UDI says there’s continued uncertainty about number of 2018 asylum seekers

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

There were 3,546 asylum seekers entering Norway in 2017, almost 100 more than the year before. Not since 1995 have the number of arrivals been as low as in the last months of 2017.


1,252 of the asylum seekers who came to the country last year were from Italy and Greece, through the EU’s relocation system. Disregarding those who were relocated, there was a decline in the number of asylum seekers from 2016. This applies to all nationality groups except for Turks, who showed a clear increase.

‘In the past months of 2017, asylum arrivals have been so low that one has to return to 1995 to find comparable figures,’ said the Directorate of Immigration (UDI).

In 2016, 3,460 asylum seekers came to Norway, while 31,145 people sought asylum in the country in 2015, a peak year.

3,000 in 2018

For 2018, the forecast is 3,000 asylum seekers, but the figure is very uncertain due to the situation in Europe, said UDI Director, Frode Forfang.

UDI pointed out that, like other Nordic countries, Norway had experienced a sharp decline in the number of asylum seekers after 2015, and that all except Finland have a lower level than they hadbefore this year. At the same time, more asylum seekers landed in southern Europe, while the number of arrivals in Germany, and other countries that had received many asylum seekers by 2015, is now at the same level, or higher, than they were before 2015.

‘The situation in other European countries shows that there are still many asylum seekers in Europe. There is, therefore, reason to emphasise the uncertainty about
asylum arrivals in Norway in the years to come. However, nothing yet suggests that
arrivals in Norway will change significantly in the short term’, said Forfang.

Denmark received almost 3,500 asylum applications in 2017, the Danish government
said. Sweden on the other hand, received 25,666 asylum applications last year,
according to the Swedish Immigration Board.

Fewer asylum reception centres

In total, UDI had 150 asylum reception centres, with 13,400 residents a year ago. At the end of the year, there were 50 centres left, with 5,100 residents. The reason was the sharp decline in the number of asylum seekers after 2015.

UDI announced that the contract for several of the existing reception centres had been terminated, and that at the end of March, only 27 will remain.

Of these, there are four integration reception centres, eight reception for single, unaccompanied minors,in addition to the arrival center in Råde in Østfold, and the transit reception centre at Trandum in Akershus.

‘We are planning to further reduce reception centre capacity for 2018,’ said the UDI Director.

Six out of ten got to stay

In total, UDI treated 7,489 asylum applications from asylum seekers who have come in recent years. Of these, 59% received a residence permit in Norway.

Disregarding those who came from a country in the so-called ‘Dublin partnership’, a safe third country,or had their cases abandoned, 67% stayed.

UDI’s figures also show that 4703 family members were allowed to reunite with refugees in Norway last year, 2,687 of whom came from Syria.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today