Foreigners not to blame for biggest Norway benefits export / News / The Foreigner

Foreigners not to blame for biggest Norway benefits export. The Liberals’ (V) Sveinung Rotevatn MP censures his political peers for discrimination and using foreigners as political pawns instead of relating to the facts. “Benefits exports are the perfect political target. One can be tough on immigrants, the EEA Agreement and benefits in one go,” he said to Dagens Næringsliv, Monday. “The problem is that we’re talking about a cost equivalent to a one decimal place error in the state budget. I think that the [benefits] debate is characterised by ignorance, not to mention prejudice against migrant workers.” At the same time, 90 per cent of 2013’s welfare payments (NOK 6.8 billion – or some USD 1.1 billion/EUR 811.3 million/GBP 670.1 million) go to Norwegian pensioners living abroad, an overview the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has sent to the paper.

worknorway, immigrationnorway, foreignersnorwaymi



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Foreigners not to blame for biggest Norway benefits export

Published on Monday, 20th January, 2014 at 19:07 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

The Liberals’ (V) Sveinung Rotevatn MP censures his political peers for discrimination and using foreigners as political pawns instead of relating to the facts.

Sveinung Rotevatn MP
Pictured here with Liberal Party (V) leader Trine Skei Grande to the right.Sveinung Rotevatn MP
Photo: Liberal Party/Flickr


“Benefits exports are the perfect political target. One can be tough on immigrants, the EEA Agreement and benefits in one go,” he said to Dagens Næringsliv, Monday. “The problem is that we’re talking about a cost equivalent to a one decimal place error in the state budget. I think that the [benefits] debate is characterised by ignorance, not to mention prejudice against migrant workers.”

At the same time, 90 per cent of 2013’s welfare payments (NOK 6.8 billion – or some USD 1.1 billion/EUR 811.3 million/GBP 670.1 million) go to Norwegian pensioners living abroad, an overview the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has sent to the paper.

Total welfare export for that year was NOK 7.5 billion (some USD 1.2 billion – or about EUR 895/739 million). All rates at today’s ROE.

"Ignorance"

“Politicians such as Erna Solberg (Conservative Party PM), Siv Jensen (Progress Party leader), and Jens Stoltenberg (Labour Party leader) have been concerned that the welfare system’s being exploited, but have blown matter out of all proportions. The problem of foreigners exploiting the system is completely marginal when we compare [the sums] with figures for ordinary [Norwegian] pensioners who live abroad,” declared Liberal MP Mr Rotevatn.

Why would you classify the welfare debate as being characterised by ignorance?

“A lot of high-profile politicians have been attacking the welfare issue over the past six months, both in parliament and the media,” he told The Foreigner.

“These are experienced politicians. Take Jens Stoltenberg, for example. He’s both a previous Prime Minister and an economist. He knows how little welfare goes to non-Norwegian nationals. His types of views can also be quite dangerous as they cause hostility to foreigners, and long-term welfare system changes that will make it quite difficult to be a labour migrant in Norway.”

What particular prejudice do you think is promoted against labour migrants?

“That they’re people who simply come to Norway to exploit its generous welfare system. They don’t take advantage of it any more than ethnic Norwegians do, even less so. They also pay their taxes,” said Mr Rotevatn.

Populist poppycock

Seeking a more rational debate about welfare, he added that “there’s always some populist Right-Wing Party in the world displaying labour migrants as exploiters of welfare.”

Progress, the Conservatives, and Labour have stated they want to tighten benefits rules for foreigners to prevent welfare being exported abroad. EFTA have challenged Norway on this.

Meanwhile, the Liberals have proposed relaxing legislation for labour migrants coming to Norway to make it easier for businesses to employ them.

“Norway has come quite a long way regarding employing EU/EEA nationals, but not for those from countries outside these. The problem with this is it could undermine the asylum system here,” said Mr Rotevatn. “This is because many people might apply for asylum because they know it’s difficult to be a labour migrant in Norway at present.

“We could even work with present government coalition member Progress on this, as they’ve been positive to labour migrants in the past,” he concluded.



Published on Monday, 20th January, 2014 at 19:07 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: worknorway, immigrationnorway, foreignersnorwaymi.





  
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