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Norsk

UDI circulars

Document-ID : RS 2011-046
Case-ID : 11/2865-8 (18/00038-1)
Documentdate : 02.02.2018
Receiver :

Chiefs of Police
The foregin service missions
Everyone in the Directorate of Immigration

First-time residence permits and renewal for religious leaders and teachers – Section 23 first paragraph of the Immigration Act, cf. Section 6-1 second paragraph and Section 10-21 of the Immigration Regulations


1. Introduction

1.1. More stringent qualification requirements

1.2. Delimitation in relation to the Immigration Regulations Section 6-1 first paragraph, Section 6-23 second paragraph, Section 1-1 second paragraph and Section 1-1a

2. Definitions

2.1. Religious leaders

2.2. Religious teachers

3. The conditions for the permits

3.1. Qualifications

3.2. Pay and assured subsistence

3.2.1. Pay

3.2.2. Subsistence

3.3. Other conditions

4. Application procedure

5. Documentation requirements

6. Verification

7. Power of decision

8. Content and duration of the permit

9. Provisions that religious leaders and/or teachers are not covered by, or the permit does not entail a right to

10. Renewal

10.1. Documentation

10.2. Power of decision

1. Introduction

The Directorate of Immigration (UDI) can issue more detailed guidelines concerning which groups are covered by Section 6-1 second paragraph of the Immigration Regulations ('more stringent qualification requirements') and what conditions apply.

This circular provides guidelines for residence permits for religious leaders and teachers.

The other group covered by the aforementioned provision are ethnic cooks. For more information, see circular RS 2012-003.

1.1. More stringent qualification requirements

Pursuant to more detailed rules issued by the King in regulations, a residence permit can be granted in order to perform work for an employer in the realm, cf. Section 23 first paragraph of the Immigration Act. Pursuant to Section 6-1 first paragraph of the Immigration Regulations, a residence permit can be granted to employees whose vocational training at least corresponds to upper secondary school level, who have a craft certificate or education from a university college or university or have special qualifications, when certain requirements are met. An applicant with such qualifications is designated a skilled worker.

When special considerations so indicate, more stringent conditions may be imposed for categories of applicants, by requiring specialist training at a higher level than upper secondary school, cf. Section 6-1 second paragraph of the Immigration Regulations. It follows from well-established administrative practice relating to the Immigration Act of 1988 and the Immigration Regulations of 1990 that more stringent qualification requirements shall apply to ethnic cooks and religious leaders and teachers. Pursuant to the preparatory works to the Immigration Act of 2008 and the Immigration Regulations of 2009, this practice will be continued. Reference is also made in this connection to Circular A-63/09 (Circular on the entry into force of the new Immigration Act and new Immigration Regulations from 1 January 2010), Appendix 6.

1.2. Delimitation in relation to the Immigration Regulations Section 6-1 first paragraph, Section 6-23 second paragraph, Section 1-1 second paragraph and Section 1-1a

The Immigration Regulations set out a number of provisions that regulate residence for work related to religious activities. The main factor is what kind of work the applicant intends to perform in relation to whether he or she requires a residence permit and if so, under which provision.

A person who is offered work as a religious leader and/or teacher must exclusively be considered in relation to Section 6-1 second paragraph of the Immigration Regulations, unless he or she is exempt from the requirement for a permit for employment relationships of a duration of up to three months, cf. Section 1-1 second paragraph of the Immigration Regulations. It is in such case a requirement that the person is deemed a preacher and that the need for this labour does not exceed three months. Further details about this exemption provision are set out in circular RS 2011-032.

A person who is not taking employment as a religious leader and/or teacher, but who, through his or her work, can be deemed to work for a religious organisation, shall be considered pursuant to Section 6-23 second paragraph of the Immigration Regulations. Further details about this provision are set out in circular RS 2010-099. However, if the person in question meets the conditions for a residence permit as a skilled worker pursuant to Section 6-1 first paragraph of the Immigration Regulations, he or she shall be granted a permit on this basis.

A person who has an asylum application under consideration, who holds a residence permit for work or study, or who has stayed in Norway with a visa or is not subject to a visa requirement, can perform voluntary unremunerated work, cf. Section 1-1A of the Immigration Regulations, that does not require a residence permit. The exemption provision applies, among other things, to voluntary unremunerated work performed for religious organisations. It is emphasised that this type of work does not in itself form grounds for residence. For more information about the provision, see Circular G-05/2011(Entry into force – amendments to the Immigration Regulations – new Section 1-1A – Voluntary unremunerated work that does not require a residence permit).

2. Definitions

To be covered by the guidelines in this circular, the foreign national must be deemed to be a religious leader or teacher during his or her stay in Norway. In other words, it is the work to be performed for the employer in Norway that is decisive. Previous work experience may nonetheless be of significance when considering whether the more stringent qualification requirements apply.

It is emphasised that the guidelines apply to two groups, i.e. when the applicant is either a religious leader and/or a religious teacher.

2.1. Religious leaders

By religious leader is meant in this context, and in a broad sense, a person who exercises a leading position in a faith community. This must be considered in relation to the applicant’s actual tasks at the place of work, rather than the religion/faith community’s hierarchy in general.

For example, a priest will as a rule be deemed a religious leader of a church.

2.2. Religious teachers

By religious teacher is meant in this context, and in a broad sense, a person who performs tasks that entail teaching/communicating knowledge about religion, faith communities etc.

3. The conditions for the permits

Both the general conditions for residence permits for employees pursuant to Section 23 first paragraph of the Immigration Act, and the special conditions for a residence permit as a skilled worker pursuant to Section 6-1 of the Immigration Regulations must be met. Sections 3.1 and 3.2 below cover the more stringent qualification requirements and pay conditions in more detail. Section 3.3 covers the other conditions that also apply to skilled workers in general. A more detailed description is provided in circular RS 2014-018.

3.1. Qualifications

As stated in section 1.1 above, religious leaders and teachers are subject to a requirement for specialist training at a level higher than upper secondary education.

This means that the applicant must, as a rule, have been awarded a master’s degree or completed an education at master’s degree level.

Since it is a requirement that the expertise is deemed to be relevant to the position, cf. Section 6-1 first paragraph letter (a) of the Immigration Regulations, see section 3.3 below, the master’s degree must be a subject related to religion and/or education.

There are no requirements for work experience above what is included in the individual religion/faith community’s leader and/or teacher education.

If the religion/faith community that the applicant represents has its own non-secular system for educating its leaders and/or teachers, this must be described. It must be stated as specifically as possible which education and/or practical training the person must have in order to be a leader and/or teacher in the respective religion/faith community. The requirement that the applicant must have a higher level qualification is absolute, but exemptions can be made from the requirement that this must be documented in the form of a master’s degree/education at master’s degree level following a concrete assessment. It is emphasised that information provided on how leaders and/or teachers acquire expertise at a higher level will also be used as the basis for applicants who assume a leader and/or teacher role in the respective religion/faith community at a later date.

3.2. Pay and assured subsistence

3.2.1. Pay

It is a condition that the pay and working conditions are not inferior to the applicable collective agreement or pay scale for the industry in question. If no such collective agreement or pay scale exists, the pay and working conditions must not be inferior to what is normal for the occupation and place concerned, cf. Section 23 first paragraph letter (b) of the Immigration Act.

Normal pay cannot in this context be documented through salary paid to persons who themselves hold a permit pursuant to Chapter 3 of the Immigration Act, or who are exempt from the permit requirement pursuant to Sections 1-1 or 1-1A of the Immigration Regulations.

If a job for which higher education is required is not covered by a collective agreement or pay scale, and what constitutes normal pay cannot be substantiated in some other manner, the applicant shall be paid at least the level stipulated in the Basic Collective Agreement for the Civil Service. The pay a civil service employee with a master’s degree or other second-degree-level education shall be paid is set out in Appendix 1 to circular RS 2010-129.

If, as part of practising his or her religion/faith, the applicant is not permitted to receive money or only a small amount, this must be described. Where the applicant is entitled to receive some form of financial support, it is established administrative practice to deem a minimum of pay grade 1 in the pay scale for state employees as the normal salary for the place and occupation concerned. If the applicant is not entitled to receive any form of financial support, this can be deemed normal for the place and occupation concerned following a concrete assessment. However, it is a requirement that the employer guarantees that the applicant is assured free board and lodging, and similar necessary benefits. In other words, this deviates from the main rule that only monetary compensation shall be taken into account when assessing whether the pay condition is met, cf. circular RS 2010-129.

3.2.2. Subsistence

Irrespective of the pay requirement, means of subsistence and accommodation must be assured, cf. Section 58 of the Immigration Act. Income from full-time work is generally deemed to be sufficient, cf. Section 10-7 first paragraph letter (a) of the Immigration Regulations. It is sufficient in this context that the applicant receives a salary that at least corresponds to 82 % of salary grade 19 in the pay scale for Norwegian state employees, see appendix.

If the applicant is not permitted to receive money as compensation for work, cf. section 3.2.1 above, the term ‘income’ can be broadly interpreted in the sense that payment in kind, in the form of board and lodging etc., can be considered sufficient to meet the subsistence requirement.

The condition of assured subsistence and the pay requirement shall in other words be considered together. It is emphasised that the immigration authorities are not entitled to make exemptions from the pay and subsistence requirements, cf. Section 23 first paragraph letter (b) and Section 58 of the Immigration Act, cf. Section 10-7 of the Immigration Regulations.

3.3. Other conditions

In addition to the more stringent qualification requirements and requirements concerning pay and working conditions and assured subsistence, other conditions also apply to residence permits for religious leaders and teachers. These conditions also apply to persons who apply for a permit pursuant to Section 6-1 first paragraph of the Immigration Regulations (a skilled worker permit) and are discussed in more detail in circular RS 2014-018.

  • The applicant must have an employer in Norway, cf. Section 23 first paragraph of the Immigration Act.
    For religious leaders and teachers, the employer will, as a rule, be a faith community. In accordance with well-established administrative practice, it is a requirement that the religious community has been approved by the County Governor in the relevant county, cf. the Act relating to religious communities, etc.

  • A concrete and current offer of employment must exist, cf. Section 23 first paragraph letter (d) of the Immigration Act.
    The offer of employment must be made on the prescribed offer of employment form and signed by both parties, cf. Section 6-9 first paragraph of the Immigration Regulations.

  • As a rule, the offer of employment must be for full-time work for a single employer, cf. Section 23 first paragraph letter (d) of the Immigration Act.

  • A permit may be granted even though the concrete offer of full-time employment is not for continuous work, cf. Section 23 first paragraph letter (d) of the Immigration Act.

  • The applicant’s qualifications must be deemed to be relevant to the position, cf. Section 6-1 first paragraph letter (a) of the Immigration Regulations.
    See section 3.1 above for a description of what is considered relevant qualifications for religious leaders and teachers.

  • Approval or authorisation must have been granted by the relevant specialist authority in occupations subject to statutory or regulatory qualification requirements, cf. Section 6-1 first paragraph letter (b) of the Immigration Regulations.

  • It is a condition that the applicant is either covered by the quota stipulated by the Ministry of Labour in consultation with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Finance, or that the position cannot be filled by domestic labour or labour from the EEA, cf. Section 23 first paragraph letter (c) of the Immigration Act, cf. Sections 6-1 first paragraph letter (c) and 6-12 of the Immigration Regulations.

  • An accommodation requirement applies, cf. Section 58 of the Immigration Act. Accommodation is deemed to be assured when a house, apartment, bedsit or similar that meets official requirements is at the foreign national's disposal, cf. Section 10-12 of the Immigration Regulations.

4. Application procedure

For detailed information about the application procedure, see circular RS 2014-018.

In order to apply for a residence permit from Norway, the only requirement is that the applicant is a skilled worker, cf. Section 6-1 first paragraph of the Immigration Regulations, cf. Section 10-1 first paragraph letter (a) of the Immigration Regulations. This also applies to religious leaders and teachers. The more stringent qualification requirements only apply when it is being considered whether a permit as a religious leader and/or teacher can be granted pursuant to Section 6-1 second paragraph of the Immigration Regulations.

5. Documentation requirements

As stated in section 1.2 above, the type of work the applicant is to perform is decisive for which provision the application is considered under. By providing detailed information and complete documentation, the applicant and employer can help to ensure that the correct permit is considered and that the case can be processed swiftly.

The body that receives the application must ensure that the applicant has filled in the relevant document list and submitted all documents in accordance with the list. The applicant shall be given a stamped copy of the document list as a receipt for submission of the documents.

The document lists are available on the UDI website:

Original official documents (certificates of education, certificates of service etc.) must be presented to the foreign service mission/police, but they shall not be enclosed with the application. Only copies, certified by the foreign service mission/police, must be enclosed with the application. It is important that it is clearly stated that the foreign service mission/police have seen the original document. A translation of the documents into Norwegian or English by an authorised translator must also be enclosed with the application.

If the applicant does not have a master’s degree, but an education at master’s degree level, the documentation must contain information about the duration and content of the programme and the level of the educational institution. Alternatively, the applicant can submit confirmation from the authorities in the country where the education was taken that the programme is at master's degree level.

If it is not natural within the relevant religion/faith community to take a formal education at a higher level, cf. section 3.1 above, a detailed description of how the leaders and/or teachers are educated in the respective religion/faith community must be provided, as well as documentation of the applicant’s education and/or work experience.

6. Verification

The immigration authorities can verify information and documents presented in the case if the other conditions are deemed to be met. There must be justified doubts about the information provided in the case. For further information about verification, see circular RS 2010-155.

7. Power of decision

Applications for a first-time residence permit for religious leaders and/or teachers are decided by the Directorate of Immigration, cf. Section 65 first paragraph of the Immigration Act.

8. Content and duration of the permit

A residence permit pursuant to Section 6-1 second paragraph of the Immigration Regulations is valid for a specific job for a specific employer, cf. the sixth paragraph of the provision. The job title and name of the employer shall be stated in the administrative decision.

The permit does not entitle its holder to work in a different position or for another employer than stated in the decision, nor to engage in independent business activity as a main or secondary source of income.

The permit can be renewed, cf. Section 61 first paragraph of the Immigration Act and Section 10-21 second paragraph letter (c) of the Immigration Regulations.

The permit forms the basis for a permanent residence permit, cf. Section 60 third paragraph letter (d) of the Immigration Act.

The permit forms the basis for family immigration, cf. Sections 40 to 42 of the Immigration Act.

A first-time residence permit for religious leaders and/or teachers is granted for a period of one year, cf. Section 10-16 second paragraph of the Immigration Regulations, but not, however, for a longer period than that applied for and not for a longer period than the duration of the employment relationship, cf. the fifth paragraph of the provision. If there are considerations indicating that the duration should be further limited, the permit shall be granted for a shorter period. An example of such considerations would be a need, at an earlier point in time, to check whether the conditions for the permit continue to be met. In this context, reference is made to the Immigration Regulations Section 10-16 fifth paragraph last alternative.

9. Provisions that religious leaders and/or teachers are not covered by, or the permit does not entail a right to

Religious leaders and/or teachers and their employers are not covered by the early employment scheme, cf. Section 6-8 second paragraph and Section 10-4 first paragraph of the Immigration Regulations.

A permit granted pursuant to Section 6-1 second paragraph of the Immigration Regulations does not entitle its holder to stay in the country in order to seek work for up to six months after the expiry of the employment relationship, cf. Section 6-11 second paragraph of the Immigration Regulations.

Religious leaders and/or teachers shall not be granted a residence permit in order to seek work, cf. Section 6-29a of the Immigration Regulations.

Religious leaders and/or teachers shall not be granted an entry visa based on a concrete offer of employment from an employer in Norway, cf. Section 3-13 third paragraph of the Immigration Regulations. In this context, reference is made to circular RS 2010-046.

10. Renewal

An application for a residence permit pursuant to Section 6-1 second paragraph of the Immigration Regulations shall be renewed provided that the requirements for a first-time permit are still met, cf. Section 61 first paragraph of the Immigration Act.

A renewed permit can be granted for the same work with the same employer, cf. Section 10-21 second paragraph letter (c) of the Immigration Regulations. The renewed permit will be valid for a specific job and a specific employer.

If the application for renewal is submitted no later than one month before the permit expires, the applicant is entitled to continued residence on the same conditions until the application has been finally decided, cf. Section 61 sixth paragraph of the Immigration Act.

In the case of applications for a residence permit on new factual grounds, the applicant is entitled to continued residence on the same conditions as applied to the previous permit until the application has been finally decided, provided that the application is submitted no later than one month before the permit expires and the applicant has had legal residence pursuant to a previous permit for at least the past nine months, cf. Section 61 seventh paragraph of the Immigration Act.

10.1. Documentation

The application for renewal shall be submitted on the prescribed form to the police in the district where the applicant has his/her permanent place of residence, cf. Section 10-27 of the Immigration Regulations.

Pay slips for the whole period for which the applicant has held a permit must be enclosed, as well as a certificate of pay and tax deducted for the last calendar year.

10.2. Power of decision

Applications for renewal of a residence permit for religious leaders and/or teachers are decided by the Directorate of Immigration, cf. Section 65 first paragraph of the Immigration Act. The police shall therefore send the application to the directorate for consideration.

 

Karl Erik Sjøholt
Head of Department

Contact: The Managed Migration Department, Work Unit

Latest changes
  • New: RS 2011-046 First-time residence permits and renewal for religious leaders and teachers – Section 23 first paragraph of the Immigration Act, cf. Section 6-1 second paragraph and Section 10-21 of the Immigration Regulations (2/2/2018)

    The circular is now available in English.

  • Changed: RS 2011-046 Førstegangs oppholdstillatelse og fornyelse til religiøse ledere og lærere – utlendingsloven § 23 første ledd, jf. utlendingsforskriften § 6-1 annet ledd og utlendingsforskriften § 10-21 (7/4/2013)

    The circular has been updated. The documentation requirements are replaced with a link to the document list on udi.no.

  • Changed: RS 2011-046 Førstegangs oppholdstillatelse og fornyelse til religiøse ledere og lærere – utlendingsloven § 23 første ledd, jf. utlendingsforskriften § 6-1 annet ledd og utlendingsforskriften § 10-21 (1/15/2013)

    The circular is updated due to the repeal of the Immigration Regulations sections 6-2 and 6-30.

  • RS 2011-046 Førstegangs oppholdstillatelse og fornyelse til religiøse ledere og lærere – utlendingsloven § 23 første ledd, jf. utlendingsforskriften § 6-1 annet ledd og utlendingsforskriften § 10-21 (10/16/2012)

    The circular is updated due to changes in the state pay scale for Norwegian state employees. Changes are made to chapters 3.2.1 and 3.2.2, and there is a new annex.

  • RS 2011-046 Førstegangs oppholdstillatelse og fornyelse til religiøse ledere og lærere – utlendingsloven § 23 første ledd, jf. utlendingsforskriften § 6-1 annet ledd og utlendingsforskriften § 10-21 (7/11/2012)

    Punkt 10.1 siste setning er utvidet: Det skal vedlegges lønnsslipper for hele perioden søkeren har hatt tillatelse, samt lønns- og trekkoppgave for det siste kalenderåret.

Norwegian Directorate
of Immigration
Utlendingsdirektoratet
P.O. box 2098 Vika
NO-0125 Oslo
Norway

Editor in Chief: Stephan Mo