Norway has decided to handpick 500 'elite' refugees who will be placed at super asylum centres where they will be given special language and culture training to help them integrate into society and into work, according to reports.
The selected refugees will also be entitled to a performance-related cash bonus scheme when they progress in their training. However, they will have to sign motivational contracts and be prepared for tough demands on their performance.
The first five super asylum centres will be opened by the end of the year in Oslo, Steinkjer, Larvik, Bodø and Kristiansand, with more centres to be opened in 2017, reports The Times.
The centres will offer skilled migrants Norwegian language classes as well as culture and job training, and career counselling to help them find work as soon as possible.
Defending the move, Sylvi Listhaug, the Minister for Immigration and Integration from the right-wing Progress Party said: "Setting up the centres is a key step in the government's drive to integrate the asylum seekers into our society."
She said that those who have been selected will have to be prepared for tough demands on their performance. She said those who fail to live up to their part of the contract will be sent back to the normal asylum reception centres.
"It is important to remember that integration is no quick fix. We want to be fair but for it to work we also have to make demands," Listahaug said.
Not all Norweigans support super asylum centres
The proposal for 'super asylum centres' has drawn criticism, with some describing them as as an elite project for a tiny minority.
Helga Pederson from the Labour Party said: "We need to integrate many thousands of people and this only tends to 500. It is not enough to tackle the huge integration challenge we are having."
Similarly, Bård Vegar Solhjell, of the Socialist Left Party, described the move as a "very bad solution." He said: "The aim must be to give all who will probably be granted residence in Norway good integration from day one."