lørdag 24. april 2010

Immigration is for keeps

In the previous post I mentioned that when Norwegians think of immigrants, they usually do not think of people like me. And, as it happens, I would wager that the vast majority of persons with backgrounds similar to mine (foreign-born spouses of Norwegians) do not think of themselves as immigrants either. This is certainly true when the spouse in question is from another Nordic country and probably also true when he or she comes from another European country, or the US (like me), Canada or Australia. While Norway's membership in the European Economic Area allows people from the entire EU to come to Norway to seek work and reside here permanently with their spouses and children, only marriage with a Norwegian citizen can put them on the path to naturalization. As for the immigrants from "non-Western" countries, it is safe to say that, unless they have come as refugees and would risk their lives by returning, those in the first generation usually assume that their sojourn in Norway will be temporary too. The idea is to save lots of money and return to Pakistan or wherever else they come from when they retire (this was likely the main motivation behind the cases of tax fraud among immigrant taxi drivers - see Svindel uten grenser: En reise i svart drosjeøkonomi, by Einar Haakaas and Kjetil Sæter). But it never seems to work out that way. For better or worse, Norway is home. Immigration is truly for keeps.

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