Photo: Eirik Bryhn Jacobsen.
Photo: Eirik Bryhn Jacobsen.

NSO speaks up: make life easier for international students

International student visa fees increased by 65 percent earlier this year. Now NSO demands changes for visa fees, work rights, and economic issues.

Lower the visa fee for international students, speed up the bureaucratic processes when obtaining a bank account, and make it more flexible to work: these were all part of a resolution passed at the national meeting of the Norwegian Student Organization (NSO) last weekend.

The resolution demanded that barriers international students face need to be lowered.

See ISU Norway's statement here

«The economic barrier can be a big obstacle for good students to come to Norway,» says Jone Trovåg, who is responsible for international issues in NSO.

More than 100,000 NOK in cash

To study in Norway as an international student your cash savings have to be minimum 116,369 NOK.

«This can be several years of income in some countries,» says Trovåg.

In addition to the savings, students have to pay a visa fee of 5,300 NOK every year.

«These are the key problems in a nut shell,» says Erik Kimathi, national president in International Students’ Union (ISU), who was involved with writing the new resolution.

When we have these high demands on capital support we risk only getting rich students here – but not necessarily the best ones.

Jone Trovåg, NSO

He explains it is important to encourage international students to come to Norway, since only 15 percent of Norwegian students go on exchange.

«So that Norway can facilitate internationalization at home,» Kimathi added.

Tyler Barrott is a representative in the UiO Student Parliament. He is a member of the international student-oriented party Internationalista. Archive photo: Marianne Demmo.
Tyler Barrott is a representative in the UiO Student Parliament. He is a member of the international student-oriented party Internationalista. Archive photo: Marianne Demmo.

Worried about «luxury internationalization»

The resolution is supported by Tyler Barrott, international representative in the Student Parliament (SP).

«I’m worried that the fee requirements could lead to luxury internationalization, characterized for example by rich, white Americans who prefer skiing to spending their exchange year on the beach in Spain,» Barrott said.

Internationalization is symbolized by a broad diversity with people of different nationalities, ethnicities, religions and so on.

Tyler Barrott, SP representative

The international representative is not alone with these fears.

«We wish for the best students to come to Norway, and when we have these high demands on capital support we risk only getting rich students here – but not necessarily the best ones,» says Trovåg.

Internationalization isn’t about the amount of international people, says Barrott:

«Internationalization is symbolized by a broad diversity with people of different nationalities, ethnicities, religions and so on.»