Norway’s conservative Progress Party, which long has argued in favour of restrictive immigration, was proud of the “solid documentation” released this week showing that Norway experienced Europe’s biggest decline in arrivals of asylum seekers last year. The decline came even though Europe still logged another huge stream of would-be refugees.
The numbers from Eurostat showed that 1.2 million asylum seekers arrived in Europe last year, almost as many as in the record year of 2015. That added to the more than 1 million asylum seekers whose applications still have not been handled.
Norway, meanwhile, only took in 3,240 asylum seekers last year, down from more than 30,000 in 2015. “For the first time in many years, Norway is no longer among the countries taking in the most asylum seekers,” said Mazyar Keshvari, immigration policy spokesman for the Progress Party that currently has government control over both the justice and immigration ministries.
The party calculated that Norway went from 4th place, in terms of refugee arrivals per capita in 2015, to 17th place last year. Keshvari, an immigrant himself in Norway, called that “solid documentation” that the Progress Party’s immigration policies have had a restrictive effect.