As a result of the outbreak of Covid-19 and the severe restrictions imposed, many foreign workers in Longyearbyen have lost their income base due to layoffs. Several of the foreign workers in Longyearbyen are not covered by the usual Norwegian layoff measures. In order to remedy the acute and difficult situation, the government has now come up with its own time-limited subsidy scheme for these workers.

The purpose of the subsidy scheme is to contribute to the subsistence for foreign workers who, in an extraordinary situation, are not entitled to unemployment benefits or other benefits that cover subsistence allowances in accordance with ordinary Norwegian rules.

The subsidy scheme is intended to mitigate the consequences of layoffs as a result of the measures taken to limit the outbreak of covid-19, and is time-limited and shall provide financial security for the laid off and their families for a period before returning to work or leaving Svalbard.

The scheme does not provide a basis for a precedent.

The subsidy scheme applies to persons who meet these requirements: 
a) Is laid off from work in the Longyearbyen plan area
b) Is registered in the population registry for Svalbard with a residential address in the Longyearbyen plan area
c) Is not a national of nor has a residence permit in an EU / EEA country
d) Has been subject to Svalbard tax in 2020 through work at the current employer
e) Staying in the Longyearbyen plan area
Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements may also receive subsidies for children under the age of 18 who meet the requirements under subparagraphs (b) and (e), which the applicant is responsible for and who is part of the applicant's household.

Subsidies can be made from the date the employee does not receive salary due to layoffs. The subsidies can be given no earlier than from 19 March 2020.

The Ministry of Justice and Public Security has given the Longyearbyen Community Council the responsibility for handling the subsidy scheme.

The Longyearbyen Community Council is now preparing for the application process. A personal application form and more information about the scheme will be announced shortly on the Longyearbyen Community Council's website.

Longyearbyen, 30 March 2020
Hege Walør Fagertun
Head of Administration