The primary objective behind Section 34. Collective protection in a mass flight situation is to make it possible to carry out group assessment of asylum applications instead of processing them individually when so many people arrive in such as short time that the demand for processing individuals at reception centres and their applications becomes too great.
It is up to the Government to determine when a situation qualifies as a mass flight situation, which is when the regulation becomes applicable. The King in Council also decides when the power to grant collective protection shall cease.
Pursuant to the Immigration Act, Section 34, residence permits that were granted via group assessment apply for one year and may be extended up to three years from the date on which the foreign national first received a residence permit. The permit does not provide a basis for a permanent residence permit, but after three years a temporary permit can be granted which may provide a basis for a permanent residence permit. After five years with such a permit, a permanent residence permit shall be granted provided that the conditions for holding the permit are still present and all other conditions are satisfied.
Section 34 establishes that an application for protection (asylum) may be suspended for a period not exceeding three years from the date on which the foreign national received a permit. After three years or after the power to grant collective protection has ceased, UDI will only process an application if an applicant explicitly states that they wish to have their application for asylum reviewed.
Collective protection has been used twice before, first in connection with the masses in flight from Bosnia early on in the 1990s, and then in connection with masses of people fleeing Kosovo at the end of the 1990s.
A common factor in both situations was that many people from the same place came to Norway in a short time. Both groups were granted temporary permits in Norway. It was anticipated that they would return to their home countries if it became feasible within a reasonable period of time.
In Bosnia, war and unrest dragged on over time, and all those who wanted to stay in Norway were allowed to do so. In Kosovo hostilities quickly came to an end, and those who had fled ethnic persecution were able to return. Most of the refugees who arrived from Kosovo in summer 1999 travelled back home that autumn.