Norwegian language training: rights and obligations
Adult immigrants in Norway have a right and an obligation to complete a minimum of 300 hours of Norwegian language training. 50 of these hours should be devoted to providing an insight into Norwegian society in the immigrant’s mother tongue or another language the person understands. The “Act relating to rights and obligations relating to Norwegian language training” applies from 1st September 2005. The scheme only applies to people who are granted a residence permit in Norway after this date.
The aim of obligatory Norwegian language training is to improve the immigrant’s chances of actively participating in the labour market and society.
All participants are supposed to have an individual plan for Norwegian language training. The programme consultant, teacher and participant work together to draw up this plan. Many people will need more than 300 hours of training to learn enough Norwegian to function in society. It is therefore possible to apply for more hours. The maximum limit is a total of 3,000 hours. Local authorities are responsible for the provision of this training.
Any immigrant who wants a settlement permit (permanent residence permit) or Norwegian citizenship must be able to document that he or she has completed the 300 hours of obligatory Norwegian language training, or document in some other way that their Norwegian skills are good enough.
Some immigrants are entitled to free Norwegian language training. Others have to pay for the training themselves, though the obligation to learn Norwegian applies to everyone. The scheme applies to people aged between 16 and 67 years old. People who are aged between 55 and 67 years old are entitled to Norwegian language training if they want it, but it is not obligatory for them to complete the course.
Immigrants must use their right and fulfil their duty to complete 300 hours of Norwegian language training within 3 years. All obligatory training must be completed within 5 years of arriving in Norway.
These groups have a right and an obligation to complete free Norwegian language training:
These groups have an obligation to complete free Norwegian language training. They or their employer must pay for the training:
Some groups of immigrants have neither a duty nor a right to free Norwegian language training. Nonetheless, they can sign up for a Norwegian course if they pay for it. These groups include, for example:
You can read more on the Directorate for Integration and Diversity’s website (IMDI).
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