Asylum seeker, aged 70, got permission to stay after 15 years in Asylum Reception Centre

asylum seekers july - UDI familyThe Norwegian Department of Immigration (UDI). Photo Norway Today Media

After 15 years in an asylum reception centre, 70 year old, Almetu Etana Gudissa from Ethiopia has been granted a residence permit in Norway.


Gudissa came to Norway with a false passport and sought asylum in 2003 after her husband was ordered killed, and her son was imprisoned in her native country, according to Nationen newspaper.

She and her family belonged to the persecuted group of ‘Oromo’.

Immigration Directorate (UDI) declined the asylum application because she thought she did not need protection in Norway. In the years that followed, the Immigration Service (UNE) dealt with six demands for conversion, but all of the time she received a ‘no’ decision.

Gudissa is among 60 elderly women who have remained in Norwegian asylum reception because they are so-called “unreturnables”. Their home countries refuse them return, or they lack identity papers.

In 2016, group leader for Kristelig Folkeparti (KRF) Per Pedersen met Gudissa in Harstad municipality.

He has followed her case in recent years. In February this year, Pedersen took up the matter in the presidency of the municipality. Shortly after, she was granted a residence permit.

To Harstad Tidende newspaper, Gudissa said that she finally feels safe.

“I do not have to sleep on duty in fear that the police will knock on the door and throw me out of the country.

It feels like I’ve got a new life.”

The decision has a condition that states that Gudissa must apply for renewal of the residence permit each year.

However, she can stay permanently if she obtains a passport.


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today