The Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry has introduced a new entry scheme through which companies can apply to bring to Norway essential foreign workers from abroad.
The scheme, which has been in operation since Saturday, February 20 in the morning, permits companies to bring essential workers in several areas to Norway, including those who have the technical expertise and who are absolutely necessary to assemble, disassemble, inspect, repair, maintain or inform about the use of machines or technical equipment.
According to a press release of the Ministry on the new scheme, the employee must have an employment contract with the company applying, in a position that is absolutely necessary for the company to keep operating.
“Employees who arrive in Norway must comply with current quarantine regulations. The government is also working on a tightening of the use of quarantine hotels at the point of arrival,” the Ministry notes, explaining that it remains crucial for an employee to meet the Immigration Act’s conditions for entry.
The employees must travel to Norway within 14 days of receiving the confirmation that they are eligible to enter the country.
Commenting on the scheme, the Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø showed her understanding of the consequences that entry restrictions have had on businesses that employ foreign workers, announcing that the government is working on a gradual opening of the borders.
“In the first instance, we are now opening up to technical personnel who perform tasks that are strictly necessary to maintain activity in Norwegian companies. We will now look at whether we can eventually open up to other employees,” she said, further explaining that the Ministry will publish more details in this regard after a comprehensive assessment of the infection situation and the business community’s needs.
In its press release, the Ministry also explains that even this category of workers will need to quarantine in a hotel upon arrival, for which the employer must give details during their application through the new scheme.
The employee can be self-isolated at a suitable place of residence available, for which the government has made it obligatory to obtain approval of accommodation in advance.
Authorities Make Approval of Accommodation for Foreign Workers Obligatory
During their application to bring an essential foreign worker in Norway amid the COVID-19 entry restrictions, employers are now obliged to have their housing approved by the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority in advance.
The new requirement has been introduced after the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority detected several violations regarding quarantine housing for foreign workers.
“Persons who come to Norway to perform work or assignments and who can document that the employer makes a suitable place of residence available, are not obliged to stay in quarantine hotels. It is these places of residence that the employer must now obtain approval in advance,” the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs notes in a press release.
It also explains that the accommodation should provide the employees with their own bathroom, kitchen, or food service, among others.
The application must be sent on a fixed form to the Norwegian Labor Inspection Authority, and the employer must pay a fee for handling the case.
The country had lately imposed stricter measures in a bid to control the number of COVID-19 cases in its territory, while threatening that it will reject entry to every person who does not register in advance, and does not comply with the testing rules that are currently in place.