‘These instructions represent an important tightening of Norway’s asylum practice. People who no longer need protection must return to the country of origin and help to build it up again once it is safe,’ said Minister of Immigration and Integration Sylvi Listhaug (Progress Party).

The instructions follow on from the agreement of 19 November 2015 between the Labour Party, Conservative Party, Progress Party, Christian Democratic Party, Centre Party and Liberal Party on measures to address the refugee crisis. The UN Refugee Convention provides for the withdrawal of refugee status once the need for international protection no longer applies.

‘So far, neither Norway nor any other European country has made any extensive use of this opportunity. This means that these instructions mark a significant change in immigration practice,’ said Ms Listhaug.

According to the instructions, the Directorate of Immigration (UDI) is to consider withdrawing refugee status if there are changes to the political, human rights or security situation in a refugee’s country of origin, or any other factors, indicating that it would be safe to return.

These instructions will not apply to quota refugees or to refugees who have already been given permanent residence permits or granted residence on humanitarian grounds.

In cases where the conditions for withdrawing refugee status are met, the Directorate is to consider whether the person concerned nevertheless is entitled to a residence permit due to strong humanitarian considerations or particularly close ties to Norway, or because this is required under Norway’s international obligations.