Controversial changes to Norway immigration rules

Controversial changes to Norway immigration rules

Controversial changes to Norway immigration rules

Whilst Norway isn’t amongst the most popular countries for general expat attention, recent controversial immigration law changes may make it more difficult for skilled migrant workers to enter.

Norway’s four centre-right political parties took a week’s worth of arguments and disagreement to come to a consensus on immigration law changes. Differences of opinion, fudged announcements and legal issues concerning drugs offences and a senior politician clouded the issues under discussion.

Once the Conservatives, Progressives, Liberals and Christian Democrats had finally come to an agreement, the position of immigration as a source of cultural exchanges, diversity and fresh ideas was presented as a preamble to the changes. Added to the relatively sensible intro were riders that immigration puts Norwegian society under trial and hits hard on the welfare state, thus requiring tougher regulation.

Although the country has reiterated that it will support refugees and asylum seekers as agreed in its international commitment statement, the two categories received little overall mention. What was said included a statement that the asylum system must guard against misuse and that the granting of asylum will depend on thorough scrutiny and individual circumstances.

Whilst previously stating that immigration needs to be regulated, the full report said that labour market immigration should be encouraged from non-EU countries as well as from EU member states. Businesses, it adds, should be able to recruit highly-qualified migrant labour from wherever they choose.

The Scandinavian touch to the report came out with a statement that all residents, whatever their ethnic origins, should enjoy equal rights, respect and a proactive access to employment. Unsurprisingly, the deportation of children was addressed, with conditions set out, although one former Progressive Party leader had stated that migrant children with no Norwegian should be banned from watching their home country’s kids’ TV programmes.

The Progressive Party is also suggesting sub-standard prisons be set up for foreign offenders. One such, situated on the northern region of the country, is already being used for foreigners with no rights to residency.

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