UDI boss promises ‘business as usual’

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Norway’s immigration agency UDI (Utlendingsdirektoratet) is currently dealing with a major wave of refugees streaming into Norway, but UDI boss Frode Forfang says that won’t jeopardize processing the residency requests filed by other foreigners arriving in the country.

“We had already increased staff (to help speed up the immigration process, before the refugee stream began),” UDI Director General Frode Forfang told foreign correspondents in Oslo on Tuesday. The meeting was held to outline how UDI is handling the thousands of refugees seeking asylum in Norway.

Forfang cautioned that further funding “depends on political priorities” set by the government. “But nothing so far has led to us having to move cases around,” he said.

UDI has suffered from chronic understaffing, leading to lengthy delays in processing applications for temporary and permanent residence and working permission in Norway, at a time when the country has experienced one of the highest immigration rates in Europe. The addition of new staff was aimed at speeding up processing time, even before the agency was met with the current new demands to accommodate, process and settle newly arriving refugees mostly from Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We’re trying to make sure the other areas of the organization operate as normal, and are stable,” Forfang said. “We’re hoping for ‘business as usual’ there.”

newsinenglish.no staff