The main body of data in WELLMIG is qualitative. However, the study design calls for supplementing these data with quantitative descriptions that can give us an overview of the migration and integration of nurses from Sweden, Poland, and the Philippines.
In order to provide quantitative indicators of integration, we need registry data, that is data that is collected and stored by Statistics Norway. About a year ago, we sent the application for access to unpublished data and tables to Statistics Norway. Data are of course no Godot, but with the patience of Vladimir and Estragon, we are still waiting for statistics …
Meanwhile, to quench our thirst for knowledge, we are using publicly accessible data to provide an overview of migration flows for the last couple of decades. In 2015, according to the most recent data, roughly 37,000 immigrants and non-resident health personnel were working in the health and social services (ssb.no) in Norway.
Nurses were the largest group, with about 11,000 persons in total. Of these, about 19 percent were Swedish (2067 nurses), 8 percent were Filipino (885 nurses), and 5 percent were Polish (564 nurses). Although the Polish stock of nurses was the smallest, it has been the fastest growing stock the last decade. Since 2008, the stock of Polish nurses in Norway has increased by 96 percent, Filipino by 61 percent, and Swedish by 56 percent. “Stock” refers to the total number of nurses from these three countries who are registered as working in Norway.
Another way of counting is “yearly influx” or the annual number of nurses from these countries who have been granted authorization to work as nurses in Norway. In the period from 2006 to 2015, the yearly influx of nurses from Poland increased by 230 percent. In comparison, the number of Filipino nurses has increased by 23 percent, while the number of Swedish nurses has decreased by 64 percent in the same period.
The next phase of our quantitative analysis will focus on the differences in integration between the Swedish, Polish, and Filipino nurses. Integration can be defined and measured in many different ways. In WELLMIG, since we are talking about labour migrants, we have decided to measure integration by labour force participation (e.g., full-time or part-time work), wages, homeownership, and reliance on public benefits.
So far, we have little statistical information about their living and working conditions in Norway. However, by merging the information from different official records that we are waiting for Statistics Norway to provide, we will be able to describe variations in working and housing conditions as well as in the receipt of social benefits. From there, we will map the situation in 2015 and identify different trajectories in integration between the three national groups. We will then compare this with the situation in 2006.
Nurses within different regimes of immigration show distinct patterns of migration. Do they also show different patterns of integration? Hopefully, we can answer these questions soon. Stay tuned and wait for Statistics Norway.
By Hans Christian Sandlie, NOVA, OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University