Amendments to the Immigration Regulations called ‘permanent scheme for children who have lived in Norway for a long period’ entered into force on 8 December 2014. The amendments specify which factors shall have a bearing on the assessment of whether children with a strong connection to Norway can be granted residence.

The purpose of the regulatory amendment (Section 8-5) is that more importance shall be attached to the child’s best interests under the new practice. The Immigration Appeals Board’s (UNE) practice entails that strong humanitarian considerations exist when children have lived in Norway for approximately 4.5 years and attended school for at least one year. The circular to the provision makes it clear that this threshold shall not be lowered, but that greater emphasis shall be placed on residence in excess of 4.5 years.

The stronger the child’s connection is, the more is required to place decisive emphasis on immigration regulatory considerations instead.
UNE’s independent decision-makers – the board chairs and board members – will now apply the new regulatory provision to individual cases. UNE makes its decisions loyally in accordance with the rules that apply at all times, fully respecting that it is politicians who decide the policy.

Until the cases have been considered, however, UNE cannot issue a prognosis for how many reversals it will grant or what the outcome will be in concrete individual cases. This will become evident later when we summarise how the practice has changed under the amended provision. The Ministry has stated that the effect of the change will be evaluated after a year.

UNE does not consider reversals on its own initiative, meaning that we do not reopen cases unless the parties concerned ask us to. Families with children who have lived in Norway for a long period must therefore submit a request for reversal in order for UNE to reconsider their case.
The request must be written in Norwegian or English, and an authorisation must be enclosed if the request is submitted by someone other than the family or a lawyer/assistant lawyer.

It is important that new information about the children’s situation is included in the request for reversal. If possible, passports or other documentation of identity should also be presented. UNE will ask for additional information in an individual case if we need it to make a decision.

UNE will consider whether to grant deferred implementation when a request for reversal is received. Deferred implementation means that the applicant is granted temporary legal residence pending a new consideration of the case. If deferred implementation is granted, the family concerned can thereby stay lawfully in Norway while they wait for an answer. UNE informs the families in a separate decision if deferred implementation is granted.

As of 8 December 2014 (the date Section 8-5 entered into force), UNE had received approximately 340 requests for reversal for which the amendments in Section 8-5 are particularly relevant, i.e. families that have applied for asylum with children who have lived in Norway for approx. 4.5 years and attended school for about one year. The requests come from around 90 families and concern approximately 190 children and 150 adults.

The regulatory amendment and the Ministry’s circular are available here.
You can read more about UNE’s practice in the report One year after the white paper on children on the run (PDF in Norwegian only).

Published on 19 December 2014