At the beginning of each new year UDI takes the opportunity to make changes.  Here are a few to watch out for in 2010:

Residence Permits
Name changes are ‘all the go’ right now.

- All Permits

UDI: 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

UDI: 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.

Also, the word “asylum” is being replaced by the politically correct word “protection”.

Work
There is good news for employers and employees – in general, you don’t have to wait for a Permit to be granted before starting work:

UDI: 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.

There are also “easier” laws for EEA nationals to reside and work in Norway.  In general, EEA nationals do not need to apply for residency.

Family Immigration
Unfortunately, Family Immigration will become a lot tougher.  This is to curb the current trend of ‘marriage of convenience’.

UDI: 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.

Unfortunately, people before us have made some crazy moves that are making it tough for us now.  In the last months a couple of instances have fronted in the papers about ‘marriage of convenience’.  In particular, a Norwegian woman married a Tunisian man (16 years her younger) just after one week.  They couldn’t communicate with each other as they had no common language and yet UDI failed to notice this ‘marriage of convenience’.  The Norwegian Embassy in Tunisia was outraged with UDI’s “granted” decision.  The Embassy refused to give the man a visa to leave the country.  The Norwegian Ambassador to Tunisia, who had done a study on marriages between Tunisians and Norwegians, said:

We found out that in nearly 100% of the cases the marriage was dissolved, and that likewise, the time for dissolving the marriage was almost without exception, three years.

Per Kristian Pedersen – Norwegian Ambassador of Tunisia

Being under fire for their year of failings to detect such instances, UDI has decided to make things tougher for everyone.  As a result, there is a new immigration law in regards to marriage: As of January 1st, it is illegal of marry someone with the purpose of giving them entry into the country (whereas before, it was just illegal to charge money for it).

All these changes will take effect 01/01/2010.  Make sure you check the UDI website periodically to be informed and updated.

Information correct at posting: http://www.udi.no/Norwegian-Directorate-of-Immigration/Oversiktsider/The-new-Immigration-Act-and-Immigration-Regulations-/

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