Norway’s state systems work to help the discriminated integrate, but those moving for love often have to manage themselves.
“Refugees and asylum seekers have specialised consultants to relate to. They have an introduction programme and become integrated through this. However, those immigrating due to marriage have no agency which looks after, or helps them in society,” Gunhild Thunem, senior researcher at the KUN centre for gender equality, told NRK.
Between five and six thousand foreigners choose to tie the knot with Norwegian citizens each year. The government has recently announced changes to the rules for so-called family reuinification and modernised Norway's residence permits.
Norway’s Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi) has a multi-language website giving practical information about topics such as moving, permits, healthcare, and language courses, but public assistance for marriage migrants is poor. Many immigrants also choose to move back to their home country after a short period in Norway.
“It [settling in Norway] depends on how good they are at manoeuvring their way around in the system and orientating themselves. They might depend on chance, their spouse, their spouse’s network when requiring help,” declared Gunhild Thunem.
Hungarian Lajoch Dechi told the broadcaster, “We went online and found out to do things. I doubt that anyone would have assisted us if we hadn’t done it ourselves.”
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