Norway’s Progress Party wants to remove free interpreting services for immigrants

Jon Engen-HelgheimPhoto: Berit Roald / NTB
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Norway’s Progress Party (FRP) wants to remove the right to free interpreting services for immigrants who have resided in Norway for more than five years.

“The public sector’s expenditure on interpreting services has exploded in recent years,” immigration policy spokesman Jon Engen-Helgheim told news bureau NTB.

“In 2018, the public sector spent NOK 835 million on interpreting services. Someone has to set a limit – that is what we are doing now,” he added.

The Progress Party will present its alternative budget for 2021 on Monday.

In 2017, 746,000 interpreting assignments were carried out. 

Against paying “forever”

Engen-Helgheim emphasized that FRP is not looking to remove all interpreting services – but it wants to end the practice of the public sector having to pay for interpreters forever.

“People who have been in Norway for five years should have learned sufficient Norwegian to manage without an interpreter. If not, they will have to pay for the services themselves,” he said.

SV’s Karin Andersen reacted to FRP’s proposal. 

She fears it will only lead to mistakes and problems for people who depend on interpreters in their meeting with the health service, tax authorities, or the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV).

“That would make the job much more difficult for the Norwegian administration, the health service, and other places where interpreters are used,” she told NTB.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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