All permits are called residence permits
The term residence permit replaces residence and work permits, so that all permits are called residence permits. In principle, a residence permit will entitle the holder to work in Norway, but in some cases, it will be specified that the residence permit does not entitle the holder to work or that certain restrictions will apply in relation to work. The term work permit will no longer be used.
Permanent residence permit
A permanent residence permit entitles the holder to permanently reside and work in Norway. Permanent residence permits replace settlement permits in the new Act. This permit is granted to persons who have had permits for at least three consecutive years that form the basis for a permanent residence permit in Norway.
Asylum and refugees
An important change in the new Act is that all asylum applicants that have been entitled to protection will be given refugee status. Pursuant to the Act, persons who are currently granted asylum in accordance with the Geneva convention and persons who are protected from refoulment according to other conventions will be given the same status as refugees. This means that both groups will be entitled to the same rights that this entails.
The new Act also entails several conceptual changes. For example, the word asylum is replaced by the word protection, which is used in international refugee law.
Early work start makes it possible to start working in Norway early. The arrangement with early work start makes it possible for work migrants to start working before the application for residence permit has been processed and granted.
Easier registration for EEA nationals and their family members who are also EEA nationals
The new Act simplifies procedures for EEA nationals who find work in Norway and move here. EEA nationals who receive an offer of employment in Norway no longer need to submit an application, they are only required to register at a police station and submit documentation of the employment.
However, an exemption is made in the Act for nationals of Bulgaria and Romania who receive an offer of employment in Norway for the first time. They must continue to submit standard applications before they can be granted residence permits in Norway and are thus covered by so-called transitional rules.
Moreover, the new regulations mean that family members of EEA nationals are also only required to register. This allows them to follow their immediate family member to Norway relatively quickly and easily.
The EEA Regulations also grant right of residence to family members of EEA nationals who are not nationals of an EEA/EFTA/EU country, and for employees who work in enterprises that are established in the EEA area (service providers and entrepreneurs). These persons must apply for a so-called residence card.
Persons covered by the EEA Regulations will also now be given an opportunity to permanently reside in Norway.
Early employment scheme enables labour immigrants to start employment in Norway as quickly as possible. The early employment scheme enables labour immigrants to start working before their residence permit applications have been processed and granted.
General strengthening of and more attention on the rights of children.
Children’s rights are strengthened in general and their needs are given more attention in the new Act. The best interests of the child have long been taken into account in immigration cases in line with the international commitments by which Norway is bound. The Regulations include a new main provision stating that children over the age of seven and younger children who are capable of forming their own opinion must be heard before decisions are made in cases that concern them. In asylum and family immigration cases, special rules are introduced in relation to carrying out interviews with children.
Stricter rules for family immigration.
The new Act introduces new criteria for granting family immigration permits. These are stricter requirements for assured subsistence (financial support) and a requirement of four years of work experience and/or education in Norway in order to be granted family immigration permits.
In family immigration cases, the main rule is that the person living in Norway must be able to document a sufficient income the year before he or she wishes to bring his/her family to Norway, and he/she must also be able to prove that he/she will have sufficient income the following year. In addition, a new requirement is introduced stating that the reference person in Norway, as a main rule, must not have received social security benefits in the past year.
The main rule is further that family immigration permits will not be granted, unless the reference person has worked or studied in Norway for four years.
Several areas that were previously regulated by the Regulations will now be covered by the new Immigration Act, and the Act has been given a new structure.
Certain terms relating to the field of immigration will be different in the new Act. Moreover, Norway’s international commitments as regards asylum will be more prominent, and the legal position of children will be strengthened in general, at the same time as more attention will be given to children’s needs in immigration cases.