Norway has experience of labour migration in a longer historical perspective, particularly in connection with the large-scale emigration to North America until the First World War. This article argues that in recent years labour migration to Norway has increased significantly and has become the most important reason for immigration. The process is beneficial since migrant workers help meeting demand for labour, and thereby also contribute to economic growth, to unblocking bottlenecks in the labour market and to curbing price and costs increases. At the same time, the Norwegian Government and trade unions focus on preventing labour migration from resulting in a dualisation of the labour market, with the creation of a separate segment for foreign labour with terms and standards that are significantly inferior to those applicable to other workers. This applies especially to the so-called posted workers who are in Norway on short-term contracts. Since May 2004 Norway has received a large number of labour migrants from the new European Union countries, mostly from Poland. In 2007, about nine out of every ten permits to labour migrants were granted to persons from the European Economic Area (EEA), while Nordic citizens do not require any permits. In turn, the main emphasis in the regulation of labour migration from third countries is on facilitating the recruitment of skilled labour. The main aim of the proposals presented in April 2008 to the Storting by the Government in the White Paper on labour migration is to contribute to a migration policy that is flexible, more transparent and predictable for all involved parties.
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