‘Necessary tightening of Norway’s asylum rules’

‘The Government has presented a series of proposals to tighten Norway’s asylum rules, which we consider to be essential for ensuring a more sustainable asylum policy and for strengthening the border control. A strict but fair asylum policy is important if we are to succeed in integrating persons who are eligible for a residence permit and will be allowed to stay in Norway,’ said Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

‘Given today’s international situation, we must expect to see continued flows of refugees and migrants for many years to come. We need to pursue an asylum policy that is sustainable, that preserves the Norwegian welfare model, and that enables us to succeed in our integration efforts,’ said Minister of Immigration and Integration Sylvi Listhaug.

In December, a broad majority in the Parliament endorsed 18 points aimed at tightening Norway’s asylum rules. The Government’s proposals build on the agreement reached in the Parliament.

‘The situation is highly unpredictable, and new migration routes may emerge quickly. Migratory pressure on Europe is already very high. It is vital that we take steps now to adapt Norwegian legislation, to enable Norway to respond to this situation,’ said Ms Listhaug.

In order to follow up the points agreed by the Parliament, the Government proposes:

  • To introduce stricter rules on family immigration, including a subsistence requirement for sponsors who are refugees or who have been granted subsidiary protection and a requirement that the sponsor has worked or studied for three years in Norway before family reunification can be granted. The three-year-requirement will apply to sponsors who are refugees or who have been granted subsidiary protection status, and also to sponsors who have been granted a residence permit on humanitarian grounds, and sponsors who have themselves come to Norway as family immigrants. The two requirements are necessary due to the unpredictable refugee situation in Europe, and are proposed as temporary measures which will last until 31 December 2019.   
  • To make it possible to refuse applications for family immigration with refugees and people who have been granted subsidiary protection in Norway, if the family in question would be able to live safely in a third country were the family’s over-all connection is stronger than its connection to Norway.
  • To introduce integration criteria and requirements for a permanent residence permit, including a condition that the applicant has to support oneself in the twelve-month period prior to a permanent residence permit being granted.The applicant must also have a minimum level of spoken Norwegian and pass a test in social studies. 
  • To reduce the deadline for lodging an appeal from three to one week following the rejection of an asylum application that clearly does not meet the conditions for being granted protection.  
  • To introduce rules allowing for the increased use and storage of personal biometric data, to improve identity checks.
  • To rapidly return people whose applications for asylum are clearly unfounded by withdrawing their right to visa-free travel. This would give the authorities the powers to refuse people entry in cases where it is clear that the conditions for refusing to carry out an in-depth consideration of the individual application are met. The Government also proposes making it possible to expel foreign nationals when in-depth individual consideration of their application has previously been refused at least twice. 
  • The Government has instructed the Immigration authorities to revoke permits for persons with temporary residence in Norway if peace and stability is achieved in the country of origin.

Furthermore, on the basis of the asylum agreement between the Conservative Party, the Progress Party, the Christian Democratic Party and the Liberal Party, the Government proposes: 

  • To introduce a requirement were only those over the age of 24 are authorised to establish a family, were the aim is to countering forced marriage;  
  • To extend the period of residence in Norway required to be eligible for a permanent residence permit from three to five years; and
  • To increase the use of arrest and detention in asylum cases under the 48-hour procedure.