On more proposed changes to Norwegian asylum and immigration policy [2]

[following the updated proposals, this post is a continuation of the original]

Prop. 90 L (2015-2016): Endringer i utlendingsloven mv. (instramninger II) / final info

Prop. 91 L (2015-2016): Endringar i utlendingslova (pågriping og fengsling i samband med 48-timarprosedyren) / final info

Press conference om endanger i utlendingsloven [05.04.2016]

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On Norway’s 2016 quota for refugees

The formal documentation of the 2016 quota for resettlement refugees (overføringsflyktninger) in Norway:

On Erna speaking about refugees, 2001

The perks of doing archival research is that you occasionally come across some gems:

Status of Refugees – a speech by Erna Solberg, (then) Minister of local Government and Regional Development, at the Ministerial meeting of states parties to the convention relating to the status of refugees on 12 December 2001, Geneva:

This 50th anniversary provides an excellent opportunity to assess the quality of the international regime for the protection of refugees. I agree with UNHCR that in the course of these 50 years the 1951 Convention has proved its relevance, effectiveness and flexibility, despite the ever-changing environment. The Convention will, however, only be an efficient tool as long as the states parties are fully committed to its implementation. I am happy to see that so many colleagues from other countries have reaffirmed their commitments in this regard. […]

Refugee protection predates and goes beyond the 1951 Convention. In 1921 Fridtjof Nansen was appointed as the League of Nations’ first High Commissioner for Refugees. One of Nansen’s main objectives was to help refugees to stand on their own feet as soon as their essential needs had been met. The solutions were the same as those we use today: repatriation, resettlement and local integration. Fridtjof Nansen undoubtedly contributed to setting the standard for future action on behalf of refugees and paved the way for the 1951 Convention.

The preamble to the 1951 Convention notes that the granting of asylum may place unduly heavy burdens on certain countries and that a satisfactory solution cannot be achieved without international cooperation. It does not, however, specify how such cooperation should be brought about. Therefore, it is essential that states are willing to engage in such cooperation and that UNHCR provides the necessary coordination. […]

I am pleased to see the progress being made in the global consultations on international protection. In addition to highlighting questions of interpretation relating to the Convention, the consultations have focused on protection challenges that are not clearly covered by the Convention. How to deal with mass outflow situations has been one central issue. I have noted UNHCR ‘s assurances that the Convention is sufficiently flexible to be applied effectively even in situations of large-scale influxes. I’ll bear that in mind. Nonetheless, I believe that large-scale influxes call for practical national tools, stich as temporary protection schemes. The challenge is to make them fully compatible with international protection standards.

On creative solutions [2]

UDI’s Director, Frode Forfang, recently wrote a blog post about rethinking the international refugee regime (det internasjonale flyktningregimet) by – if I understand him correctly – doing away with asylum in favor of a European-based quota system —

La oss tenke oss et helt annet system. Et system der Europa hvert år tok imot opptil flere hundre tusen flyktninger på kvote og fordelte dem mellom landene. Antallet kunne variere fra år til år og tilpasses den aktuelle flyktningsituasjonen. I et Europa med rundt 500 millioner innbyggere, ville det vært en relativt overkommelig oppgave. En forutsetning for å skape folkelig og politisk vilje til noe slikt, er imidlertid at det eksisterende systemet der retten til å søke asyl er grunnlaget for det internasjonale flyktningregimet, opphører i sin nåværende form.

He ends by noting,

Å endre det internasjonale flyktningregimet er selvsagt ingen enkel sak. Retten til å søke asyl er en del av folkeretten. Også EU-retten regulerer dette. En endring må ha et humanitært grunnlag, og må blant annet kunne sikre flyktninger en akutt nødhavn. Men en ny ordning må også ta utgangspunkt i en erkjennelse av at dagens system verken ivaretar grunnleggende humanitære prinsipper eller statenes rett til å styre innvandringen. I mellomtiden står asylretten sterkt som det eneste alternativet vi har.

It unleashed a whole host of responses —

related: 07.01.2016: UDI-direktøren oppsummerte asylåret 2015 (UDI)

On more proposed changes to Norwegian asylum and immigration policy

[05.04.2016 update: tracing the debate of the updated proposal can be found here.]

New innvandrings- og integreringsminister Sylvi Listhaug (Frp) put out a 150 page (! document available here) document outlining proposed changes to the Norwegian asylum and immigration policy today, including 40 major + minor changes to laws and regulations. Debate will is scheduled to conclude by 9 February, with proposals presented to Stortinget soon after.

The proposals include (via NRK) —

  • Tightens rules governing family reunification so that a person must have four years of work or education in Norway before family reunification can take place.
  • The government will issue payment cards to refugees instead of giving them cash. The aim is to prevent refugees sending money to family back home.
  • Asylum seekers arriving by transit visas across the border from Russia will not be able to get asylum.
  • Restricts visa freedom for asylum seekers. This means that asylum seekers are not entitled merits of his application for asylum in Norway, can be expelled from the border.
  • Creating a regulatory authority that gives right to grant temporary residence permits without taking a final decision on the need for protection. The temporary residence permit does not give the right to permanent residence, and does not provide a basis for family immigration.
  • It is proposed that the basis for permanent residence will lapse if the need for protection lapses within a period of five years.
  • The Government will reintroduce the distinction between people who are entitled to stay for the UN Refugee Convention, and those who are entitled to protection against return to their homeland after the human rights returning ban.
  • Unaccompanied minors seeking asylum to be given protection until the age of 18 years. It should then be re annual assessment, which determines whether an alien fulfills conditions for protection or stay in Norway on other grounds.
  • That an applicant shall be entitled to a permanent residence permit in Norway, the foreign national must sit the final examinations in Social Studies in a language he or she understands, as well as a final exam in Norwegian, indicating they master a minimum of spoken Norwegian.
  • Ministry wants to change Introduction Act so that people between 55 and 67 years of age must undergo training in Norwegian and social studies.
  • Permanent residence shall be refused if the applicant can not determine their own identity, or failure to obtain travel documents when it has prevented the return, or that the need for protection due to the applicants’ own actions after the applicant left the country of origin, and that the main purpose of these actions has been to obtain a residence permit.
  • The Government proposes that the appeal deadline is reduced from three weeks to one week in cases where the Directorate of Immigration (UDI) considers it obvious that an applicant does not meet the conditions for protection or protection against return.
  • The Government also proposes to make certain changes to the rules on legal aid in immigration cases, and proposes to remove the right to free legal advice in rejection cases under the Immigration Act.
  • It is proposed that the police should get store fingerprints of asylum seekers for 10 years.

Tracking public discussion:

On godhetstyranniet

Here’s a concept new to me: godhetstyranniet.

In an article published 3.11.2015 at NRK that discusses the (then, debated) proposals for the Norwegian government’s refugee budget (flyktningbudsjett), Silvi Listhaug responds to critics of a more restrictive set of policies —

Listhaug mener meningsmotstanderne framstiller ønsker om kutt og innstramminger som slemme og kalde, mens de som ønsker en mer liberal politikk er gode og rause.

– Jeg reagerer på dette godhetstyranniet som rir det norske samfunnet som en mare, sier hun.

(emphasis in original text)