Norway's current quota of UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) resettlement refugees is 1,200 refugees annually. Norway mainly receives refugees from the Asia and Pacific region. IOM Oslo, in close cooperation with Norwegian immigration authorities and with IOM in the refugees’ country of origin, provides quota refugees with cultural orientation prior to their departure to Norway and likewise informs Norwegian municipalities about the refugees' background before their arrival in Norway. In 2010 Norway received a total number of 9.908 migrants via family reunification, which is a notable decrease from previous years. Many of these migrants were from Thailand, the Philippines and Somalia. IOM Oslo also assists family members in arranging their travel to Norway, in close cooperation with Norwegian immigration authorities and the IOM office in the country where the family is currently residing.
In 2011, Norway received 9,053 asylum applications, mainly from countries like Somalia, Eritrea, and Afghanistan. In the same year, 52 per cent of the processed applications were granted asylum in Norway. Through the Voluntary Assisted Return Programme (VARP), IOM Oslo assists Norwegian authorities in organizing the return of rejected asylum seekers and other migrants in an irregular and vulnerable situation.
Over the last few years, Norway has seen a considerable increase in the number of migrants applying for a work permit, especially from new members of the European Union like Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. In 2009 IOM Oslo developed a program to empower Polish migrant constructions workers, which was successfully implemented until the end of 2010. Since June 2011, this positive experience has been applied to a group of Lithuanian construction workers.
- The Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDI), The Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion
- Self-paying migrants
IOM Oslo provides resettlement assistance for Norway-bound refugees through cultural orientation programmes and assists in the reunification with family members living outside Norway. IOM, together with its partners, also helps migrants with resident permit in Norway who wish to return to their country of origin.
The Cultural Orientation Programme for Norway-Bound Refugees provides pre-departure cultural orientation (CO) classes for refugees accepted for resettlement to Norway. IOM Oslo, in close coordination with IOM offices in countries where refugees are temporarily residing, organizes training for selected target groups of refugees, aged from eight years old and above, on the practicalities of life in Norway. The primary objective of the programme is to promote smoother integration of refugees into the Norwegian society. It prepares them for the initial adjustment period after arrival in Norway, addressing unrealistic expectations, and limiting the culture shock.
The cultural orientation programme also provides the receiving Norwegian municipalities with relevant and up-to-date information about the resettling refugees and their situation prior to the refugees’ arrival in Norway. The information to municipalities is provided through country information seminars and country profiles publications.
The programme is funded by the Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi). It is implemented by IOM Oslo in close partnership with IMDi, UDI, IOM and UNHCR offices in the training site countries.
IOM Oslo’s Family Reunification / “Self Payer” programme can assist individuals who have been granted family reunification with arranging travel to Norway for their family members if UDI is not paying for the family’s travel.
IOM Oslo, in cooperation with IOM in the country where one’s family is living, can offer the following:
- Assistance with arranging air tickets (for a fee) for transportation to Norway. IOM has global agreements with most major air companies and can arrange tickets at a competitive price.
- Assistance at airport upon departure, in transit within Europe as well as in transit at Oslo Gardermoen if the final destination is beyond Oslo.
- If the family member is a minor travelling alone or if the traveler/s have medical needs requiring extra care, an IOM escort can be arranged to assist the family member/s throughout the journey.
- In close cooperation with the Norwegian Embassy in the country where the family is currently living, IOM ensures that family members will have the required visas and travel documents issued prior to their departure.
- Throughout the process, IOM Oslo will coordinate with the IOM mission in the country of origin, in order to secure a safe and dignified journey for the family members.
- Cultural Orientation Programme for Norway-Bound Refugees (CO)
- Operational Assistance for People Granted Family Reunification for Family Members Residing Outside Norway
- Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI)
Assisting Voluntary Repatriation from Norway is a service for people who are granted a resident permit in Norway but who wish to repatriate to their country of origin. IOM, in close coordination with the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) and the IOM office in the country of origin, will arrange domestic travel in Norway, international flights, pre-, post- and transit reception at airports, as well as travel onward to the final destination in the country of origin. If necessary, IOM can also assist in arranging travel documents through the nearest Embassy of the country of origin.
- Assisting in Voluntary Repatriation from Norway
- Norwegian Directorate for Immigration (UDI)
IOM Oslo assists asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Norway who are willing to return to their countries of origin voluntarily and helps victims of trafficking and unaccompanied and aged out minors to return home safely and in dignity. Other programmes offer support for return and reintegration assistance to Iraq and Afghan nationals returning to their home countries from Norway.
The Assisted Voluntary Return Programme (VARP) of IOM Oslo aims at the orderly, humane and cost-effective return of irregular migrants, such as asylum seekers and irregular migrants who are willing to return voluntarily to their countries of origin. The return assistance provided is based on existing and well-tried IOM return programmes in Europe and elsewhere. The services offered in the framework of the Norwegian Voluntary Assisted Return Programme include: information and counseling to potential returnees, assistance in getting travel documents through their nearest Embassy, booking and travel arrangements, pre- and post-arrival reception, onward domestic travel to the final destination in the country of origin and a limited follow-up after arrival, if requested. If the returnee is a minor traveling alone or has some medical condition requiring extra care, IOM can provide for someone to escort him or her back to the country of origin.
The Financial Support to Assisted Voluntary Return (FSR) programme is a return service with the reintegration support programme for asylum seekers and migrants in an irregular situation who have been approved for voluntary return. The distribution of the grants is graded according to the date of application for VARP in relation to the received deadlines for leaving Norway and is 10, 15 or 20 thousand Norwegian kroner. The cash support is to be used by the returnee to facilitate his/her reinsertion in the local community
Information, Return and Reintegration of Afghan Nationals to Afghanistan (IRRANA VI) is a programme for Afghan asylum seekers and persons with refugee status and permanent residence permit, who wish to return from Norway to Afghanistan voluntarily. Under an agreement with the Norwegian government, IOM Oslo provides a wide range of services to Afghan national returnees, assisting them at all steps of their journey back home, and facilitating individually tailored reintegration packages that will ensure a sustainable reinsertion into the Afghan society.
Services offered within the framework of the programme in Norway include: information and individual counseling, assistance in getting travel documents through the Afghan Embassy in Norway if necessary, transportation within Norway, flights to Afghanistan and assistance at the airport on departure and in transit.
Services offered In Afghanistan include: reception at Kabul airport, assistance at border and customs processing, provision of medical assistance if needed, information and counseling about the reintegration services available and other information (security and state of affairs in Afghanistan, governmental, international and local NGOs and UN programmes, etc.) relevant for reintegration into the home community, temporary accommodation at the IOM Jangalak reception center (maximum of two weeks), and onward transportation to final destination.
The reintegration assistance consists of a reintegration allowance of 1800 USD for Afghan asylum seekers (to be paid by IOM Kabul in cash), or a reintegration allowance of 15,000 NOK for Afghan nationals with Norwegian permanent residence permit or refugee status (to be paid by UDI in Norway), in-kind support of 4,500 USD for any of the following reintegration packages: business set-up, education, vocational training support or employment salary subsidy and a transportation fee of 30 USD. Reintegration packages could include and additional support for youth returnees between 18 and 23 years that consists of vocational training or schooling, housing allowance and a living allowance for food/transport. IOM Kabul follows up consistently with returnees to monitor their reintegration progress.
Information, Return and Reintegration of Iraqi Nationals to Iraq (IRRINI IV) is a programme for Iraqi asylum seekers and persons with refugee status and permanent residence permit, who wish to return from Norway to Iraq voluntarily. Under an agreement with the Norwegian government, IOM Oslo provides a wide range of services to Iraqi returnees, assisting them at all steps of their journey back home, and facilitating individually tailored reintegration packages that will ensure a sustainable reinsertion into the Iraq society.
Services offered within the framework of the programme in Norway include: information and individual counseling, assistance in getting travel documents if necessary, transportation in Norway and flights to Iraq, assistance at the airport on departure and in transit.
Services offered In Iraq include: reception at the airport, assistance at border and customs processing, provision of medical assistance if needed, information and counseling about the reintegration services available, and other information (security and state of affairs in Iraq, governmental, international and local NGOs and UN programmes, etc.) relevant for reintegration into the home community, one night temporary accommodation if unable to reach the final destination on the day of arrival to Iraq, and onward transportation to final destination.
The reintegration assistance consists of a reintegration allowance of 1,800 USD for Iraqi asylum seekers (to be paid upon arrival in Iraq in cash), or a reintegration allowance of 15,000 NOK for Iraq nationals with Norwegian permanent residence permit or refugee status (to be paid by UDI in Norway), in-kind support of 4,500 USD for any of the following reintegration packages: business set-up, education – vocational training support, or employment salary subsidy. Reintegration packages can include and additional support for young returnees between 18 and 30 years that consists of 1,200 USD for further training, and housing allowance for vulnerable returnees. IOM Iraq follows up consistently with returnees to monitor their reintegration progress.
Assisted return and reintegration to Somaliland (ARRSO). This comprehensive return and reintegration project assists migrants from Somaliland to return to their country of origin. ARRSO offers information and counseling on voluntary return to Somaliland in addition to return, reception and reintegration assistance. The overall objective is to provide Somalilanders with sustainable reintegration back in their country of origin.
This project will provide Somalilanders with return, reception and reintegration assistance to persons who have the following status:
- Asylum seeker status
- Unsuccessful asylum seekers
- Somaliland migrants with irregular status in Norway
- Individuals with permanent residence permit / protection status in Norway.
Services offered within the framework of the programme in Norway include: information and individual counseling, assistance in getting travel documents if necessary, transportation in Norway and flights to Somaliland, assistance at the airport on departure and in transit.
Services offered In Hargeisa include: airport assistance in Somaliland upon arrival, a quick briefing on available reintegration services offered by IOM Hargeisa, IOM Hargeisa’s contact information, onward transportation to the final destination point if necessary and accommodation for a maximum of two nights can also be provided if the returnees are not able to reach the final destination on the day of arrival in Somaliland.
The reintegration assistance consists of a reintegration allowance of 5,250 USD per person paid out in three installments respectively: upon arrival, after 8 weeks and after 16 weeks after arrival. Somalilanders with a residence permit in Norway and who repatriate to
Somaliland will receive 15,000 NOK in Norway prior to departure and 20,000 NOK upon arrival Somaliland paid out in two installments.
IOM will provide the returnees with monitoring and follow-up before provision of last cash installment to assess the sustainability of the return.
Information, counselling, return and reintegration assistance for vulnerable migrants in Norway. The project builds on the existing projects Voluntary Return and Reintegration Assistance to Victims of Trafficking (VoT) in Norway, and Information, Counseling, Return and Reintegration Assistance for Unaccompanied Minor Asylum Seekers and Aged-out Minors in Norway (AOMs), under the Voluntary Assisted Return Program (VARP) for asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Norway. Together, these projects have been merged into one comprehensive project for vulnerable migrants, the Vulnerable Groups project (VGP). In addition, other migrants who fit the criteria of vulnerability will also be assisted. The program is designed to provide a comprehensive return option to meet the needs of particularly vulnerable migrants as a special group, which is organized in a humane, safe and dignified way.
VGP Target groups:
- Victims of trafficking (VoTs) – both adults and children – as well as dependents of victims of trafficking
- Unaccompanied minors (UAMs). – children as per definition under the age of 18 who arrived to Norway without any of two parents or a legal guardian
- Aged-out minors (AOs): Who arrived in Norway as an unaccompanied minor as per definition above and who turned 18 during his/her stay in Norway.
- Other vulnerable groups such as: unaccompanied elderly people; men or women who have been victims of domestic violence or other forms of exploitation; women in forced marriages; and migrants with medical conditions.
The services offered in the framework of the VG Programme in Norway include: return information and counselling, assessment of reintegration needs, security concerns and fitness to travel, acquisition of travel documents, if necessary, travel arrangements, airport assistance and escort, if needed.
Services offered in the country of origin include: Airport reception and transport assistance to final destination, dispensation of the reintegration support package, and a consistent follow up to monitor reintegration progress.
The reintegration support consists of a comprehensive in-kind support for 7,800 USD broken down in the following categories: 1,500 USD for accommodation, 4,500 USD for education, vocational training, business start-up or employment subsidy, 300 USD for medical support and 1,500 USD for subsistence allowance. Dividing the assistance into separate categories aims to ensure that all returnees, regardless of their needs are able to benefit from the same level of assistance in the income generating category, the objective of which is to assure the returnee’s sustainable return.
- Voluntary Return Assisted Return Programme for asylum seekers and migrants in an irregular situation in Norway
- The Financial Support to Assisted Voluntary Return (FSR)
- Information, Return, and Reintegration of Afghan Nationals to Afghanistan (IRRANA VI)
- Information, Return and Reintegration of Iraqi Nationals to Iraq (IRRINI IV)
- Information, Counselling, Return and Reintegration Assistance Vulnerable Migrants in Norway.
Main text: November 2012
Facts and figures: November 2012