Report Says Norway Being Left By Many Migrant Workers From Eastern Europe

According to a report in the newspaper Aftenposten, a record low unemployment and improved recruitment and job scenario in their home countries are forcing a large number of eastern European workers to leave Norway and go back to their home countries.

“We saw a peak in labor immigration in 2012, but we now see that there are fewer, especially Poles and Lithuanians, moving to Norway,” said Adrian Haugen Ordemann from Statistics Norway, the country’s statistics bureau.

There was a decrease of 16,000 in the annual net immigration of workers of Swedish, Lithuanian and Polish nationalities immigrating to Norway during the recent years. Last year, these three countries accounted for the largest number of immigrant groups to Norway.

On the other hand, noting the lowest rate of unemployment since 1991, Poland clocked a fall in unemployment of 4.1 percent in the last four years according to the figures available from Eurostat.

At the same time, Lithuania has seen the rate of unemployment drip by 3.9 percent in a period of the last four years. Conversely, there has been an increase of 1.2 percent in the rate of unemployment during the same period.

The labor market in Norway has further been dented and made less attractive due to the continuous weakening of the exchange rate of the Norwegian krone which has compounded to the problem of the rising unemployment in the country.

The situation “has become relatively less favorable” for those foreign workers who migrated to Norway who desire to make money the country and then go back home or send the money home, according to Ordemann.

The rising trend in the Eastern European labor market was confirmed by Anders Svendsen, chief analyst in financial services group Nordea and expert in Eastern European economy.

“There is low unemployment and a large shortage of labor force in key industries in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland,” he said.

However, there is no apparent major consequences for Norway due to the migration back to the Eastern Europe, believes Svendsen.

“The Poles have kept the professions with the lowest wages in Norway. If there would be a large shortage of labor there, wages will probably be adjusted to make those jobs attractive,” he was quoted as saying.

Svendsen said that the Eastern European countries have been unable to attract back one group of migrant workers to Norway.

“A problem Eastern Europe is struggling with is that the young people who move and get education do not move back home. We are talking about a so-called ‘brain drain’ effect,” he explained.

“Young Eastern Europeans see an opportunity to travel to more modern countries to study. It is almost the same as when North Norwegian youths do not come back home after moving to Oslo to study,” Svendsen said.

(Adapted from


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