News story | Date: 22/03/2021 | Ministry of Justice and Public Security
In order to avoid the border closure having an excessive impact on infrastructure projects, the application-based exemption scheme is to be expanded to include specialist personnel who are required for the construction, operation or maintenance of infrastructure.
‘Many trades need to bring in foreign personnel to keep the wheels turning. Unfortunately, infection rates remain at levels that dictate we must exercise caution in opening up. We are now allowing a limited expansion of the exemption scheme to ensure that key infrastructure can be built and maintained,’ says Iselin Nybø (Liberal Party), Minister of Trade and Industry.
‘Although we require strong measures in order to limit the spread of infection, it is also necessary for industry to retain access to critical personnel. We will seek to safeguard both of these requirements in a safe manner,’ says Monica Mæland (Conservative Party), Minister of Justice and Public Security.
Infrastructure in this context is defined as water and sewage systems, railways, roads, shipping and ports, aviation, airports and aviation facilities, ICT infrastructure such as broadband, telecommunications, etc., energy production and distribution, offshore installations and onshore terminals and processing plants for the petroleum industry.
Applications are assessed by the Norwegian Maritime Authority, which is responsible for administering the exemption scheme. The expansion encompasses the following foreign personnel:
- Persons with specialist expertise involved in carrying out tasks that are strictly necessary in order to maintain activity in organisations that operate, maintain or build infrastructure
- Persons with specialist expertise who perform tasks that are necessary in order to maintain activity in ongoing infrastructure projects
This expansion comes in addition to the existing exemption for strictly necessary technical personnel. All other provisions of the scheme, such as the requirement that the work must be carried out through a physical presence in Norway and that persons with the necessary skills cannot be sourced via the Norwegian labour market, continue to apply.
These changes take effect on Monday 22 March and businesses will be able to submit applications via the Norwegian Maritime Authority.
Strict quarantine rules remain in place
Employees who receive an exemption must still adhere to the strict quarantine provisions and infection prevention rules in place.
Employers must provide details in their application of the quarantine location, and details of the pre-approval of other suitable accommodation (if applicable). In the event of any breach of quarantine regulations or infection prevention rules, the employee may be deported and the employer excluded from the exemption scheme.
Persons quarantining upon arrival must, as a main rule, do so in a quarantine hotel at their first point of entry into Norway during their quarantine period.