A new official report of the Norwegian government concluded that high immigration of people with few possibilities for self-sufficiency would pose intensified pressure on the welfare state, public broadcaster NRK reported Wednesday.
Norway has so far not succeeded in incorporating refugees in the labor market due to the lack of work skills, the report said.
“If Norway does not get much better at getting immigrants to work, we may have to raise taxes or reduce welfare and none of the options are good,” Norway’s Immigration Minister Sylvi Listhaug was quoted as saying.
Grete Brochmann, head of the government’s welfare and migration committee, said the Norwegian welfare model is both an asset and a problem in terms of integration of immigrants and their descendants.
“Immigration can challenge the historically developed legitimacy of the welfare state,” Brochmann said at a press conference.
“Refugees do not get residence permits in order to help the Norwegian economy. That is the difference between work immigration and asylum. However, there is a goal that they should participate in the labor market,” she said.
“If the Norwegian society does not succeed with integration, there is a risk of growing economic inequality,” Brochmann said.
The report is the second one about welfare and immigration by the committee headed by Brochmann. The first report came in 2011 and laid the foundation for much of the debate on sustainable immigration policy in Norway in recent years, NRK reported. Enditem