Stemming the Tide

We’ve posted a lot of reports recently about the asylum crisis in Norway — see the bottom of this post for a list of the articles and translations.

Every day brings another news story relating to the unprecedented rate of migration from the Third World into Norway. The latest one comes from yesterday’s Aftenposten; notice that the government can only “try” to limit the influx of asylum seekers — no guarantee that it will succeed:

Government tries to limit stream of refugees to Norway

Faced with record numbers of refugees seeking asylum in Norway, the government on Wednesday announced moves to make it harder for them to stay in the country. Refugee sympathizers were shocked by the moves.

They include politicians from one of the government’s own coalition parties, the Socialist Left. It opposed moves to make it harder to win asylum in Norway, but party leaders said it was “impossible” to come to terms with its two other government partners, Labour and the Center Party.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg from Labour and his party colleague Dag Terje Andersen, the minister in charge of immigration issues, said it was “necessary to limit the number of asylum seekers who have no need for protection” in Norway.

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He noted that while 6,500 would-be refugees arrived in Norway last year, around 15,000 are expected this year. The country of 4.5 million residents is having trouble absorbing them all.

Stoltenberg and Andersen presented a 13-point plan to tighten asylum policies. Cases will be handled, for example, on an individual basis and asylum won’t be automatic simply because an applicant comes from a troubled country.

Norway will also more closely follow other European countries’ asylum policies, and families will only be reunited if a successful asylum seeker undergoes four years of education or work experience in Norway.

The government also intends to send more asylum seekers back to the country where they first sought asylum. Most refugees already have applied for asylum elsewhere before landing in Norway.


The new policy has caused dissension within the government. “I’m shocked and think this is very uncomfortable,” said Rolf Reikvam of the Socialist Left. He referred further questions to party leader Kristin Halvorsen.

Halvorsen confirmed her party disagreed with the government’s new policy and said it would exercise its right to dissension when it needed to propose a law change on the family reunification issue.

“It was unfortunately impossible for us to agree on two points, one involving how children would be treated and another regarding how closely we’ll follow UN guidelines for refugees,” Halvorsen said.

She conceded the disagreement was “very serious,” but claimed her party colleagues weren’t demanding that SV leave the government because of it.

Previous posts about Norway’s asylum crisis:

2008   Aug   5   Evicted to Make Room for Asylum-Seekers
        7   The Asylum Crisis in Norway
        15   A Lethal Family Reunification
        18   Pleading Insanity
        18   An Invitation to Game the System
        23   Norway: Asylum Capital of the World
        25   Asylum Flood Encounters Popular Resistance
        26   Norwegian Lawyer Charged in Attack on Asylum Center
    Sep   2   The High Cost of Asylum
        3   Your Papers, Please?

Hat tip: The Observer