In the spring of 2020, the Norwegian government allocated money for subsistence and housing support to alleviate the acute and difficult situation for foreign workers in Longyearbyen. The pandemic is still ongoing and there are still workers who are not back at work. In this situation, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security has given the Longyearbyen Community Council the responsibility of administrating a new grant scheme; travel grants to home country for laid-off foreign employees in Longyearbyen. The Governor of Svalbard will assist with booking airline tickets and assistance in relation to other necessary documents.

The travel grant scheme will facilitate those foreign citizens who live in Svalbard, and who are now unable to support themselves financially; can receive assistance to leave the archipelago. The scheme is limited in time and will cover the purchase of airline tickets and any expenses to obtain the necessary travel documents as well as travel expenses. Flights are booked and paid for by the authorities.

Grants can, upon application, be given to an employee who:
a) Is laid off from work in the Longyearbyen planning area
b) Is registered in the Svalbard population register with a residential address in the Longyearbyen planning area
c) Has been subject to Svalbard tax in 2020 through employment with the current employer
d) Resides in the Longyearbyen planning area

Applicants who meet the requirements in the first paragraph may also receive travel grants for children and cohabitants / spouses / partners who meet the requirements in the first paragraph, letters b and d.

In special cases, grants may be awarded to persons who do not meet the requirements in the first paragraph.

Grants are not given to persons who:
a) There is reason to assume that has come to Svalbard for the purpose of receiving a travel grant
b) There is reason to assume that has been laid off for the purpose of receiving a travel grant
c) There is reason to believe will soon return to Svalbard even he/she will not obtain ordinary work
d) Has a cohabitant, spouse, partner or children under the age of 18 who remain in Longyearbyen, or who
e) Based on the household's total finances can support themselves or finance a trip to their home country by their own means.

Grants are also not given to persons who are wanted, suspected, charged or indicted with a criminal offense, and it is not desirable for that person to leave the country. The responsible prosecuting authority decides whether a criminal case is an obstacle to giving a travel grant.

The Longyearbyen Community Council is now facilitating the application process. A separate application form and more information about the travel grant will soon be announced on the Longyearbyen Community Council's website.


Longyearbyen, 31 August 2020
Hege Walør Fagertun
Head of Administration