‘Mainly positive’ Norwegian experiences with immigrants linked to softening views

Norwegians have become more and more accepting of foreigners over the last two decades, a new study has revealed.

Pictured is somebody atop a mountain in Senja
Norwegians are becoming increasingly positive towards immigration, a new survey has revealed. Pictured is somebody atop a mountain in Senja.

Norwegians have increasingly positive views of foreigners and are becoming more open to the benefits of immigration, analysis from Statistics Norway has found.

The analysis follows the stats agency’s annual survey on attitudes towards immigration in which the number of participants who view immigration favourably again grew.

Since 2002, the public’s outlook on immigration has consistently become more positive, except for in 2015, which saw an influx of asylum seekers into the country following a refugee crisis.

“At the same time, as more positive attitudes are expressed, we see that there has been more contact with immigrants. Most people who have contact with immigrants state that they mainly have positive experiences with them,” Frøydis Strøm, senior advisor at Statistics Norway, said in the report.

As part of this year’s survey, the public was asked whether the pandemic and travel restrictions had made them more sceptical of labour immigration. A large majority, 59 percent, said the pandemic hadn’t changed their views on foreign labour. However, 29 percent did say Covid made them view labour immigration with a more critical eye.

Additionally, 80 percent of respondents said that immigrants made a valuable contribution to working life, and seven out of ten said that immigration from outside the Nordics contributed positively to the economy.

For the first time, the proportion of those who thought it should be easier for refugees to settle was higher than those who thought the rules should be tighter. However, a majority was still in favour of keeping immigration and integration rules as they are.

The public was more split on whether immigrants should try to become “more Norwegian”. Just under half said they disagreed with the idea that foreigners should be more like the locals, while 32 percent agreed.

In its analysis of the long-term trends and changes in attitudes towards immigrants, Statistics Norway noted that women were more likely to have more favourable views on immigration than men. Young people and those living in built-up areas were also more receptive to foreign residents than older people and those living in rural communities.

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Girl stabbed to death at Norway refugee centre

A 17-year-old girl was stabbed to death at a refugee reception centre in Western Norway on Thursday night, in one of the worst examples of refugee violence yet seen in the country.

Girl stabbed to death at Norway refugee centre
Police at the refugee centre where a 17-year-old-girl was killed on Thursday. Photo: Ingrid Ellevset/NTB scanpix
An 18-year-old man, also Eritrean, has been arrested and charged  with “causing severe bodily injury leading to death”, police lawyer Knut Meek Corneliussen told the local Adresseavisen newspaper on Friday morning. 
”The detained man has been living at the centre for about a year, while the victim hasn’t been here that long,” Jarl Aspen, from the local police, said on Thursday night. 
“The situation was unclear so we dispatched several police officers to the scene. We now have control and the suspect has been detained. As far as we know, no one else was involved.”
According to a police statement, the woman was found severely wounded shortly before 8.30pm last night.  
When the police arrived shortly afterwards, the 18-year-old tried to escape by jumping out of a window, but hurt his foot when he landed, after which he was arrested without struggle. 
Ambulances arrived at 8.55pm, but medics were unable to save the girl, who was confirmed dead an hour later. 
“This is a tragic event, both for the residents at the reception and for those who work there,” said Ståle Refstie, mayor of Sunndal, the town where the centre is located. “We must work to find out how that could happen.” 
Police have yet to disclose the relationship, if any, between the two.  
An Eritrean asylum seeker in August stabbed a mother and her son to death at a branch of IKEA in the Swedish city of Västerås, selecting them seemingly at random. 
A failed asylum seeker from South Sudan in 2013 stabbed and killed two men and a woman on a bus near Årdal, where he had been staying in an asylum centre.l