Accomodation at an asylum reception centre is offered as a temporary measure while you are waiting for the answer to your asylum application. Once you have been granted a residence permit in Norway, you will eventually move out of the asylum reception centre. You have two choices:
1) You can find yourself a place to live with no help from the authorities. If you do so, you will have to manage on your own financially.
2) You can cooperate with the asylum reception centre and the Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDI) in finding a place to live.
You can find a place to live yourself. In that case you must have enough money to support yourself and your family because you will not be provided with any help to find accommodation in your new municipality.
If you are dependent on financial assistance from the public authorities, the asylum reception centre and the IMDI will help you find a local authority in which you can settle. You will receive only one offer of accommodation from the IMDI. If you turn it down, you will lose the right to stay at the asylum reception centre. You will also lose the right to financial support
When you and your asylum reception centre have received notification that you have been granted a residence permit in Norway, a meeting will be arranged to discuss your resettlement. The aim of this meeting is to find out what you want to do in the future. It is important to find a municipality that suits you. The resettlement interview should take place within two weeks of your being granted a residence permit.
The asylum reception centre and the IMDI will base their search for a host municipality on the information you have provided at your resettlement interview. It is therefore very important that you say what kind of job, training or further educational course you would prefer. You must also let them know if you have family or relations already living in Norway, and any other information that may be important for where you want to live.
During the resettlement interview you will be given practical information about the process of finding you a host municipality.
The IMDI's regional office determines which municipality you will be resettled in. The IMDI tries to take into consideration what you have said at your resettlement interview. But it is not always possible to find a municipality that matches your wishes perfectly. The IMDI will find a municipality where you will have the chance to qualify for a job or further education by participating in an introduction programme. Read more about this in the section covering the introduction programme.
Find out which places provide what you are looking for. The staff at your asylum reception centre can show you how to find out about the various municipalities in Norway. If you are an active participant in the process, it will be easier to find a suitable place for you to live.
Many people may want to resettle in the same area, or find a place close by their first-choice location. Many people may want to resettle in the same town. Each municipality has only a limited number of resettlement places, not everyone can move to their first-choice location.
If you have accepted an offer of resettlement in a municipality , you can remain at the asylum reception centre until your new host town is ready to accept you. How long you will have to stay at the reception centre varies from case to case.
When it has been decided where you will be resettled, the municipality concerned will contact you and the asylum reception centre. They will let you know where you will be housed and when you can move in. You will also be given other practical information about the move.
Remember that you will receive only one offer of resettlement from the IMDI. If you turn this offer down, you will lose the financial support you have been receiving and you will have to move out of the asylum reception centre.
Most people who have been granted a residence permit have the right, and the duty, to attend a Norwegian language course. You must complete this course in order to qualify for a permanent residence permit or Norwegian citizenship.
You must complete the Norwegian language course before the end of your first three years in Norway. This scheme applies to those who have been granted a residence permit in Norway after 1 September 2005.
Being able to speak Norwegian is important in understanding and being understood, in getting a job or education, and in participating in Norwegian society. If you already have good Norwegian or Sami language skills, you may be exempted from compulsory language tuition.
It is your host municipality that is responsible for Norwegian language education. They will decide if you should attend Norwegian classes. If you do not receive the education that you are entitled to, you have the right to lodge a complaint.
Most people who receive a residence permit have to take part in an introduction programme. You will join the programme shortly after moving to your host town. This is an educational programme which all adult immigrants with a refugee background between the ages of 18 and 55 have a right and a duty to attend.
The objective of this programme is to make it easier for you to get a job, enabling you to support yourself and your family. The introduction scheme includes both men and women. There you will learn Norwegian and learn about Norwegian society and working life.
The education offered in the introduction programme will be tailored to your background and your plans for the future. The introduction programme is a full-time programme, five days a week, lasting up to two years.
If you get paid work and become financially independent, you can leave the programme before the end of the two years. Your host municipality must give its consent if you wish to leave the programme.
You will receive an introduction grant while attending the introduction programme. This is a salary for attending the programme. The introduction programme has many of the same rules as a job. You must pay tax on the introduction grant you receive, and deductions will be made in your grant if you are absent without good reason. You are allowed to take on extra work in addition to the introduction programme.
Your municipality is responsible for the introduction scheme. It is also your municipality that decides if you are to attend the introduction programme. You have the right to complain if you are not permitted to take part in the introduction programme . The staff at your asylum reception centre will tell you more about the introduction scheme.
When you have been granted a residence permit in Norway, you are allowed to study at a university or college of higher education. There are certain entry requirements for courses of higher education. If you have qualifications from your homeland, you must get them recognised by the Norwegian authorities. Ask the staff at your asylum reception centre or adult education centre for details.
Personal identity number and citizenship
When you are granted a residence permit, you will be given a Norwegian personal identity number. This number is important to qualify for social security payments, medical treatment, education or a work permit in Norway. You will be given a personal identity number by the National Population Register.
When you have been granted a residence permit, close family members may apply to join you in Norway. They must apply at their nearest Norwegian embassy, consulate or legation. Permission is granted for one year at a time.
Close family members are spouses and registered partners, cohabiting partners of more than two years' standing and children under the age of 18. Some other family members may also be granted residence in Norway.
In most cases you will have to have a certain level of income before your family members will be allowed to come to Norway.
People who come to Norway under the family reunification scheme also have the right and duty to attend a Norwegian language course. Many will also qualify for the introduction scheme. Read more about this above.
There are many important rules to abide by when you are applying for family reunification. You will find the information you need here. The information has been translated into many different languages. Ask the staff at your asylum reception centre if you need help to find the right information.
Your new home
When you move into a house or flat, there are several things you must pay attention to. If you are unsure about how to take care of your home, it is better to ask than wait until something goes wrong. Staff at your local authority will be able to answer your questions.
If you are living in rented accommodation, you are responsible for its interior maintenance. This applies to floors, walls, ceilings, fixtures and fittings, and all furnishings. If you do not keep your accommodation in good repair, you may have to pay for anything that breaks.
When you are living independently, you will have a number of regular bills to pay. These include rent, electricity, television licence and telephone. The bills will be sent to you by post. You must pay your rent every month. If your municipality has not arranged for the supply of electricity to your new home, you must take care of that yourself.
If you do not pay your bills by their due date, you will be sent a reminder – with the possible addition of a reminder fee. If you still do not pay what you owe, the case may be sent to a debt collection agency. This means goods corresponding in value to the debt you have incurred may be confiscated, or you may have to pay an additional penalty charge. You may also be put on a credit blacklist, which could prevent you from getting a loan if you needed one.
You should insure both your possessions and the property itself against fire, flooding and theft. Insurance cover means that you will receive compensation for most of your financial losses if such an event were to happen. Insurance costs money.
All homes must have at least one fire alarm and a fire extinguisher. The fire extinguisher is used to put out fires in electrical systems or appliances. Non-electrical fires should be smothered or put out with water. If a fire should break out, you must call the fire service by dialling 110.
Norway's National Insurance Scheme provides a number of social security benefits for people who need them. Remember that it is a criminal offence to falsely claim social security benefits. The National Insurance Scheme provides financial security to those who cannot work and earn their own living. To qualify for social security benefits, you must meet a number of requirements. We do not have the space to mention them all in this booklet. Your local social security office can give you the information you need. Below is a list of the most common social security benefits.
If you are ill and cannot go to work, you are entitled to sickness benefit to compensate for lost wages. You must have been employed for at least four weeks at your place of work to qualify for sickness benefit, and you are entitled to sickness benefit from your first day off work. Sickness benefit is paid at the end of the month.
Sick child care benefit
You have the right to claim sick child care benefit if you have to stay off work to look after a child under the age of 12 for whom you are responsible. Sick child care benefit is limited to a certain number of days per year per child.
If you are unable to work because of chronic illness or injury, you are entitled to a temporary incapacity benefit or a disability pension. You may qualify for temporary incapacity benefit if you are unable to work for a period. A disability pension is paid if it is determined that you will never be able to work again.
Old age pension
When you reach retirement, normally at the age of 67, you will receive an old age pension from the state. The size of the pension depends on how much you have earned during your working life. Everyone over the age of 67 is entitled to the minimum state pension. If you would like to know more about how the old age pension is calculated, or how much you can expect to receive when you retire, contact your local social security office.
Social security benefits
The social services can help to resolve or prevent social problems. The social services are also obliged to find accommodation for those who are unable to find a place to live. People who are unable to work or support themselves in some other way may receive financial assistance from their local social security office. You must ask the social services for help if you need it. You are entitled to appeal if your application for assistance is rejected.