In six years, interpreting costs have increased by 72 per cent to NOK 843 million a year. – Something is wrong, says Frps Himanshu Gulati.
In recent years, there has been an explosive increase in interpretation costs. It is a right in the legislation for anyone who does not have good enough Norwegian skills. Interpreting services are widely used in both the judicial system, in meetings with the immigration authorities, the health service, the police and the Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration.
In many areas, agencies may also be required to use an interpreter to ensure that they understand the content well enough.
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In recent years, interpreting costs have skyrocketed. In 2013, 490 million was spent on interpreting services by the public sector. In 2019, the figure was up to NOK 843 million. That is a 72 percent increase. On average, a taxpayer pays NOK 136,300 in taxes. This means that the expenses correspond to the tax contribution to 6184 taxpayers.
The figures appear from reports from the Directorate for Integration and Diversity (IMDi).
The languages Arabic, Tigrinya (Ethiopia / Eritrea) and Somali in particular are at the top of the statistics. In fourth place is Polish.
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The Progress Party believes it is completely wrong to spend so much money on interpreting services – especially for people who have lived in Norway for a long time. They therefore put forward proposals to tighten the rights.
– We are concerned about the explosive growth in interpreting costs. Today, you can get free interpreting services paid for by taxpayers even if you have lived in Norway for 20 years and have Norwegian citizenship. Then something is wrong, says parliamentary representative Himanshu Gulati (Frp).
– But if you do not know Norwegian, you must understand the content of information from the public sector?
– When someone has been in Norway for many years, even obtained Norwegian citizenship, then one must be able to expect them to master Norwegian. If you still need an interpreter, you can not expect the community to pay for it, says Gulati.
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The proposal submitted to the Storting requests that the right be removed for everyone who has lived in Norway for more than five years. In addition, the party asks to find new ways to cut costs.
Gulati believes it is about making tougher demands on people before they get citizenship.
– It is important that we make demands on people when they receive rights from the state. Yes, we will have interpreting services for those who need this. But somewhere the limit must go for what the community will pay for, he says.
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