What is human trafficking?
Being a refugee, or traveling alone from your home country as a minor (under the age of 18), you are unfortunately in risk of meeting people who have wrong intentions, and who want to exploit you in various ways. This can happen before you flee from your home country, during the travel, or after you have arrived to the destination country. That is why it is important to be aware of how you can be precautious in order to try to avoid being exploited or abused as a victim of human trafficking.
According to Norwegian law and UN’s Palermo protocol, children can be victims to human trafficking even though the ones who exploit you do not make use of violence, threats or force against you. Therefore, it is important that you know where you can seek help if you believe that you have been or are being abused or exploited in any way by a person or a group of persons that you are in contact with. On this website, you can find information about who to contact and where to seek help and ask questions here in Norway if you believe that you are being treated badly and exploited in any way. myRights.no also provides you with other important information about your rights as unaccompanied minor asylum seeker in Norway.
There are many reasons why young people fleeing their home countries might easily trust people who have wrong intentions. It might happen because:
The person you meet seems like the only person that is able to help you to travel/ flee from your home country.
The person you meet gives you a promise to arrange for you so that you can attend school in another country
Because you need work and money
Because you need a place to stay
Because you lack proper caregivers and grown- ups around you
Because the person is talking your language
Because you or your family feel threatened by this person
In the following, we present a list with examples of situations of human trafficking, abuse and exploitation. You only need to recognize/ find familiar one of the situations in order to be in a relation that is exploiting you. There is a chance that you might, however, recognize several of these situations described here:
You receive little or no payment for work that you do or service that you provide
You have little or no control over the money that you earn
You work long hours (more than 8 hours straight)
You have no days off from work
You are told to work in restaurants, at a car wash, in peoples homes or in a construction company for little or no payment, with long hours and bad working conditions
Someone makes you perform services or work that you initially do not want to do
You are told to do a type of work that is normally not considered a form of work done by children under the age of 18.
You have little or no control over the aspects concerning your workday
Someone makes you travel to cities or countries that you originally do not want to travel to
You sell your body to other people
Somebody forces you to have sex with them or with other people, or exploits you and your body in a way that is against your will
You are being told to sell sex in change for money or to trade sex in exchange for valuable items, or for things that you need
You sell drugs
Someone tells you to steal from other people
Somebody has hurt you physically or mentally, and threatened or fooled you into doing something so that they can earn money or receive other benefits on your expense.
You do not control your own passport or travel documents
You cannot decide for yourself where to go or who to talk to
Somebody controls what you are allowed to say
Somebody has told you that you have a big debt and that you owe money (i.e. to cover your travel expenses to go Norway), and therefore makes you work or pay services in order to pay off your debt.
Somebody forces and/ or threatens you, your family or your friends
You have been given a mobile phone, a SIM card or a set of phone numbers, and have been instructed to call these numbers in case the police or child welfare service contacts you.
You are afraid of some persons and what they might do to you
It might unfortunately be the case that those people exploiting you in the ways described here can be your parents, or a relative. If this is the case, you might still be exploited in human trafficking.
If you are in danger or in need of immediate protection, you should contact the police on 08200. If it is an emergency situation, call 112.
If you are in need of immediate medical assistance, call 113 or go to the local emergency room. You can also call 116 117 for free, for medical advice.
All children in Norway have the right to be protected from exploitation and trafficking, in order to live a good and life. It is the responsibility of the Norwegian government to provide for this. If you believe that you are exploited or abused in any way, or if this concerns somebody you know, there are many organizations you can contact in order to receive help. Below is a list of organizations that you can contact, of people in the Norwegian support system that you can trust and who want to help you. The different actors within the support system can tell you about your rights if you are a victim to human trafficking in Norway, and they can make recommendations to you concerning how to proceed to receive help and protection. If you find it hard to talk about your problems, you can show this website to the people who are to help you, and the description you can find here on myRights.no about human trafficking, in order to explain which situations described here that you find familiar.
List of organizations that you can contact in order to receive advice and help:
- You can talk to the Child Welfare Services through the care center/ asylum reception center where you live. In the evening time, at night time and in weekends, you can call Alarmtelefonen, the emergency telephone of the child welfare services on 116111. You can also check out the website of the Norwegian Child Welfare Services in order to find contact information to your local child welfare office.
- You can talk to your representative or guardian to get advice about where you can receive help
- You can talk people in the health care system, either your doctor, the health clinic, the emergency room, or the health service located on the care center or asylum reception center where you live
- You can talk to NOAS for advice. NOAS is an independent non-profit organization. NOAS aims at ensuring that all asylum seekers in Norway are treated with respect and in accordance with the rule of law. NOAS can give you practical and judicial advice and information concerning the asylum seeking process. NOAS are subject to a pledge of confidentiality regarding everything you say. This means that they cannot speak about what you have told them to anyone, not to UDI nor the police.
- You can report your case to the police. If you are in danger or in need of immediate protection, you should contact the police on 08200. If it is an emergency situation, call 112.
- In many of Norway’s cities and municipalities, you can find Utekontakten. Utekontakten is community outreach social workers working with youth between the ages of 10-23 years old. They have a 24 hour emergency phone that you can call. Utekontakten has agreed to confidentiality. You can talk to Utekontakten about anything.
These are the phone numbers to Utekontakten in many of the largest cities in Norway. Ask your representative or guardian if you are unable to find the contact information to your local ‘utekontakt’ on this list:
Oslo Uteseksjonen: call or send SMS 913 03 913.
Bergen Utekontakten: call or send SMS 977 40 533.
Trondheim Utekontakten: call or send SMS 948 73 067.
Stavanger Uteseksjonen: call or send SMS 910 07 168.
Tromsø Utekontakten: Utekontakten, call or send SMS 992 66 345.
Bodø Utekontakten: Utekontakten, call or send SMS 90 73 78 76.
All government agencies and non-profit organizations that performs tasks within the Norwegian support system, has something that can be called ‘notification duty’ (in Norwegian: meldeplikt). This means that even though they have are obliged to confidentiality, which means that they cannot share your information to third parties without your consent, there are exceptions to this rule if they suspect that you might be victim to abuse, neglect or exploitation of any kind. This means that they are obliged to express their concerns to the child welfare services. As far as can be, such a concern will be addressed to the child welfare services in cooperation with you and your representative/ guardian.
What kind of protection am I entitled to in Norway if I’ve been exposed to human trafficking?
You have the right to be protected if you think you have been exposed to exploitation or human trafficking. The child services in your municipality have a responsibility for all minors in their municipality. Just like all other child welfare cases, the child welfare services are obliged to take measures and investigate cases that can concern human trafficking. The child welfare institution or the care center in which you live have a responsibility to help you out of the potential human trafficking situation and they will protect you against the people who have exploited you. They will also help you process the situation and give you the help you need. The child welfare service will report the situation to the police to make sure you get the protection if you’re seriously threatened and need help. The police will make a threat assessment and recommend what type of protection you will receive.
If you are under 15 years of age, your representative or guardian will have to consent to the measures that will be taken. You have the right to receive information about the measures, and you will be given the opportunity to express your opinions. The child welfare service will emphasize your opinions based on your age and maturity. If you are over 15 years, you will have to consent to the measures.
What is an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker?
If you are under 18 years of age and have arrived to Norway without your parents, and if you seek asylum in Norway, you are an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker. As an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker, you are entitled to extra protection.
You are entitled to a representative or guardian, and you have the right to live at an asylum reception center or care center (not at an ordinary asylum reception center with adults). You should receive a faster reply to your asylum application than adults and you will not be sent back to your home country without insurance that you will be taken care of by your parents or other caretakers.
What types of responsibilities do the representative or guardian have?
A representative or guardian is an adult who can perform legal parenting tasks, and make sure that your rights; wishes and needs are taken care of. Your representative or guardian will help you with your case with the immigration authorities when it comes to residence at the asylum reception center or care center and in relation to school and health care. Representatives or guardians do not work at the UDI (Directorate of Immigration). Your representative or guardian does not have the responsibility for your daily care. When it comes to daily care, read here.
As an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker, you have the right to receive a representative when your parents or others with parental responsibility is not located where you live, or is unable to have a parental responsibility. If you have received a residence permit and live in a municipality in Norway, you have the right to receive a guardian who is connected the municipality you live in.
The Guardian/ Representative’s tasks:
- Convey information to you and give help and explanation when needed, as well as assist in any conflicts, cases or situations that may occur.
- Help you with your case in relation to the immigration authorities (the UDI) and be present at your interview with the UDI.
- Make sure that your opinions are being expressed and that your rights, wishes and needs are taken care of, and help you with your case when it comes to residence at asylum reception centers or care centers, as well as when it comes to school, language support and health care.
- You can always talk to your guardian or representative if you believe you have been exploited in human trafficking; see here.
- Ensure that decisions made concerning your case are made for your own good (”the best interests of the child”).
- Help you if you wish to file a complaint about a decision that the immigration authorities has made concerning your asylum case
- Be present where your guardian or representative’s signature is required and speak your case when it is necessary.
- Work to secure the renewal of your residence permit.
- Manage any income or fortune you might have.
- You will receive a new representative or guardian if you move to another facility.
- In order to become a representative or guardian, the person needs to be properly suited for the role. It is required to have satisfactory knowledge about Norway and the Norwegian society and language, as well as knowledge about how the public system works. Additionally, the representative or guardian should have knowledge about how you as an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker are in a challenging and vulnerable situation.
- The County Governor (Fylkesmannen) appoints the representative or guardian. The representative or guardian has to deliver a police certificate and have consented to having the responsibility. The County Governor supervises that the representative/ guardian performs his or her responsibility in a proper manner.
- If you are not satisfied with your representative or guardian, you have the right to complain. You will have to complain within three weeks after you have received your representative or guardian. The complaint should be sent to the County Governor, who can reverse the decision.
What can a lawyer help me with?
If you are under 18 years of age, you have the right to receive legal help before your asylum interview with the UDI. Your attorney is familiar with Norwegian laws, and can help you with your asylum application. If there is any doubt that you are under the age of 18, you will receive a lawyer after your asylum interview.
If you have been identified as a possible victim of human trafficking, you are entitled to help from a counsel (called ‘bistandsadvokat’). The child welfare services have the responsibility to follow up your representative or guardian to make sure they provide you with a counsel.
What can an interpreter help me with?
As an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker you have the right to receive a qualified interpreter. You have the right to use an interpreter in the situations you might need one. This is a person who speaks your native language. The interpreter has to be a professional interpreter, and you cannot have an interpreter who is in your family or an acquaintance. A qualified interpreter has agreed to confidentiality. You can find an overview of qualified interpreter at Tolkeportalen. The interpreter in categories 1-3 is recommended. Category 1 is the best category, this is interpreter who is certified from the government and has a relevant education.
It is important to use a qualified interpreter because they will make sure that everything you say and hear is compliant with what is being said in the conversation. It is important for your case to have a good interpreter. This can help you understand people in the support system as well, and it will help them understand you better. A qualified interpreter will tell you if there is something that he or she does not understand. The interpreter will not interfere in the conversation; only convey what is being said.
Here is a list of conversations where the use of an interpreter is especially important:
- During the asylum registration at the police station
- During conversations at the care center or asylum reception center
- During the asylum interview with the UDI
- During development conversations at asylum reception centers/ care centers.
- During house meetings at the asylum reception centers/ care centers.
- During conversations with the County Governor, for example in conjunction with supervision.
- During announcement of asylum decisions.
- When obtaining information about your possible complaints.
- During conversations with your representative or guardian
- During conversations about the process of tracking your family.
- During conversations about possible use of force.
- During all conversations concerning your rights, public administration, extraordinary needs, and everything that could impact your asylum application or settlement.
How can I apply for a residence permit?
If you want to apply for asylum in Norway, you will first have to contact the Police. The police will take your picture and fingerprints. The police will ask you questions about who you are and how you have arrived to Norway. You will have to show them your passport or other documents if you have them.
Your application will then be sent to the Directorate of immigration (UDI), which is a part of Norwegian immigration authorities. The UDI will decide if you will receive residence permit in Norway. The UDI considers every application individually. If you wish, you are able to have a conversation with the UDI.
The processing time for asylum applications often take a long time in Norway, sometimes up to 2 years. This does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong with the application, or that you will receive an automatic rejection, but that some caseworkers use longer time to review your application.
If you receive a residence permit, you will be able to remain in If you receive a residence permit, you will be able to remain in Norway. There are different types of residence permits. See here. If your application is rejected, this means that you are not entitled to protection in Norway and you will have to leave the country. If your application is rejected, you can complain to Immigration Appeals Board (the UNE). Read more about this here.
Norway is a part of the Dublin cooperation. This means that if you have applied for protection in another European country before arriving in Norway (registered your fingerprints in a different country), or if you have parents or others with parental responsibility in that country, Norwegian authorities can send you to that country so that your application will be processed in that country. If it is decided that you’re being sent to another country, you also have the right to file a complaint.
What happens during the asylum interview with the UDI?
The independent non-profit organization NOAS gives advice and information about the asylum seeking process. Their job is to ensure that asylum seekers are treated with respect and offered legal protection. They offer information, guidance and legal aid.
When you meet NOAS, they will show you an informational film in a language you understand about the process of seeking asylum. After this, the employees will have a conversation with you, also in a language you understand. The purpose of this conversation is so that you can prepare for your asylum interview and can have the opportunity to ask NOAS about anything you may wonder regarding the asylum interview. NOAS has agreed to confidentiality regarding everything you say. This means that they cannot speak about what you have told them to anyone, not to UDI nor the police.
The asylum interview lasts a whole day from 9am to 4pm. There is a break every hour and a lunch break in the middle of the day. Your representative will be with you the whole day.
The asylum interview is very important. It is the opportunity to present your case to UDI. It is important to speak truthfully during the interview with UDI. The person who interviews you is from UDI and represents the Norwegian authorities. You do not need to be afraid of this interview. The interviewer will be kind and just wants to have a good conversation with you, and you will have the opportunity to explain your case.
You have the right to a translator who speaks your native language. The translator is required to be neutral and cannot get involved in your case. The translator will only translate that which is said during the interview. The role of your representative during the interview is to support you and ensure that you are being treated fairly according to Norwegian laws and rules. Everyone who is at the interview- the interviewer, the translator, and your representative have agreed to keep your information confidential. They are not allowed to speak about your case to the employees at the reception center, the child protection agency or to your friends and family.
During the asylum interview, it is you job to tell in your own words as specifically as you can using details why you had to flee from your home country, what you experienced there and what problems you have. It is also important to explain what will happen if you were to be returned to your home country. The UDI will ask you to elaborate on what you have told them and they will ask you about your identity and your family etc. They will also ask you to give a detailed explanation about why you are seeking asylum and why you want to stay in Norway.
If you have been given a language test or have been examined for age, this will be presented during the interview. You will also be given the opportunity to express what you think about the results of the age examination.
At the end of the interview, normally the translator will read the interview report, which is a summary of what has been spoken during the interview. During this time you and your representative have the opportunity to give feedback on things, which should be corrected or added. After corrections are made this document will need to be signed. You will also have the opportunity to ask UDI when you should expect to receive an answer to your application.
Why age testing?
The reason why the Norwegian authorities are concerned about age is because children seeking asylum in Norway have more rights than adults. Because of this, it is possible that some asylum seekers who are over 18 years old say that they are younger, in order to get more rights. Others seek asylum but do not know how old they are. This is why UDI is so preoccupied with finding out your age.
The Norwegian state is working to find scientific methods to test unaccompanied minor asylum seekers for age. In the meantime, an interview like the one which UDI has had with you and an evaluation will be used to determine what your actual age is.
Several components are important for UDI when they assess age. UDI will consider how believable your case is and whether there are valid and credible identity documents. They will evaluate your ability to estimate your own age through the explanation that you give. They will also look at information that can confirm your identity and what type identity information other countries have about a certain individual. In addition, statements about your age from others such as those who work in social services, your case worker in Norway , your representative, the employees at the reception center or care center where you stay and eventually statements from the child protection agency or child and youth psychiatry policlinic (BUP) can play a role in the age assessment process.
If you disagree with the age that has been determined for you in relation to the outcome of your asylum application, you can appeal the decision. You can get help from your representative or guardian in order to appeal.
All cases are different and should be handled individually. Because of this it is difficult to say what kind of permit you can receive in order to stay in Norway. As an unaccompanied minor seeking asylum you may receive different kinds of permits to stay in Norway.
If your application is denied, it is possible that you cannot be forcibly returned to your home country, unless UDI determines that you are over 18 years old. If UDI determines that you have family that is able to take care of you in your home country, they have a responsibility to find these relatives. If they cannot find your relatives then they cannot send you out of Norway.
The most common forms of residence permits you can receive are:
1. Refugee status (asylum)
According to the Norwegian Immigration Act § 28, you can be granted residence if you are considered to be a refugee. This provision is based on the UN’s refugee convention article 5 regarding persecution, recurring serious violation of fundamental human rights such as in the European Human Rights Convention article 2 (discrimination), article 3 (degrading treatment), article 4 (slavery or forced labor) and article 7 (prosecution without a trial).
The conditions also consider if a person is in danger of being tortured or receiving inhumane or degrading treatment if they are returned to their home country. This is also described in the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 3), UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (Article. 37a), UN’s Convention against Torture (Article 3), and in the Immigration Act (§ 73). «Inhumane or degrading treatment» can also include lack of proper care if you as an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker is returned to your home country.
In considering refugee status or return for a person, it is taken into account whether the person applying for asylum is a child, according to the Immigration Act § 28, third section.
2. Temporary permit
There are not many cases where persons are granted asylum based on Immigration Act § 28. In the majority of cases and the cases we hear about in the media persons are granted asylum based on Immigration Act § 38. This provision is general and discretionary as stated in the provision’s first section: «Residence may be granted…».
Below is an explanation of what is considered in a case regarding temporary residence:
When considering whether a person will receive permission to stay, the immigration authorizes weigh something called ‘compassionate grounds’ against something called ‘immigration regulation concerns’.
When it comes to ‘compassionate grounds’ emphasis will be placed on whether you are an unaccompanied minor who will not receive proper care upon return, if you have been a victim of human trafficking and the kinds of health, social or humanitarian circumstances that exist. The provision states that in cases affecting children, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. It says: "Children can be given a residence permit (...) even if the situation is not so severe that a residence permit would be granted to an adult."
The provisions of the Immigration Regulations § 08-06 from 2009 say something about respect for children's connection to Norway, and circular G-06/2014 from the Ministry of Justice and Public Security says something about an arrangement that can be made for children who have been in the country for a long time and justifications for decisions affecting children.
When it comes to ‘immigration regulation concerns’, the Norwegian government will assess residence permits on the grounds of various political and societal concerns.
As an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker you belong to an especially vulnerable group. Initially after long and established administrative practices, you are entitled to stay in Norway if you do not have parents or other people who can give you proper care upon return. There are several things that play a part in the decision to consider your case. Among those things it is important for the immigration authorities to assess information about your parents, relatives and family structure, information from the child protection agency in your home country, as well as considering various social conditions in your home country.
Your case will also be considered in relation to your age, your needs, and the relationship you have with your caregivers in your home country. A potential caregiver in your home country is not required to have had the responsibility for you as a child before you fled this country. The UDI holds it important that children grow up with their families in a culture that they are familiar with, as far as this can be possible.
If you are an unaccompanied asylum seeker between the ages of 16 -18 years old who is neglected by family/guardian(s) and this is your only reason for seeking asylum, your case will fall under Immigration Regulation § 8-8 which denotes that only temporary permits can be given in these situations. If this is your case, then when you are 18 years old then there will be no reason to allow you stay in Norway and you will be returned to your home country. This is done in order to regulate immigration in Norway and to limit these types of asylum applications. According to Immigration Act § 38, fourth section, a temporary permit cannot be renewed because it does not form the basis for a permanent residence permit.
3. One-year permit
Recently the Ministry of Justice and Public Security in Norway has instructed UDI to give unaccompanied minors seeking asylum one year permits in accordance with Immigration Act. § 38, fourth section. This is a part of strict measures that have been adopted. These strict measures declare why this residence permit is given for only one year: «When there is doubt about a foreigner’s identity, when the need to stay is temporary, or when other special reasons are in place …»
This permit lasts one year but can be renewed. This permit is given on a one-year basis because there is doubt about a person’s identity or because the immigration authorities require that an unaccompanied minor seeking asylum has to provide ID documents in order to prove their identity. This type of permit is mainly given to Afghani unaccompanied minor asylum seekers. In order to renew this permit, the minors with the help of their representatives must acquire documents that certify their identity. Once identity is certified, these minors can attain a passport from their home countries. Afghani children for example have to acquire a document from Afghanistan which is called a «tazkera». By submitting in this document will most of these children receive a passport from the Afghani embassy in Norway. This passport can then be submitted to the immigration authorities in order to certify their identity.
4. Permanent residence permit
With permanent residence you can stay and work in Norway for an unlimited amount time. You have also protection against being expelled. In order to be able to apply for permanent residence permit one must have at least three years of valid residence permits in Norway. In addition, you must be able meet some other requirements:
- You must have stayed in Norway the last three years and have held the valid residence permits that are required in order to apply for a permanent residence permit.
- You must have valid residence permits for the entire three-year period and still have a valid residence permit when you apply for a permanent residence permit.
- You must have stayed in Norway consecutively during the last three years.
- You cannot have a conviction or be sentenced to compulsory psychiatric care or compulsory care in Norway (this applies to person over the age of 15)
- You must have completed compulsory Norwegian language classes and classes about the Norwegian society and passed the exams required after taking these courses or be able to document that you have an exemption from the municipality you reside in (this applies to persons over the age of 16).
When you get a permanent residence permit you will get a residence card that is valid for two years and needs to be renewed every two years. This card is proof that you have been granted a permanent residence permit.
What types of residence permit can I apply for if I am a victim of human trafficking?
If you are a victim of human trafficking, the UDI carries the responsibility of deciding on your application. There are different types of permits that can give you temporary residence permit or work as a foundation for permanent residence permit.
- Applying for protection (asylum): If you apply for protection (asylum) an evaluation will be carried out as to whether or not you are at risk of prosecution or inhumane treatment if returned to your country of origin. If the UDI claims that there is no such risk, there will be conducted a second, more in-depth evaluation to see whether you are eligible for resident permit due to strong human considerations, such as having been victim of human trafficking (cf. the Immigration Act § 38). Considerations regarding the principle of “the best interests of the child”, ergo what is best to protect you, is emphasized in this evaluation.
- Residence permits for witnesses in cases concerning human trafficking: If you have given testimony in a court trial, this could give you the right to get a residence permit, which again could give you permanent residence permit (cf. the Immigration Act § 38, Immigration Regulations Section 8-4, and Instruction GI 2010-031 from the Ministry of Justice and Public Security). Permanent residence permit will be considered after you have applied for asylum.
- Period of reflection and limited residence permit: If you are a victim of human trafficking, you have the right to apply for a so-called period of reflection. In this period you are to contemplate whether or not you would want to press charges regarding your case as a victim of human trafficking (cf. the Immigration Regulations Section 8-3 (1), and UDIs circular RS 2010-141). In this period of reflection it is important that you accept the help you are offered, and that you follow up on the measures you are offered. The period of reflection cannot be renewed, but you could be given a temporary residence permit for up to one year if it is deemed necessary in order to prosecute the traffickers.
What happens if I'm granted a residence permit?
If you are granted a residence permit, you are entitled to receive help to find a place to live in one of the municipalities in Norway, and to find a place to work or study. You will be given a travel document and a residence card, and it is your guardian’s responsibility to make sure that you receive these documents. You can find more information on this topic here. For more information on residence conditions, check out this.
If you want to make a complaint on a decision, you are to contact the UNE. UNE receives your file from the UDI, except if the UDI alters the decision after you have appealed your complaint. UNE will reevaluate your case, and they have the power to change UDI's decision.
Your lawyer is responsible for the actual sending of the complaint to the UDI, and this has to happen within three weeks after you received information about the decision. It is highly important that you share with your lawyer whatever information he or she might need to portray your case and your complaint about the decision to the UDI.
As an example, UNE can grant you a residence permit in spite of UDI's rejection. If the UDI rejects your application and the UNE does not alter this decision, you can still apply for an alteration by sending an appeal to change UNE’s decision.
In order to be allowed to send an appeal to change UNE’s decision, there has to be some new aspects to the case that weren't available or visible during the first evaluation. You could also get a court trial of your case, but that would be very expensive and imply high costs. You can write your own appeal or you can get help from someone you know. Either way, it is highly advisable that you receive help from a lawyer on writing this sort of appeal. You can contact NOAS for questions regarding free legal aid. You might contact NOAS for questions regarding free legal aid.
If your appeal is rejected that means that you have received a so-called final rejection on you residence permit application. This means that you will have to leave Norway. To leave Norway is called “to be returned”.
However, if your application is rejected, the Norwegian government is not allowed to send you home against your will, unless the UDI deems you to be of the age of 18 or higher. If the UDI claims that you have a family in your home country that can take care of you sufficiently, the UDI is responsible for locating this family and to reunite you with it. If not, they are unable to send you back to your home country.
If the UDI has etablished contact with your family in your home country, you will have to leave Norway. The prerequisite is that the UDI has made sure that the information about your family is correct, and that it is safe for you to return. If this is the case, the best thing to do, is to leave voluntarily. In this way, you can apply to the UDI for assisted return, so that they can cover the expenses and give you some financial support related to your return. International Organization for Migration (IOM) has a project concerning assisted return.
On arriving in Norway, after the police have interviewed you, you will be taken to a centre for asylum seekers. Here you will stay your first period in Norway. It is Bufetat (the Child Welfare Services in Norway) who are responsible for your welfare if you are an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker under the age of 15. You will then be placed at a welfare center, which is a kind of child welfare institution. When living in such an institution, you will receive more support from your carers than at an asylum reception centre. If you are between 15 and 18 years old, theUDIare responsible for you, and you will be placed at an asylum reception centre for unaccompanied minor asylum seekers. Only youth between 15 and 18 years of age are allowed to live in these kind of centers.
Many different authorities and voluntary organizations work to make the Child Welfare Services responsible for all unaccompanied minors under 18 years, not only ones under 15 years. This is because the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Ombudsman for Children in Norway claim that it is illegal to differentiate between different types of unaccompanied minor asylum seekers, and provide different kind of services to children on the basis of their age.
If you have any worries about some people you are in contact with that try to hurt you and/ or harm you in any way, or if you suspect that somebody is exploiting you to do some kind of work or services that can be categorized as human trafficking, you must talk to the people working at the institution.
If you get your residence permit, the settlement process begins. The decision on your residence permit will be sent to your lawyer, who is responsible for explaining the content of the letter. Your representative/ guardian is to make sure that this is being done with an interpreter present, so that you can fully understand the content.
If you are over the age of 15, it is IMDi who carries the responsibility to finding a place where you can live in one of Norway’s municipalities. If you are under the age of 15, this responsibility belongs to the Child Welfare Services.
Considerations such as your age and whether you have relatives in Norway shall be emphasized in considering and deciding on where you can live. Additionally, it shall be taken into consideration how long you have waited for a place to reside. If you are under the age of 15, the individual survey plan (called the KOPP) provided by your welfare center will be an important document for the municipality that will be receiving you. If you are over the age of 15, your municipality will read and make arrangements for you according to the individual survey plan (called the IKP) of the UDI or the asylum reception center. In this individual survey plan you can write down your wishes, as to where you want to stay and other things that are of importance to you when arriving and residing at the place where you will live.
Therefore, it is important that you talk to the employees at the welfare center/ centre for asylum seekers about this, and ask them you include your wishes in your individual survey plan.
You may discuss your preferred place of residence with your representative, and listen to his or her reflections on where he or she thinks you should stay. You may also talk to your representative during the settlement process, and ask whatever you would like to know regarding your new life in the new municipality. The guardian/representative can add an attachment to your individual survey plan if he or she disagrees with the statements uttered about you in the individual survey plan. If you are given a social security number before you move, it is the guardian/representative who are to help you with things such as school, residence card, refugee travel document or immigrant’s passport.
As unaccompanied minor asylum seeker in Norway, there are different solutions as to what kind of place of residence you are given by a municipality:
- Foster homes are common if you are below the age of 15.
- You may be placed with your relatives who are already living in Norway
- If you are over the age of 15, it is common with a sort of residence fellowship, supervised by welfare workers.
- If you are over the age of 15 and wish to live by yourself, you may be placed in a small apartment or at a dorm. This, however, will not be supervised by welfare workers. You will only have people checking on you from time to time.
- For some unaccompanied minor asylum seekers it will be preferable to live at an institution in order to receive proper care.
Where can I get medical assistance?
If you are in need of immediate medical assistance, call 113 or go to the local emergency room. You can also call 116 117 for free, for medical advice.
One of the first things that happen after you have arrived in Norway, is a mandatory tuberculosis test. If you have this disease, you should get treatment. If you have a serious health problem that you know of, you should inform your health care professional about this.
As an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker you are entitled to all of the health care in Norway, in line with Norwegian citizens. If your asylum application gets rejected, you will lose the right to a general practitioner, but you can still get help from the school health services, health clinic and emergency room etc.
Health services associated with asylum reception centres and care centres are organized somewhat differently in the various municipalities in Norway. It is the municipal health service that stands behind health services in asylum reception centres. According to regulations from the Norwegian Directorate of Health (Helsedirektoratet), the health services in the various municipalities should be equally good and provide the same good quality to all patients regardless of where you stay in Norway.
Health care professionals in Norway has an identification obligation, that is to say that they have an independent responsibility to notify child welfare if they suspect you may be exposed to exploitation / trafficking. Unfortunately, the situation today is that not all health care workers have enough knowledge about human trafficking. An example of health care workers who does have good knowledge of the subject matter, and who can give you good advice on this, is the outreach contacts (Utekontakten) found in many different cities and municipalities in Norway. See contact information for outreach contacts here.
If you are under 16, you are entitled or obliged to go to school, if it is likely that you will be in Norway for more than three months.
Are you between 16 and 19 years, you may be allowed to go to school, but you have no compulsory school attendance.
Am I allowed to work in Norway?
If you are in the asylum phase, you cannot get a work permit in Norway. After you have obtained a residence permit, you can work. In Norway, there are rules for how much children and young people are allowed to work, how your working hours can be and how wages and working conditions is a minimum requirement. In Norway there is a law called the Working Environment Act, which regulates this. Talk to the guardian or representative if you have any questions in relation to this.
If you've got an internship at a workplace, you may receive less pay or work more than this. That's because the internship provides an opportunity to gain work experience, which lays the foundation for further work within a specific profession. If you are in doubt about the working conditions, working hours and salary where you work, you need to talk to the staff where you live. If you work beyond what is allowed, it may be that someone exploits you in forced labor. See more about this here.
Which basic rights do I have according to the UN Children's Convention and Norwegian law?
As a child, you have rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). There are four principles of the CRC, which are of paramount importance. These are the principles of the best interests of the child (Art. 3-1), the principle of non-discrimination (art. 2), the right to life and development (Art. 6), the principle of the child's right to be heard (Art. 12).
In addition, these articles are important:
- Art. 3-2 - on the state's obligation to ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for the child's well being.
- Art. 24 - on the right to health care services
- Art. 27 - on the right to adequate standard of living
- Art. 28 – on the right to education
- Art. 22 – concerning additional protection to refugee children
As an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker the Norwegian Child Welfare Act As an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker the Norwegian Child Welfare Act is also important. The Act applies to all children residing in Norway, legally or illegally, cf. the Child Welfare Act § 1-1. Chapter 5A is particularly important. This chapter concerns the stay at the care centers, and applies to you if you are under 15, and thus under the child welfares care cf. § 5A-1. The law states that the offer of a care centre shall apply from the time you are transferred from the immigration authorities to Bufetat until you are resident in a municipality or leave Norway. See more about care centers here.
Care centers have the daily care for you as an unaccompanied minor asylum seeker. This implies the responsibility to provide adequate care and security and help ensure that you get the follow-up and treatment you need. If your needs according to the care centre's assessment can not be handled in a satisfactory manner at the care centre, or if you would want to stay outside the care centre, the care centre should notify child welfare services for the assessment of whether it should be implemented special measures under the Child Welfare Act, Chapter 4.
myRights.no is developed by the non-profit and non- governmental youth organizations lightup Norway and Press - Save the Children Youth Norway.
Our aim is that myRights will provide you with important and accessible information. On this site, you can find everything you need to know about your rights as unaccompanied minor asylum seeker here in Norway. You will also find link to important organizations and actors that may help you here in Norway.
We hope that you can learn more about your rights, and especially about what human trafficking looks like, and how this form of exploitation may be experienced. You will find information about where you can seek help if you experience problems similar to the ones we describe on this site.
We are currently working on translating the information into different languages. You are welcome to use the contact box if you have any enquiries about this site, or if you want the website to be translated into your language! You are welcome to stop by and visit us! lightup's office is in Markveien 6 at Grünerløkka, and the office of Press is in Storgata 38.
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