The Norwegian Government proposes several changes to rules to address the refugee situation

Today the Norwegian Government is sending proposals for several changes to rules out for consultation. This is part of the work to prepare to receive tens of thousands of refugees in Norway. The Norwegian Government wants to ensure that the rules are flexible enough for the municipalities to handle a large number of refugees over a short period of time.

‘Millions of people have been displaced, and the situation will remain unpredictable as long as the Russian invasion continues. The municipalities have initially been asked to settle up to 35 000 people in 2022, and we must enable the municipalities to receive everyone properly,’ says Minister of Justice and Public Security Emilie Enger Mehl.

Ukrainian asylum seekers who receive temporary collective protection will be able to begin working more quickly and participate in society. Compared with the refugees who have arrived in recent years, a larger proportion of the Ukrainian refugees are women, children, and elderly people. This will put pressure on kindergartens, schools, and the health services in the host municipalities that are receiving the refugees, as well as the municipalities that will be settling them.

‘We must welcome all of the people who come here with warmth and generosity, and ensure that their lives in Norway are safe and good. The proposals we are sending out for consultation today are for temporary changes, and will allow the municipalities to receive many people within a short period of time, while offering a good standard of services,’ states Ms Mehl.

‘Each ministry has examined its rules. We propose some changes to the rules which will apply to Ukrainian people who have been displaced and come here, but there will also be changes which apply to all inhabitants of Norway. Everyone who lives in Norway, both those who have lived here for a long time and those who have recently fled here, will need some of the same services, such as health services. This may put pressure on capacity, and we must consider whether the rules are flexible enough to cover the current situation,’ says Ms Mehl. 

The Norwegian Government has reviewed the relevant rules and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security is sending several proposals within different sectors out for consultation, including in relation to health legislation and rules regarding settlement, integration, and training. The proposals have been drafted by each ministry, but are presented together to give a clear picture, without affecting the distribution of responsibilities among ministries. The consultation deadline is 12 April 2022, which is shorter than usual.

‘It is important that any person who has input takes advantage of the consultation, to ensure that their input is taken into consideration in the work ahead. We are in the midst of an extraordinary situation which requires that we act quickly. This is why the Norwegian Government is sending this out for consultation now,’ explains Ms Mehl.

The Norwegian Government proposes that all of the changes are of a temporary nature and be repealed by 1 July 2023. Should the need arise to keep some of these proposals after this date, the change will be re-examined and sent out for consultation.

 

Press invitation: Digital meeting with the municipalities and County Governors

On Friday 8 April at 08:30, Minister of Labour and Social Inclusion Marte Mjøs Persen, Minister of Education Tonje Brenna, Minister of Research and Higher Education Ola Borten Moe, and Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol will participate in a digital meeting with the municipalities and County Governors. This meeting will cover the proposals for legislative amendments that have now been sent out for consultation, and the ministers will answer questions.

Follow the meeting with municipalities and County Governors  

If you have any questions about the meeting, please contact the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion's Head of Communications, Nina Kraugerud Ertzaas, tel. +47 48 00 10 61, email: nke@aid.dep.no.