Last year 3,460 asylum seekers came to Norway. It is the lowest figure in nearly 20 years, according to UDI. Meanwhile, 12,700 asylum seekers were granted residence, which is also a new record.
Immigration Minister Sylvi Listhaug (FRP), says she is “very satisfied” that asylum seekers arriving in 2016 was the lowest since 1997.
– This shows that it is important to maintain strict and consistent asylum policy with clear boundries of what we will do, she said.
Asylum seekers who came last year were from about 100 different countries, but most came from Eritrea (586), Syria (529) and Afghanistan (373), according to the Directorate of Immigration.
Over six out of ten asylum seekers are boys and men, and the largest group are adult males, who accounted for 42 percent of asylum applications last year. Children under ten years are the only age group where the sex ratio is equal. In this total number there are also 427 newborns registered.
Among last year’s asylum seekers 320 people, almost all young men from 30 different countries, indicated that they are single and minors. The largest group here is Afghans who make up four out of ten. 47 are from Eritrea, 25 from Syria and 22 from Morocco.
Half will be staying
Of the total of 23,300 asylum applications UDI received last year, most came in 2015. More than half were given approval on their first application.
Among the applications that were approved, two out of three were granted residence, which equates to 12,700 people. Nearly six out of ten among those who stayed were from Syria. This amounts to 7,400 people. In addition, 1,600 Eritreans and 1,200 Afghans were granted protection in Norway during 2016.
Fewer await approval
UDI queue of pending cases is now down to 4,300, while about 2,000 of the residents in reception centers are waiting for a response on appeals after rejection. Just as many, have been finally rejected and will be flying out.
At the end of last year there was 13,500 asylum seekers from 52 different countries at the centers around the country. It’s well under half as many as in the beginning of January last year.
Over 11,000 of these are from just six countries: Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Approximately one in three is under 18, but the vast majority of children are in Norway with their parents.
Progress party’s Helge André Njåstad, head of the Municipal Committee in Parliament, said this fall that he was concerned about the prospect of the welfare state in Norway failing to maintain a sustainable asylum and immigration policy. Now he is satisfied that there is less of a threat to the system in Norway.
– Myself and FRP are pleased that the number of asylum seekers has decreased considerably compared to previous years. In addition to European conditions caused by this crisis signals and policies are that Norway is recognizing the problems we face. Immigration minister Sylvi Listhaug and parliament have tightened rules for asylum.
Fewer will get to stay in the future
Njåstad said fewer will be granted residence in Norway in the coming years.
– more were granted residence in 2016 than previously due to the large influx of asylum seekers in 2015. The number of granted residence permits in 2017 and 2018 will fall from the current arrival figures, he said.
He also emphasizes that Norway now has helped more refugees than before.
– We have increased aid to the Syria conflict considerably and will provide 10 billion NOK over four years. This equates to almost 7 million every day.
Sweden, with twice as many inhabitants as Norway, last year received 29,000 asylum applications, while Denmark, which for years has received fewer applicants than Norway, received about 7,500 asylum seekers.