Minister Mehl: Norwegians shouldn’t bring refugees to Norway on private initiative

Emilie Enger MehlPhoto: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB
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It is important that Norwegians do not travel to Ukraine’s neighboring countries on private initiative to bring refugees here, Minister of Justice Emilie Enger Mehl (SP) said on Thursday. 

“The refugee situation affects us all, and some Norwegians have expressed that they want to contribute by bringing refugees here to the country, but it is not a good idea,” Mehl emphasized in her report on Ukraine in the Norwegian parliament (Storting) on Thursday.

She emphasized that the inflow of refugees and asylum seekers must primarily take place under national auspices.

“You have to know what you are doing. We primarily advise against private organizations organizing the transport of refugees between European countries,” Mehl said.

“Crisis situations always attract some people who do not have good intentions. In a confusing situation, Ukrainian refugees may be vulnerable to human trafficking… It may also be possible that people who do not have good intentions go to Norway by hiding among refugees,” Mehl pointed out.

No specific number

Norway will receive refugees with warmth, generosity, and care, Mehl said, adding that she does not want to quantify the exact number of refugees Norway is prepared to receive.

“It would be wrong to go out with the number now,” she said, pointing out that the EU has not yet established a distribution mechanism.

She pointed out that the situation is very confusing and that “we should be prepared for the number of people who may come to Norway to increase significantly.” 

So far, around 1,000 people have been registered. However, people from Ukraine with a biometric passport can travel freely in Schengen and have the opportunity to be in Norway visa-free for three months. Mehl says it is still important that refugees register.

“The authorities need to control this. Also, people must register to get a temporary social security number to gain access to services,” she said.

Reception system

Normally, refugees and asylum seekers who come to Norway are first received at the National Arrival Center in Råde. Mehl pointed out that the government is planning some changes in the extraordinary situation, which could include the following:

* The government is considering whether asylum seekers living in private homes can receive subsistence benefits, as is the case with people living in reception centers.

* Refugees could potentially be able to register with the local police, not only with the police in Råde.

* The Civil Defense will potentially assist the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration in several places in Eastern Norway.

* The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration has asked all actors who may be relevant to operate a reception center to register so that capacity can be increased.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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