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Norway to increase funding for Ukrainian refugees

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Norway to increase funding for Ukrainian refugees
Norway will increase the funding available for refugees. File photo: Refugees rest in the sleeping facilities at the arrival centre for refugees near the town on Kirkenes in northern Norway close to the border with Russia (Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND / AFP)

The Norwegian government will increase the money available to settle refugees fleeing Ukraine as it expects the number of asylum seekers coming to Norway to be higher than initial estimates.

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In its revised budget for 2023, which will be fully unveiled later in May, the government will set aside more money for refugees from Ukraine.

“We have issued a request to the municipalities to settle a total of 35,000 refugees in 2023. But the latest forecasts we have seen show that there may be even more. That is why we need to resettle more refugees,” Minister for Labour and Inclusion Marte Mjøs Persen told Norwegian newswire NTB.

In a new forecast, Norway could instead be required to settle up to 43,000 refugees. Therefore the government is proposing increased funding in a number of areas.

Firstly, it will grant municipalities an extra 50,000 kroner for every refugee it settles. This policy is expected to cost up to 200 million kroner by the end of 2024. The money is on top of existing grants local authorities receive for settling asylum seekers.

Meanwhile, 459 million kroner will be set aside for Norwegian language training of refugees by the end of 2024.

“It is important that municipalities that settle refugees also manage to support them when they go out to work. Many people need more than the one-year Norwegian education they receive today. This will be extended by six months so that it will be 18 months in total,” Mjøs Persen said.

Authorities that provide language training will also receive an extra 27,450 kroner for each person who undertakes Norwegian language training. In addition, the government has asked providers to ensure that language training can be undertaken with work.

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“At the same time, it is important that the training does not get in the way of the opportunity to get into working life. Municipalities will therefore be able to organise it so that it can be combined with work. The hope is that it will make integration easier for the municipalities,” Mjøs Persen said.

In addition, the government would also release around 180 million kroner to reintroduce subsidies for rental housing for refugees.

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