Filipina expulsion case leads to law change in Norway

By Macel Ingles, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Jul 21 2010 03:13 PM | Updated as of Jul 21 2010 11:13 PM

OSLO, Norway - Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg bowed to public pressure and announced that its government is changing a law that affects foreigners with Norwegian spouses.

The decision was announced by Stoltenberg in a speech before the Labor Party’s youth organization AOF's annual Sumer Camp at Utøya outside of Oslo.

"The immigration law will be changed such that foreigners with children in Norway who had fulfilled the requirements for family reunification cannot be expelled on the grounds of illegal work,” Stoltenberg said.

The announcement was a turnaround from a previous statement that laws cannot be changed based on an individual case even as he admitted that the law has to be reviewed.

In an interview with TV2 News Chanel television, Ole Kristian Navrud, husband of Laila thanked everyone who supported them in the struggle to stop the expulsion of his Filipina wife. He believes that the massive support they got from the Norwegian public made the change in law possible.

Asked for his reaction to the decision, Navrud said that “it had been a long and painful process” and that it enables them to “get on with life and plan for their future.”

Laila Navrud for her part said that the case taught her it is right “to fight for what is right and her family,” and called the support they got from Norwegians as “fantastic”.

Navrud appeared on television with his wife, Laila and their 8-month-old son, Oskar.

The Filipina was ordered by the Immigration Directorate to leave the country after it found her in violation of her visa when she worked without a proper working permit. The Directorate has issued an order to the Buskerud police to serve the order in the coming four weeks.

Navrud’s case sparked outrage among the Norwegians with Members of Parliament, local politicians, and even lawyers offering their services for free to prevent the government from expelling Laila Navrud and her 8-month-old baby.

Members of the Navrud’s facebook support group, “Støttegruppen for Ole Kristian Navrud og familien” lauded the prime minister’s decision with one member calling it a victory for the “Facebook party” as the

Labor Party buckled under pressure.

The prime minister is a member of the Labor Party.

The Facebook group had more than 89,000 members calling for the review of the case of Navrud and change in the Norwegian law that rams foreigners like Laila.

Laila entered the country as an au pair three years ago and married Norwegian Ole Kristian Navrud in 2008. They applied for family reunification and a working permit for Laila.

The UDI issued a working permit with the code that, unknown to her at that time, stipulated that she can only work as an au pair. This stipulation was not indicated in the actual permit and neither was it made clear to her when she got her permit.

In January 2009, UDI found Navrud in violation of her visa when she reported that she had worked at a bakery and café.

The change in law on residence permit for foreigners will have implications for foreigners in Norway, especially Filipinas who entered the country as au pair, and those who have opted to stay longer and marry Norwegians.