Immigration interviews minors via Skype

UDI Logo, minor asylum seekersLogo UDI. Photo Norway Today Media

In anticipation of better age tests the Norwegian Department of Immigration (UDI) puts more emphasis on asylum interviews to determine the age of minors. Many of the interviews are done using Skype.

So far this year, about 100 of 174 interviews of unaccompanied minors from Afghanistan has been performed using Skype, UDI informs VG. Many of them have only met their case officer via the communication platform.

Manager for the reception centre in Jølster, Grethe Apelseth, is critical towards the use of Skype.

– Using a small monitor you are supposed to determine whether a person is a child or an adult, which is absolutely impossible.

You do not see their body language, how they sit and play with objects on the table, the shaky legs, you do not perceive emotions, eye movements, whether they sit uneasily on the chair, nothing, says Apelseth.

UDI currently uses X-rays of the wrist to assess the age of asylum seekers who say they are under 18 years of age, but the method has been criticized. In anticipation of better tests more emphasis is put on interviews.

Chief Advisor of the asylum department in UDI, Dag Bærvahr, admits in an interview that where people are actually interviewed person to person when in doubt of their age, but refer to a lack of resources to do so.

– The extensive use of interviews via Skype is related to the high number of asylum seekers arriving in 2015, he said.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today