Government drops refugee return centers

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The Norwegian government won’t be building new centers to house rejected refugees after all. Justice ministry officials decided the centers would be too expensive.

Pål Lønseth, state secretary in the ministry, said the government would instead put a priority on other measures aimed at expediting the return of those whose applications for asylum have been rejected. They include economic support for those who leave Norway voluntarily.

The project to build new centers was launched last fall after months of unrest at basic centers that amounted to little more than holding facilities for those awaiting deportation. Some of the centers were burned down or vandalized last summer.

The government sought offers for construction and operation of new return centers, but when bids came in, the project became “much more expensive” than expected, Lønseth told newspaper Aftenposten.

Now those who won’t be allowed to remain in Norway will be offered housing in normal asylum centers but in separate areas from those still waiting for their applications to be processed.

Views and News staff