From the UDI Annual Report 2010:
In 2010, more students came from countries outside the EU area than the year before. New types of study permits resulted in more students coming. The total number of study permits declined, however, since EEA nationals no longer need to apply for a residence permit.

More foreign students

EEA nationals can now study in Norway without applying for a residence permit, and 4,290 EEA nationals registered as students in 2010. A total of 3,940 students from countries outside the EU area were granted a study permit, and, as in the year before, most applicants were from China, Russia and the USA. Most people who were granted study permits came to study at a university college or university. Au pair permits are also regarded as a type of study permit. The purpose of this scheme is cultural exchange whereby the au pair lives with a Norwegian family and participates in Norwegian language tuition. In addition to the 3,940 study permits, 1,510 people were granted au pair permits in 2010. Almost 80 per cent of the au pairs come from the Philippines. In addition, 3,840 students renewed their permits. A total of 9,290 persons had study permits in Norway in 2010.  

New possibilities for skilled workers

The new Immigration Act allows two new types of study permits, one permit for skilled workers who wish to study Norwegian and the other for skilled workers who need necessary additional education. Both permits allow part-time work in addition to studies. The permits are the result of a desire to facilitate labour immigration. Many Norwegian employers reported that it was often difficult to employ otherwise qualified foreign nationals because they lacked Norwegian language skills. Additional education is particularly important in professions that cannot be practised without the employee having a licence or authorisation, for example health professionals and electricians. A total of 220 persons were granted permits to attend Norwegian language courses or take additional education in 2010, and this number is likely to increase as these options become more known. It is still too early to say whether the new permits will result in the desired increase in applications for work permits in Norway.

New graduates and researchers

In the past, most foreign students financed their stay in Norway through various grant programmes and the stay was often connected to aid. Now, more and more students are financing their studies themselves. Norway wishes to retain the expertise these students acquire. Previously, the main rule was that all students were required to return home after the end of their period of study. Now, new graduates and researchers can be granted a residence permit for six months to apply for a job in Norway. In 2010, 70 persons were granted such permit to apply for a job after finishing their studies or research stay.
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