Norway not ready for a new wave of asylum seekers

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

Turkey has opened the borders to Europe for its migrants. The UDI chief says that Norway is not prepared for a sharp increase in the number of asylum seekers.

– If the increase in arrivals happens gradually over time, we will be able to deal with them. But if there are many arrivals over a short time period, we will face serious challenges, says Frode Forfang, Director for the Directorate of Immigration (UDI) to Klassekampen.

On Friday, it became clear that Turkey is opening its borders to Greece and Bulgaria, which has led to a large number of migrants amassing on the borders in the hope of entering Europe. There are already 3.6 million refugees and migrants in Turkey, and the country fears that even more will come after the escalation of the war in Idlib in Syria recently.

In the autumn of 2015, a great number of migrants came to Norway. At the end of December, 30,199 people lived in 200 reception centers in Norway.

In recent years, the number has dropped sharply and several asylum shelters have been closed. Today, the capacity is down to 3,766 places distributed across 21 reception centres, according to the UDI.

Forfang does not believe that the situation will become similar to that in 2015, but says they are going through their contingency plans.

– It is difficult to predict how this will develop, but if we get an increase in arrivals as a result of the situation in Europe, it will not come so suddenly. We will get some warnings before there are many of them on the border with Norway. In 2015, all doors were thrown wide open across Europe, which they are not today, says Forfang.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today


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