Norway brings in tough new immigration curbs

Norway brings in tough new immigration curbs
Justice Minister Anders Anundsen wants to make it harder for newcomers to Norway to win permanent residency. Photo: Trond Reidar Teigen / NTB scanpix
Norway wants to make foreigners wait an extra two years before they become eligible for permanent residency, as part as stiff new curbs brought in by the ruling right-wing coalition.
The proposal, which the Ministry of Justice put out to consultation on Tuesday, will come as a blow both to expats brought to Norway for employment and to asylum seekers fleeing persecution. 
Justice Minister Anders Anundsen, from the anti-immigrant Progress Party, said he expected the longer wait to mean greater numbers of foreigners being forcibly expelled from the country. 
“The proposal will probably result in more foreigners being expelled as a result of criminal offences and violations of the Immigration Act, since it will take longer before the foreigner obtains greater protection against expulsion, he told VG newspaper. 
At present, anyone who lives in Norway for three years is eligible to apply for a permanent residence and work permit, so long as they have achieved proficiency in Norwegian and completed a series of compulsory courses. 
According to Anundsen, who represents the anti-immigration Progress Party, the proposal has the backing of the Conservatives, the Christian Democrats and the the Liberal party. 
Under the tough new rules, foreign nationals risk losing their permanent residency status if they become divorced from a Norwegian citizen within the five-year period.