Norway’s 1000 Iraqis: Limbo of the Lost

Jan Tore Sanner, Norwegian Minister of Knowledge and IntegrationJan Tore Sanner, Norwegian Minister of Knowledge and Integration.Photo:

They’ve waited and waited (some for 20 years) but soon 1000 unauthenticated Norwegian Iraqis living in Norway can expect a prompt government issue of IDR’s.


Jan Tore Sanner, Norwegian Minister of Knowledge and Integration (H) announced last Thursday, 15 Feb. of calling for the Immigration Directorate (UDI) authority to begin issue of temporary IDR’s with highest priority, stating that his office would report on the implementation of the IDR scheme within the coming 2019 state budget.

‘This matter has been prioritized by the ministry but as we’ve pointed out before it’s been a quite difficult matter. I’m pleased that we’re searching for solutions to this important scenario and I hope that NOAS also takes a stance to prioritizes this issue.’ Sanner told NTB.

Sanner states that its been challenging to find ID verification solutions that don’t lower the requirements of the law. Earlier attempts to verify and authenticate ID documentation within Iraq haven’t advanced due to the unacceptable response time from Iraqi authorities.

The Storting began the call for an effective identification scheme for Norwegian Iraqis March 2016 and has repeatedly requested for a workable, limited ID plan. The delays have directly affected approx. 1000 Iraqis (mostly Kurd) who’ve lived as asylum seekers in Norwayas long as 20 years.

Speaking with NTB, Stortings representative Eirik Sivertsen (AP) reminded of a promoted proposal for solution in late 2015. Both his office and NOAS anticipate the enactment of the proposals but Sivertsen is still critical of the lag faced in implementation. ‘This addresses a resolution put forward from parliament. That it has taken 2 full years from start to implementation is frankly unacceptable. I hope there are justifications for these delays.’

Sivertsen admits Norwegian Iraqis are in a most difficult situation. ‘They need clarification in their lives. They’re disenfranchised. They can’t progress.It’s critical that we finalize these ID declarations.’

NTB reports senior NOAS (Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers) consultant Jon Ole Martinsen stating; ‘After almost a 2 year delay, citizenship clarification and ID status affecting Norwegian Iraqis is soon expected. There’s been criticism (of the delay facing these people). It’s almost tempting to believe that political unwillingness or a lack of expertise in management has prompted these delays. This office finds
both notions unacceptable.’

Martinsen points out that these people have tried to comply. They’ve applied for authentication of their identities. They’ve submitted personal ID documentation (to the government) for authorization without success.

The Police Immigration Unit (PU) and UDI completed a successful pilot project that officiated the identity of 35 Iraqis who sought permanent status within Norway.

Traditionally Norwegian authorities have had a low confidence in Iraqi ID documents presented for submission and verification.


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today