Norwegian Immigration Minister Anders Borg said the new legislation is “not only fair, but good for Norway and good for the world”.
“This is an important step forward, as it is a change of attitude towards people who arrive in Norway and who are looking for asylum,” he said.
“The Norwegian government does not consider it to be a problem to ask for a visa for people who are in this situation.
The people who have been here a long time, who have worked here for years, and have not committed any crimes and who do not pose a threat to Norway or to Norway’s society, can be granted a visa, which is absolutely necessary for them.”
Norwegian authorities have so far refused to issue visas for people from China, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan and Syria, among others.
The Norwegian Refugee Council, a government-backed organisation that represents about 10,000 refugees in Norway, said that although the government is trying to reduce the numbers of people seeking asylum in the country, it remains “an open door for people to enter Norway illegally”.
“They can enter, but they must abide by all of the laws of the country.
If they do not comply with all the rules, they can be deported,” Kristian Heitner, the council’s secretary-general, said.
A spokesman for Norway’s Foreign Ministry said the bill is “good news” and will help tackle the problem of immigration from China.
“There are still thousands of people in China, many of whom have no right to remain in the UK, who do have a right to be here,” he told Reuters.
“We hope that this will be an important part of the future of Norway.”
China has long been a concern for the Norwegian government and immigration authorities, with the government facing criticism for not having a plan in place to deal with asylum seekers from the country after its 2014 decision to return thousands of migrants from Myanmar.
Norway has had some success in managing the influx of asylum seekers and refugees from China into Norway, as well as from other countries in Europe.
It has been a slow-moving process, however, with some of those who have sought asylum in Norway still waiting in detention centres in neighbouring Denmark.
Norwegian officials say the new measures will help them to identify those people who should be able to stay in the United Kingdom.
“This will give us a better picture of the numbers coming to our country, and we can use that information to better assess the needs of our people,” Heitners said.