Norway’s immigration agency UDI (Utlendingsdirektoratet) has been testing more young asylum seekers, and found that many are older than they say they are. Nearly a quarter of those who claim to be under the age of 18 are in fact older, and thus not entitled to the benefits accorded to minors.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported on Thursday that UDI has been subjecting far more young asylum seekers who arrive in Norway with no certifiable identification papers to X-ray exams of their hands and teeth. The results are used to determine their age.
“We saw that many in this group were older than 18,” Bente Skarprud Aavik of UDI told NRK. UDI claims that older asylum seekers have caused trouble at asylum centers for minors around Norway, and shouldn’t be allowed to live there.
Weeding them out has improved conditions at centers for underage refugees, who also are entitled to more educational and other social welfare benefits while they await processing of their cases. Advocates for asylum seekers, however, are skeptical of the X-ray screenings, claiming they have a margin of error that’s too high and can’t be relied on to determine age.