Social Integration Challenges of Nepalese Immigrants in Norway

5. 12. 2020

Though the Nepalese have a comparatively small community in Norway and are one the latecomer immigrants, the Non-Residential Nepalese Association (NRNA) asserts that “Nepalese arrival to Norway dates back to more than 40 years ago.” The study explored integration as fundamental, artistic, cooperative, and recognition to get thicker prospects. The observed information was accumulated from the life history of modern Nepalese immigrants’ opinions while assimilating into Norwegian society. The movement of the migration system involves the immigration and emigration of the people. Migration comprises a variety of passages of people, such as for employment, family reconsolidations, for study, or it can be due to dispute or natural catastrophe in the home country (forced migration) (Acharya et al., 2013).

Norway, a country that has grown for seven consecutive years and still increasing the tourist to experience the breath-taking “Fjords and the Northern Lights” and get to know the local way of life and culture.” Rich in both ethos and Nature, life in Norway is has become more arduous, with increasing outlooks of professional and personal accessibility. Hence, this informative article attempts to provide a glimpse of challenges in societal assimilation based on the random selection of 25 Nepalese immigrants living in Norway.

A government analysis in 2012 indicated that 55 percent of Norwegians are optimistic about migration, while 45percent are, to some extent, discouraging to conceding more migrants to the country. Many qualitative surveys have found that Nepalese immigrants face more challenges in their path to integration aspects. The lack of language skills, academic demand of the Norwegian market, shrouded prejudice at the workplace, and weak collective interface with the host populace are major impediments to their assimilation.

Perhaps, “the path to integration is to enhance the linguistic skills, acquired the scholastic skills according to the mandates in the Norwegian market.” However, there are many parameters at play to understand the cultural differences that exist between Nepalese and Norwegian society. Despite other societal factors, Norway is one of the challenging countries to integrate Nepalese immigrants regardless of their refugee, students, and other immigration status.

It is undeniable that for many reasons Norway is known for its safe state based on the policies of neutrality. It is also known for being one of the most liberal nations toward settlers. The government focused on equal rights, provide an opportunity for the entire proportions, values diversity, and tolerates promoting a multi-ethnic inclusive society.

Traditionally, Nepali society was influenced by “culture and religion” (Sharma, 1983), and the socio-cultural discrepancies between Nepal and Norway are so enormous that they seem utterly different spheres of living. Noticeably, the disparities are unique experiences in linguistics, a way of life, the education system, and by-laws. 

IntegrateFrom the gender viewpoint, Norway has far superior facts in gender egalitarianism, while patriarchy still dictates Nepalese civilization. Women in Nepal are one of the most deprived groups, and are the most sufferers of poverty, power disparities, and gender-based hostility. They face limitations to the admittance of resources in most realms of life and are subject to social exclusion (Moghadan, 2007). However, modern society is increasingly transmuting “from its masculine, caste-based to a more capitalistic, plural, open, and change-oriented society” (Parajuli et al., 2015).

Even though, assimilation is two ways of progression where not only the migrants are concerned but also the immigrant-accepting civilization. Many in Norway’s immigrant dense areas agree that there is an intricate set of elements involved, with the cultural disparity being just one aspect.

Although integration refers to the process of settlements, to acquire such status of equal membership in the Norwegian society, one must shelter a place for themselves in many literal tasks such as; must find a house, getting a job and income, finding schools for their kids and have access to health facilities. Further, one must find a position in a societal and edifying sphere; they have to build networks and co-operate with other groups and folks in the culture, identify and use establishments of the host society, develop, appreciate, and acknowledged their cultural specificity.

Arguably, employment is one of the methods to support effective integration for fostering, future planning, interface, and building self-esteem; however, the Nepalese migrants cannot partake in society’s core foundations without having educational and societal aptitudes on how those institutes function. Thus, lacking these core elements, it impedes rights, adopts positions, and has status in the new society they are migrating to.

Debatably, language is a substantial ‘artistic competence’ essential to integrating into a new civilization. Language portrays a certain character in social interaction. According to Ager & Strang, (2008), One must agree that it is a key challenge for ‘two-way’ interaction and ethnic appreciation for the host and the migrant populations. Similarly, “language and social familiarity” (Clegg, 1989) are also correlated with influence. Thus, due to the “lack of dominant language proficiency, obstruction is inevitable” (Dustmann et al., 2002) to Nepalese migrants from contributing to the power composition of the host civilization. 

The random selection of 25 Nepalese migrants agrees with the fact that those having inadequate local language capability frequently find themselves isolated from information grids and decision-making activities. A refugee status university graduate Mr. Bhuwan (name changed) stated, “it is of utmost crucial to grasp the characteristics of social ties, affairs, and associations in the society and how they operate to gauge assimilation at the interactive aspect.”

From the focal point of view, the respondent’s integration was explored within four facets of social assimilation fundamental, ethnic, cooperative, and recognition. These dimensions were examined with the help of the following values: Employment, Norwegian language skill, Social correlation, and Perception of belongingness. It is assumed that Nepalese immigrants restricted their community and social networks, and on the other hand, their social interaction with Norwegians is very stiff and minor. 

Most Nepalese migrants in Norway are pupils, and few are coming for work and family reintegration. Norway has been a desirable place for Nepalese pupils for higher education and adept employment. They have founded various associations of their group in major municipalities in Norway, which has kept them attached. Above and Beyond, Nepalese people living in Norway are usually first-generation migrants with deep-entrenched socio-ethnic ties with Nepal. However, it is not difficult to see that the future second cohort of Nepalese Migrants has its distinctive dual distinctiveness from Nepal and Norway.

The Norwegian integration policy’s paths and forms have shifted over time as they are targeting multiracial Norway. In Recent Times, the basic institutions of the Norwegian assimilation policy are egalitarianism, cohesion, autonomy, and attachment of settled migrants to the Norwegian civilization. In terms of expatriation, the worldwide migration of Nepalese souls has enhanced precipitously in the last two eras (Paudel, 2018).

Hence, the article implies the manner of settlements, interfaces with the host civilization, and social adjustment that pursues immigration (Pennix et al., 2016). Arguably, Nepal is one of the essential sources of migrant workers for countries suffering from a labor shortage. However, the flow of immigrants impacts the demographic size of the host civilization along with the sociocultural structure, and to pact with the migrants' societal, artistic, and civic requirements new functional arrangements are introduced (David et al., 2017).

Notwithstanding other common factors, Norway is one of the faces countries to assimilate Nepalese immigrants regardless of their status. Some of the migrant's backgrounds demonstrated a greater sense of belonging; nonetheless, due to the inadequate input in the core institutions of the social feeling of belonging limits continuous social integration.

AUTHOR: Mantu Khatri, a student at LIGS University, supervised by the lecturer Marian Stadler.


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