Norway glad Russia will probe refugee document fraud

Bookmark and Share

The Norwegian government minister in charge of asylum and immigration issues said Sunday that she’s glad Russian authorities are investigating claims that a former diplomat in Russia’s  foreign ministry issued false papers that provided documentation to issue work visas to around 1,000 Syrians.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported during the weekend that many of the Syrian refugees are believed to have later traveled the so-called Arctic route through Russia to cross the border into Norway at Storskog, and seek asylum.

“This is first and foremost a serious case for Russian authorities, and I see it’s being followed up there,” Norwegian government minister Sylvi Listhaug told state broadcaster NRK. “It’s always unfortunate if papers are issued on false premises.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov had pointed to document falsification as a main reason why Russia blocked returns of refugees that Norwegian authorities found to be lacking a need for asylum in Norway. Listhaug said she wasn’t surprised, though, that many of the refugees arriving in Norway last year lacked legitimate documents.

“It’s quite common that papers are falsified, or that asylum seekers don’t have any papers at all,” Listhaug told NRK. “That can be because they paid smugglers along the way. It’s always serious when papers are falsified, but this is most serious for Russian authorities.”

newsinenglish.no staff