In the Blue Light Hour – Old Farm Road

This is one of my favourite views on the farm.  In June we sometimes get bridals parties stopping here to take pictures with this beautiful farm backdrop.

More People Allowed to Study in Norway

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.

Easier to be Granted a Permanent Residence Permit

From the UDI Annual Report 2010:

The new Immigration Act makes it easier to be granted permanent residence (previously called a ‘settlement permit’) in Norway.

Previously, an applicant had to have resided in Norway for at least three years on the same type of permit (for example a work permit). Applicants can now be granted a permanent residence permit after a total period of legal residence of three years, even if the grounds for residence differ, for instance first as a family immigrant and then as a specialist. This can explain an increase of 13 per cent in 2010 from the previous year both in the number of applications and in the number of approvals. A total of 13,800 people were granted permanent residence.

The UDI processed more old and difficult applications, for example several cases where we decided to revoke a family immigration permit because we found it probable that a marriage was a marriage of convenience. In such cases, we reject the application for permanent residence. We also rejected a relatively large number of applications because the applicant had not documented that the requirement for completed tuition in the Norwegian language and social studies had been met. The UDI rejected a total of 810 applications for permanent residence, but some whose applications were rejected had their previous permit extended.

Winter is Here

Winter is here!  I have been looking forward to winter for a little while know.  Yesterday we still had green fields; today they are white, laden with a foot of fluffy snow.

Winter is a festive season in Norway and every in month there is something special to look forward to and celebrate.  In November we see the sun for the last time this year.  In December we celebrate advent – the count down to Christmas.  Late December we celebrate juletid with Christmas eve, julebuk and New Years.  Christmas continues in January and later in the month is the return for the sun.  In the spring months we have many holidays for skiing and trips to the cabin.

The first snowfall tells the Norwegian animals that they better hurry up to get their last fill before the long winter.  We are always graced with swarms for sparrows at this time.  They pluck off the rest of the rowan berries on the tall tree tops.  Norwegian folklore tells us that if there are a lot of berries on the rowan trees then the winter will be hard.  It is thought nature gives extra to the birds to survive the harder winter.  So far I haven’t seen any year that contradicts this tale.

Rowan berries grow in clusters and can catch a good amount of snow.  When I see these bells of nature I’m reminded of how beautiful a Norwegian Christmas is and get all giddy inside.

The first snow also means we have to work a little harder on the farm.  We have been preparing all summer for winter.  Now that it is here we need to open our winter food stocks.

The sheep have a hard time finding food with the snow.  They naturally have the ability to scratch down underneath the snow to get to the roots and old leaves below but they much prefer the easier option of fresh silage.  When they see me they are always smiling.


Our Viking sheep are particularly suited to the Norwegian winter.  Their wool collects the snow and provides extra insulation.

The geese are very good animals for a farm.  They are low maintenance, finding their own food, but during a Norwegian winter we provide them with silage and grains for treats.

The geese and sheep can eat the snow but they also need water to prevent dehydration.  We often heat up the water in a kettle so the geese can have a ‘spa’ bath.  They love it.

All the animals get very excited when they see us in winter.  (In the picture above; when I don’t bring bread I have to let the geese nibble on my hand to prove it them – they never just believe me!)

Us humans mean ‘food’ to animals and just like humans, animals can get a little down in the cold.  Seeing white all the time gets a little monotonous.  Winter is the time where we play with the animals a little more.  We take the rabbits for walks on leashes, the geese have their spas, the sheep are taken for walks in the forests so they can munch on different bark and the horses like to meet new people.

This year winter has come so suddenly that buds haven’t had time to bloom.  This bud will certainly not go to waste.  I’m sure one of the sheep will find it and get a little burst of energy.

Quite often the first snowfall is a false alarm.  It melts away quickly and we are back to autumn again.  I think this year the first snow will stay and won’t melt away until summer.  But we shall see.

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