Norwegian parliament adopts new, tighter asylum rules

By on 29/06/2016
Storting - the country’s parliament - announced on 22 June that it adopted a number of legislative amendments to cope with migrant flows

Norwegian border officials will be able to refuse entry to asylum seekers if there are “extraordinarily high numbers of arrivals,” according to new legislation passed last week.

Storting – the country’s parliament – announced on 22 June that it adopted a number of legislative amendments to cope with migrant flows, and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security is now considering the need for transitional rules and regulations for the period until the amendments come into force.

The amendments state that “during a crisis with extraordinarily high numbers of arrivals”, it will now be possible to “refuse entry to asylum seekers at the borders with other Nordic countries”; and “asylum seekers arriving in Norway from Russia or another Nordic country will no longer be entitled to enter the country without a visa ”

Other measures include a reduction of the deadline for lodging an appeal following the rejection of an asylum application from three weeks to one week and an amendment to the country’s Immigration Act allowing officials to “direct a foreign national to seek protection in another part of his or her country of origin […] if they can obtain effective protection in another area of their home country other than the one from which they have fled.”

Norway’s parliament also approved a new provision which will make it possible to refuse “certain applications for family reunification […] if the family in question would be able to live safely in a third country with which the family’s overall connection is stronger than its connection with Norway.”

Sylvi Listhaug, minister of immigration and integration, said the amendments “will make us better equipped to deal with a new crisis involving the arrival of large numbers of asylum seekers.”

She added: “A strict but fair asylum policy is important if we are to succeed in integrating the applicants who are eligible for a residence permit and will be allowed to stay in Norway.

“The government considered it vital to introduce these measures to deal with possible new crises and the prospect of continued flows of migrants and refugees for many years ahead.”

The amendments were first proposed at the end of last year when the number of people seeking asylum in Norway reached 31,000.

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About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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