuanians, Spain and Romanians made up the largest groups of nationals to register a move to Norway under the freedom of movement rules. 

Work was the most common reason those from the EEA registered as moving to Norway, with some 16,970 coming to Norway for career-related reasons. After that moving for education was the most common reason for EEA nationals coming to Norway. Just over 5,187 foreign citizens moved for their studies, while 4,777 came to Norway to be with a family member or partner. 

Germans were the largest group of EEA nationals to register as moving to be with a family member or partner, while Poles were the largest group to report a move to Norway for educational purposes. 

Sticking with education, students from the Philippines, China and the USA were the largest group of nationals to be granted education permits for non-EEA nationals. Nearly twice as many Filipinos were granted study permits than those from the US or China. Nationals from Pakistan and Iran were the next largest groups to be given residence cards for education.

There were around 5,600 education permits granted to third-country nationals in 2022 at an approval rate of 92 percent.

Over 11,486 applicants were granted a first-time permit for family immigration, meaning they are either coming to Norway to reunite with a partner, spouse, or close family member. Those from India, Syria, the Philippines, Pakistan and the USA were the biggest groups to be given a family immigration permit. 

Around 85 percent of those who applied for a family immigration permit in 2022 were granted one. Nationals from Argentina, India, Serbia, Indonesia, South Africa and Kazakhstan had the highest approval rates, while only 46 percent of applicants from Afghanistan were granted a residence card. 

When it comes to work permits for third-party nationals, some 10,698 were granted permits. However, it wasn’t clear how many were renewals for existing permits and how many were granted to first-time applicants moving to Norway for the first time. Nevertheless, skilled worker permits comprised most of the work permits granted in 2022. 

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For members


What sectors do immigrants in Norway work in?

Well-known for its high wages and strict labour laws that prioritise work-life balance, Norway is a magnet for thousands of job seekers each year. But what professions do immigrants in Norway work in?

What sectors do immigrants in Norway work in?

Norway has an excellent reputation for offering some of the best-paid jobs in Europe, on top of a generous welfare state, strict labour laws, and vigorous trade unions. Around 50,000 foreigners typically decide to move to Norway each year, many in search of better job prospects. 

The fact that the country is home to many successful companies in industries such as oil and gas, maritime, seafood, and technology also attracts skilled workers looking for job opportunities.

According to the most recent figures published by Statistics Norway, the national statistics bureau, 68.9 percent of the country’s 497,977 immigrants aged 20-66 years were employed in 2022.

In this article, we will look at the professions that these immigrants end up working in, as well as how they compare to the figures for the non-immigrant population.

Top professions among immigrants in Norway

The statistics for 2022 show that most immigrants in Norway worked as service and sales workers (23.6 percent). In the non-immigrant population, the share amounted to 18.1 percent.

Professionals were in second place, with a share of 18.4 percent (compared to 28.9 percent among non-immigrants), followed by immigrants working in elementary occupations (12.1 percent vs 2.6 percent in the non-immigrant population aged 20-66) and craft and related trade workers (11.9 percent vs 7.1 percent among non-migrants).

Technicians and associate professionals and workers in the armed forces ended up in fifth place (9.4 percent), while the share of workers in this occupation among non-immigrants ended up at 16.3 percent in 2022.

Plant and machine operators and assemblers were in a close sixth place with a share of 8.5 percent (compared to 5.4 percent in the non-immigrant population), followed by clerical support workers (5.8 percent vs 6.2 percent among non-immigrants) and skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers (0.8 percent compared to 0.6 percent in the non-immigrant segment).

Most represented immigrants in the Norwegian workforce

In absolute figures, according to country of birth, there were most immigrants from Poland (74,042), Lithuania (29,958), Sweden (25,328), Germany (16,692), the Philippines (16,835), Thailand (14,951) and Eritrea (14,480) in the Norwegian workforce in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Other notable groups include immigrants from Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Russia, Romania, the UK, Latvia, Denmark and Bosnia and Herzegovina.