Follow the money: Income requirements in Norwegian Immigration Regulations
Helga Eggebø
Anne Balke Staver
Academic chapter/article/Conference paper
Cambridge University Press
Year published:
Following the 2015 refugee crisis, Norwegian politicians introduced proposals to extend a family reunification income requirement to refugee sponsors and to introduce an income requirement for permanent residence. Family sponsors must make enough money to qualify; and migrants must ‘get to work’ to qualify for permanent stay. This chapter seeks to explain why one of the income requirements was implemented and the other not. It harnesses Carol Lee Bacchi’s approach to policy analysis, asking, ‘What is the problem represented to be?’ in a close reading of relevant documents. It finds the two requirements inscribed into different narratives. One narrative establishes the arrival of an unprecedented number of asylum seekers foremost as a problem for the Norwegian society and the sustainability of the welfare state. An alternative problem representation brings attention to the concrete effects of such requirements on specific groups of refugees. The analysis identifies an economic drift and stratification of migrants’ rights. It argues this drift is part of the more general development in Europe, where money has become a more important tool to regulate migration.