Nearly 60 passengers arriving in Norway on a new low-fare airline route between Macedonia and Sandefjord’s Torp Airport sought asylum earlier this summer. All of them have been rejected, reports local newspaper Sandefjords Blad.
Low-fare carrier Wizz Air launched the route on June 29 between Sandefjord, around a two-hour drive south of Oslo, and the Macedonian capital of Skopje. Sandefjords Blad wrote that the first eight flights that landed included 58 asylum seekers.
All of the roughly 200 would-be refugees from Albania and Macedonia who’ve had their asylum applications processed this year have been turned down, according to immigration agency UDI. Police responsible for initially handling asylum applications at Torp had to boost staffing because of the sheer numbers of people involved.
Police suspect that the relatively large numbers suggest the trips were organized, and that the passengers had received incorrect information about requirements for asylum in Norway.
“We have unfortunately heard from some of the families with small children who are in a difficult economic situation that they had been told they can get work in Norway by applying for asylum,” Monica T Olsen of the Vestfold Police District told Sandefjords Blad. That’s not correct, and none of the refugees arriving met asylum requirements.
Some of the rejected refugees have appealed the decisions and remain in Norway. The majority reportedly have been sent back to Macedonia and word of their rejection seems to have cut off the refugee stream. None of the passengers on the last three flights from Skopje sought asylum.