Reasons for Immigration: Different Patterns in the Nordic Countries and the Netherlands

Han Nicolaas, Statistics Netherlands
Minja Tea Dzamarija, Statistics Norway

Although Norway and the Netherlands have seen high immigration numbers over the last years, the reasons for immigration to both countries varies. Norway has a high share of labour migrants whereas the Netherlands (at least up till 2015) had a higher share of family migrants. Some 40 percent of the non-Nordic immigrants who came to Norway the last decade were labour migrants compared to 20 percent of the non-EU/EFTA immigrants coming to the Netherlands. In the same period 15 percent of the Norwegian immigrants were refugees, almost the same rate applies for the Netherlands.

The high quality large datasets on an individual level available at Statistics Norway and at Statistics Netherlands allow us to enrich the demographic information with all kinds of socioeconomic information like labour market participation, education and income. In this way we can follow immigrants over time and analyse the process of their (economic) integration in Norwegian and Dutch societies from the moment they enter the country.

Not everyone who immigrates to Norway or the Netherlands stays there for the rest of their life. The reason for immigration has a bearing on whether they leave the country. Of those who immigrated to Norway for education, only 38 per cent still lived there on 1 January 2017. The corresponding percentage for those who immigrated for labour was 70 percent.
Previous research for the Netherlands showed that 2 out of every 3 labour migrants who came to the Netherlands in the late 1990s had left the country after five years. We will analyse if this pattern still exists these days.

A further comparison will be made with data from the Danish and Swedish population registers in order to find out whether immigration patterns in these two countries resemble the Norwegian situation more than the Dutch one or vice versa.


Presented in Session 1233: International Migration and Migrant Populations