The government is tightening the Norwegian requirement for refugees, to up to four years

Oslo. Minister of Culture Trine Skei Grande, Minister of Education and Integration Jan Tore Sanner (Conservative Party) and Jon Helgheim (Progress Party) and Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein (Christian Democratic Party) with apprentice Abdi Nori and Kaled Salimi.Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix

Refugees with a high education can cope with a three-month introductory course, while the least educated will receive four years of training in Norwegian language and society.

This is stated in the proposal for a new integration law that the government presented on Friday morning.

The idea is to establish a significantly more organised Norwegian education for newly arrived refugees and immigrants upon family reunification than today’s standardised, two-year introduction program allows. The introduction program should be adapted to the individual’s level of competence and education.

There may be people with medical education, illiteracy or very little education who will be sitting in the same classroom. That’s not how it should be. We want a more customised offer for the individual and allow the length of the introductory program to vary from three months to up to four years, depending on the kind of education and competence one has from the home country and what should be the individual’s end goal, says Minister of Education and Integration Jan Tore Sanner (H).

More stringent Norwegian requirements
The government also proposes to sharpen the requirement for oral Norwegian skills for the right to Norwegian citizenship to be at a level where “one can maintain a conversation on most general subjects and can deal with unforeseen situations or questions that arise.” One should be able to “talk about most topics, and deal with unforeseen situations without having language problems,” according to Sanner.

Norwegian language is the key to participating in small and large communities in society and to gain access to working life. You have to learn the language to get jobs, friends and networks where you live, says Sanner.

Last year, 55 % of the participants who completed the introductory program went straight into work or education.

Reform of the entire legislation
The proposals that were submitted for consultation on Friday involve the creation of the Integration Act and amendments to the Norwegian Citizenship Act.

We are now reforming the entire legislation and Norwegian integration policy. More refugees will receive formal education and get to work. We must ensure that those who come to Norway and stay here are given the best conditions to use their knowledge and abilities, and to take an active part in society, says Sanner.

Another is the introduction of an integration contract between the individual refugee and the municipality he or she resides in. The contract must contain specific goals for the individual, including expectations and final goals for the education. The government also proposes a right and obligation for career counselling and skills mapping.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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