Norway: Increase in share of immigrants receiving cash benefits

Norway: Increase in share of immigrants receiving cash benefits

Via VG (Norwegian)

The ratio of immigrants among the recipients of cash benefits, given to parents whose infant children do not go to kindergarten, increased significantly in recent years. In March they made up a third of the total recipients, according to data provided to TV 2 by NAV (Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service).

Altogether there were 35,629 recipients: 23,136 were Norwegian and 12,493 were either born in another country or had foreign citizenship. NAV says that 2,045 of the recipients in March were Polish, followed by Somalians (1,204), Iraq (840) and Pakistan (802).

While the ratio of children who received support fell from 74% to 27%, 74% of children with Pakistani parents received such support in the fall of 2009.

Child Ombudsman Reidar Hjermann is concerned that cash benefits are becoming so common for immigrants and warns against increasing it.

"It's a problem if parents with immigrant background avoid kindergartens more than other parents because of cash benefits. Children who don't speak Norwegian at home, need to be in kindergarten more than other children, as it's an engine for integration and a place where you learn Norwegian quickly," says Hjermann.