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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Asylum seekers numbers continue to dive

Only 228 asylum seekers arrived in Norway in November, the lowest level so far this year and the lowest level in nearly 20 years. The sharp decline after last year’s refugee influx of more than 31,000 is linked to stricter asylum policies, forced returns and tougher border control all over Europe.

All told, just over 3,000 asylum seekers fron 105 countries had arrived by December 1, but more than half of them came from Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea, Iraq and Somalia. Around 10 percent are minors arriving on their own, according to the latest batch of monthly numbers from immigration agency UDI.

A total of 14,910 asylum seekers were living at Norwegian asylum centers at the end of November, down by more than half since last year at this time. The reduction has led to many asylum centers being closed, while asylum advocates and many politicians argue that vacated space at the centers should be used to take in more UN-certified refugees now languishing at camps in the Middle East.

Criticism erupted in Parliament this week over the Norwegian government’s strict asylum policies and practice of deportations, especially to Afghanistan. While hardly any Afghan men are granted asylum in Norway, only 26 percent of all asylum seekers from Afghanistan have received refugee status in Norway this year.

That has reportedly scared many Afghan refugees from heading for Norway. “Norway has created the impression that it’s difficult to get residence permission and difficult to reunite families,” Sylo Taraku, and adviser for Oslo-based think tank Agenda, told newspaper Klassekampen last week.

While nearly 7,000 asylum seekers arrived from Afghanistan last year, only 358 Afghans have sought asylum in Norway this year. staff



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