Consultation on extending the Interim Act relating to Entry Restrictions

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The Ministry of Justice and Public Security proposes extending the Interim Act relating to Entry Restrictions for Foreign Nationals out of Concern for Public Health. The proposal has now been sent out for consultation.

In principle the Entry Restrictions Act will remain in force until 1 December 2021. The Ministry proposes extending the Act until 1 July 2022. Extension of the Act in itself does not mean that the actual restrictions will be extended. Restrictions have been lifted gradually in recent months, and the intention is that we will continue to ease restrictions until they have been fully lifted. The entry restrictions must be proportionate and no stricter than required at any time. Nonetheless, extending the Act is necessary in order to be able to have entry restrictions after 1 December 2021.

The purpose of the entry restrictions is to limit the right of entry of foreign nationals who would otherwise enter Norway, when this is necessary to protect public health in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. Entry restrictions are and have been a critical instrument in preventing imported cases of COVID-19. Even though vaccination of the population has come far, COVID-19 remains a threat to public health. There is great uncertainty regarding how the pandemic situation will continue to evolve in Norway and elsewhere in the world. This is particularly linked to the low vaccination rate in many countries and the risk of new, more dangerous virus variants.

The Ministry has also considered, but does not propose, extending the interim rules in the Immigration Act regarding case handling by the Immigration Appeals Board during the COVID-19 pandemic. The rules include use of remote meetings, and are intended to prevent the postponement of Board meetings as a result of the pandemic. The Ministry has concluded that it is not necessary to propose an extension of these rules, which will expire on 1 December 2021.