Only three out of every 100 would-be refugees try to remain in Norway if their applications for asylum are rejected. A new survey carried out by the state police agency charged with enforcing immigration law indicates that it’s simply too difficult to live as an illegal alien in Norway.
Newspaper Aftenposten reports that the survey by Politiets utlendingsenhet, (PU) reveals that the actual numbers of illegal aliens in Norway are far less than politicians and immigration authorties have estimated earlier. They’ve earlier put the number of unsuccessful asylum seekers in hiding at between 7,000 and 12,000 nationwide. PU’s new calculations indicate the correct number is only around 300.
Their survey shows that nearly 14,000 asylum seekers in Norway have “disappeared” from the asylum centers where they were being housed over the past five years. That amounts to 16 percent of all those applying for asylum during the five-year period.
Only a small portion of them remain in Norway, according to PU’s report entitled “Missing: Asylum seekers who disappear from known addresses.” The report has examined who disappeared, why they disappear and how many illegal aliens turn up as involved in crimes.
‘Easier to hide’ elsewhere in Europe
Just 3 percent were found to still be in Norway, somewhere between 110 and 490 people, according to the police. “It’s not surprising that so many in this group choose to leave the country and that only a few try to remain,” PU chief Morten Hojem Ervik told Aftenposten. “The numbers, though, show this even more clearly than we expected.”
Ervik thinks the numbers show that police have succeeded in their efforts, as decreed by the government’s strict immigration rules, to crack down on businesses and industries that traditionally have employed illegal aliens. There have been raids on car washes, for example, where many of those working did not have residence permission. The police have also had more success in identifying asylum seekers who arrive without papers of any kind.
Police have managed to track many of those who disappeared from Norwegian asylum centers and found them living in other European countries. “It’s easier to hide in Germany or Italy,” Christina Moen Baggerød of PU, who wrote the report on the disappearances of asylum seekers, told Aftenposten.
Defeated by regulations and transparency
Baggerød also noted that many would-be refugees who fail to qualify for asylum protection have put themselves in debt in order to get to Norway. “They have to earn money and it’s important for them to get some source of income that they can’t legally get here,” Baggerød said. They also risk being forcibly returned to their homelands by Norwegian authorities. That’s why many give up their asylum attempts in Norway and move on to a country where prospects for refuge and income are higher.
Magne Løvø, who heads the police division that carries out forced deportations, confirmed that there are far fewer undocumented foreigners in Norway than previously estimated. Asked why so many leave voluntarily, he said he thinks it’s because “Norway must be one of the most transparent societies in Europe.” It’s also highly regulated, where residents’ addresses are registered with local authorities and banks can’t open accounts for people lacking official identification numbers.
“That’s why police here have relatively good control over who lives where, compared to other European countries,” Løvø said.