Source: ICMC Europe, Welcome to Europe! A comprehensive guide to resettlement, 2013
The Welcome to Europe Norway country chapter is available here for download.
Pledges under the new resettlement programme as of 7 March 2018: N/a
Pledges under the 20 July 2015 resettlement scheme: 3,500. 3,500 persons were resettled as of 7 March 2018.
Number of persons resettled under the EU-Turkey Statement: N/a
Pledges under the national resettlement programme (2016): 3,120
Number of persons resettled in 2016 (rounded): 3,290
Nationality: Syria (2,900), Afghanistan (325), Iran (20), Sudan (10), South Sudan (5), Eritrea (5), Ethiopia (5), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (5), Burundi (5), and Bhutan (5).
For further information, please visit the website of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration.
DISCLAIMER: While every effort is made to ensure that information on this website is accurate and up-to-date, it should be noted that the information in this section is largely based on ICMC Europe’s 2013 Welcome to Europe! A comprehensive Guide to Resettlement.
Start of annual quota: early 1980s
Current quota: 1,620
Main national actors: Ministry of Justice and Emergency Planning, Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi), municipalities, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), Norwegian Refugee Council, Norwegian Organisation for Asylum Seekers, Norwegian PEN.
|Year||Accepted||Arrivals||Nationality⇒Country of asylum of largest groups|
Afghans ⇒ Iran
Somalis ⇒ Kenya
Eritreans ⇒ Eastern Sudan
Eritreans⇒Eastern Sudan (22 arrivals - 199 accepted)
Iraqi and ex-Iraqi Palestinians⇒Syria
Iraqi and ex-Iraqi Palestinians⇒Syria
|UNHCR submission categories considered for resettlement|
X Legal and physical protection needs
X Survivors of violence and torture
X Medical Needs (20 cases (within the Twenty-or-More programme for refugees with medical needs))
X Women and girls at risk (WAR) (priority given to WAR cases, and 60 % of the total quota is reserved for women and girls.)
X Children and adolescents at risk
X Lack of foreseeable alternative solutions (protracted situations, strategic resettlement)
X Other: 80 places per year are allocated for ‘alternative use’ - under which Norway provides costs for resettlement places in countries outside of Europe, such as Argentina.
|UNHCR Priority levels accepted (with sub-quota where applicable)|
X Emergency max. 7 days between submission and resettlement (75 cases)
X Urgent within 6 weeks between submission and resettlement
X Normal within 12 months between submission and resettlement
There is no specific legal basis for refugee resettlement in Norway. The Norway Immigration Act 2008 (No.35) provides general criteria for the recognition of refugees, and effectively serves as the legal basis for resettlement.
Basic criteria: A refugee must be recognised as such according to the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
Each year, the Norwegian Parliament approves the number of refugees that will be resettled and the nationalities and regions from which they will be selected. The Ministry of Justice and Emergency Planning proposes how the quota will be allocated, through consultations with the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The allocation is based on information and suggestions made by the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) after consultation with the Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi). Norway is the only country in Europe where NGOs are encouraged to give advice to the government, through various meetings, when planning the yearly allocation of the quota and the selection process.
UDI is responsible for final resettlement decisions, refugee status determination procedures and issuing entry visas. Norway prioritises submissions from UNHCR, but UDI may also process cases referred by Norwegian embassies, other international organisations, criminal courts with which Norway has witness resettlement agreements and Norwegian NGOs in areas where UNHCR is not present (including PEN and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee).
Norway selects approximately 870 refugees a year via selection missions carried out by UDI and IMDi, and approximately 250 refugees based on dossier submissions from UNHCR. Municipality representatives recently began participating in some selection missions as observers.
The average processing time from decision to arrival for refugees selected via selection missions is 4 1/2 months. UDI aims to make decisions on emergency cases within 48 hours of submission, with departure arranged as soon as possible, and IMDi aims to find a receiving municipality for these cases within 48 hours from UDI's decision. Norway does not distinguish between urgent and normal priority submissions for the purposes of processing time.
For dossier cases, refugee status determination is conducted on arrival in Norway. For refugees selected via selection missions, refugee status determination is completed prior to departure in the country of asylum. All resettled refugees receive a temporary residence permit valid for 3 years, issued prior to departure for selection mission cases and on arrival for dossier cases.
Resettled refugees can apply for a permanent residence permit after three years of legal residency in Norway, and must evidence completion of the Norwegian 'introduction course' (see 'Integration', below). Permanent residents are able to reside outside of Norway for a period of up to two years without jeopardising Norwegian residency rights.
Resettled refugees may apply for citizenship after a total of seven years legal residency in the country. Citizenship applicants must demonstrate proficiency in either Norwegian or the Sami language and - if successful - renounce any former citizenship.
Resettled refugees may apply for close family members - meaning a spouse, cohabiting partners or other family members who have lived together for at least two years and children under 18 years of age - to join them in Norway. Other family members may exceptionally be granted a permit to reside in Norway, and these types of applications are dealt with on a case-by-case basis. If refugees apply for family reunification within one year of arriving into Norway, then the general requirement to demonstrate income sufficient to meet the needs of family members is not applied.
How is information transferred between selection and reception of refugees in order to prepare for their arrival?
How is information transferred for specific needs (medical or other)?
Cultural Orientation (CO): Since 2003, the Norwegian government has contracted IOM to develop and implement the Norwegian Cultural Orientation programme (NORCO). This pre-departure programme provides a four-day CO programme for adults (16 years and older) and a two-day programme for children (8-15 years). The training sessions are learner-centred and emphasise direct participation of refugees in activities including role-plays, case studies, problem-solving, games and debates. Video clips and presentations are used to elaborate specific CO topics, and participants are each provided with reference handbooks.
The NORCO programme is delivered by a bicultural trainer, from the same or similar background of the refugee group, who speaks the language of the cultural orientation participants and who has lived in Norway for some time. The use of a bicultural trainer means an interpreter is not required and communication is thus more direct. The trainer can also represent a role model for refugees, as he or she has learned Norwegian and managed to professionally establish him/herself in Norway.
Medical Exam: IOM
Travel arrangements: IOM
When municipalities agree to host refugees, it becomes their responsibility to receive the refugees on arrival into the Norway. It is mandatory to settle refugees within 6 months after refugees have been accepted on quota basis or granted asylum. Upon arrival, refugees are accompanied to private pre-arranged housing in host communities.
The Directorate for Integration and Diversity (IMDi) is responsible for placing refugees in municipalities. Municipality participation in receiving refugees is voluntary. Each year municipalities receive requests from IMDi to receive refugees, and those that agree to do so provide IMD with information on the number of places it can provide and its capacity to meet specific needs that refugees may have. Six regional IMDi offices currently coordinate placement of refugees in 300 of the 429 Norwegian municipalities.
IMDi often places refugees from the same or similar ethnic or minority groups are in the same municipality or neighbouring municipalities, so as to promote the development of social networks, reduce isolation and assist municipalities to provide better integration experiences for the refugees they receive. Unaccompanied Minors (UAMs) are resettled to a few specific municipalities that have developed expertise in working with this group.
Local authorities receive a government subsidy to meet the cost of refugees’ introduction benefits for a five-year period, amounting to €77,405 per adult and €74,895 per child received. Municipalities also receive integration grants of varying amounts to cover additional expenses incurred in settling and integrating refugees during four years after arrival.
Length: up to 3 years
Municipalities are obliged to offer migrants and refugees they receive with integration services. IMDi provides guidance to support the work of municipalities in this regard, and the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) provides a platform for municipalities to exchange best practices in resettlement.
Integration services include healthcare, children's education, appropriate housing, vocational training and employment support. Some elements of these services are delivered in the framework of individualised 'introductory programmes', which all refugees aged between 18 and 55 years must follow and which municipalities must provide within three months after refugees arrive. The federal government has developed quality standards that introductory programmes must meet, and which specify that programmes include:
Individualised programmes are developed based on the needs and attributes of refugees, with the ultimate aim of equipping adult refugees with basic Norwegian language skills, an insight into Norwegian society and support and training sufficient to enter the labour market or access education.
The normal duration period for introductory programme is 2 years, although municipalities can extend to 3 years if considered beneficial for a particular refugee. To acquire permanent residence in Norway refugees must complete the programme within 3 years, encompassing 550 hours of language training and 50 hours of social and cultural studies. Where refugees require additional language support, municipalities can offer up to 2,400 additional hours of language tuition.
Refugees receive financial support while following an introductory programme, conditional on their ongoing participation.
Although integration programmes are largely coordinated and implemented by municipalities, NGOs offer integration services and activities through specific projects and initiatives. The Norwegian Red Cross, for example, collaborates with municipalities on projects to enhance social integration such as 'Refugee Guide', in which Norwegian volunteers act as ‘guides’ providing information and social contact with the Norwegian population.
To date, no overall evaluation of the Norwegian resettlement programme has been carried out. An annual evaluation seminar is held to assess the NORCO programme, organised by IOM Oslo and attended by bicultural CO trainers, resettled refugees, municipalities, UDI and IMDi. Seminar outcomes are used to plan improvements in the NORCO programme for the year ahead.
Immigration Services of the Nordic countries meet with representatives from UNHCR twice a year to exchange experiences and discuss topics common to their national resettlement programmes.
UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, Norway Country Chapter, June 2013 revision [Read more]
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