Minister: integration bill is just around the corner (KvF)

It is proving difficult to reach agreement on what level of Faroese language proficiency is required for permanent residency

A legal framework for integration in the Faroes has been in the making for years, but now it is just about ready, vows integration minister Magnus Rasmussen.

“The draft bill is ready. We are currently looking over the details in our ministry after which it will be sent out to the coalition parties for review,” he says.

“Then it will be sent out for public consultation. The bill will be submitted to Parliament by the end of the year or very early next year.”

A situational report on the challenges of integration, published in 2019, states that “To achieve permanent residency in the Faroe Islands, immigrants are required to know the Faroese language and have an understanding of Faroese society”.

The minister says he cannot at this time go into further details about these requirements.

“This is one of the details we are discussing right now. Personally, I think it is fair to expect some level Faroese language proficiency, but we should not expect language expertise.”

According to Elisabeth Holm, PhD in language and integration, the state authorities carry the main responsibility for ensuring that immigrants learn the Faroese language.

“Each individual immigrant has a certain degree of responsibility for learning Faroese,” she says.

“But the authorities that issue residency permits to immigrants are also responsible for creating a system which facilitates inclusion in the labour market. The current 'laissez-faire' approach to integration is getting us nowhere.”

This view is echoed by Marita Rasmussen, who heads the House of Industry:

“It is not entirely fair to expect employers to take full responsibility for providing language tuition,” she says.

“Employers primarily hire people based on their work skills and not necessarily based on their language skills.”

Magnus Rasmussen said last month that all individuals, employees, organisations, religious communities, etc. will need to work together to help immigrants become an active part of daily life in the Faroe Islands.



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