Norway finally ready for more refugees

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Just a day after a refugee aid group blasted Norwegian officials for being slow at taking in more refugees, state immigration agency UDI announced that around 20 will be flown to Norway this week from Italy, where they’ve been languishing in refugee camps. At least another 1,480 are due by the end of next year.

Indoor tents like these at UDI's asylum reception center in Råde, south of Oslo, will be the first stop for refugees arriving in Norway later this week who have been living in camps in Italy. PHOTO: UDI/Hero

Indoor tents like these at UDI’s asylum reception center in Råde, south of Oslo, will be the first stop for refugees arriving in Norway later this week who have been living in camps in Italy. PHOTO: UDI/Hero

Ann-Magrit Austenå, head of the refugee advocacy organization NOAS, had harshly criticized the government on Tuesday. She blamed it for being slow to follow up on their commitment to take in 1,500 of the refugees currently stuck in camps in Southern Europe and elsewhere. Even though Norway is not a member of the European Union, it agreed to support the EU’s refugee relocation program and volunteered to take in the 1,500 by the end of 2017.

Norway also agreed to take in 600 Syrian refugees currently in Turkey as part of the refugee agreement between the EU and Turkey. The numbers are tiny, though, compared to the millions of displaced people who need new homes.

Austenå claimed it was “embarrassing” that Norway has been so slow to take in just the 20 now due to arrive. “Norwegian authorities can’t possibly have done everything in their power when it comes to bringing in refugees now in Italy and Greece,” she told news bureau NTB. “This was agreed in April. Only 170 places have been prepared and still none have arrived. There are certainly no signs that this has been a priority.”

Instead, Norwegian immigration authorities have been shutting down centers set up to accommodate asylum seekers. UDI is still recovering from the influx of 31,000 refugees who arrived in Norway last year, all of whom needed accommodation and processing.

Since then, the asylum wave into Norway has turned into a trickle, with less than 3,500 refugees expected to arrive this year. Several political parties including the Christian Democrats and the Liberals have been urging the government to keep asylum centers open and help more refugees in need, to no avail.

Those due to arrive in Norway have fled Eritrea. Their first stop will be the asylum center set up at Råde in Østfold, south of Oslo, which remains open, receiving only around 30 to 40 people who have made their way to Norway on their own and seek asylum. Berglund

  • inquisitor

    I still cannot figure out how western countries have not negotiated with wealthy Saudi Arabia to take in their own Muslim brethren…as that would be very ideal for all involved.

  • Falcon99xt

    UDI and Norwegian Welfare system (NAV) are already overwhelmed with massive financial burden of refugees. Refugees need accommodation and money for life but since most of them are not well educated, they don’t have any sense of integration importance or any reason for adaptation or at least to be thankful to what been granted. Moreover, NAV is supporting them full financially almost unconditionally. That is why 95% of them are zero-motivated and don’t want to work for their entire life! What do you expect?!
    Most of refugees and asylum seekers (not immigrants) who Norway is willing
    to support them financially, will never ever be part of the Norwegian society
    just because of these wrong policies. If you are welcoming someone to your
    country, if you are supporting them all-inclusive, i.e. giving them warm food
    to eat and warm place to live, if you are training them in NAV how to get to
    the job market and make money and pay tax, then you should be also able to teach them how tough will be life without any self-movement! Otherwise, simply you are betraying your whole nation by encouraging people to be more indolent, non-effective and static which in mid-term turns the country to a huge orphanage in all means