Norway may receive 25,000 refugees in 2015

Norway has raised its estimate for the number of asylum seekers it expects in 2015 for the third time in as many months, with 20,000-25,000 now anticipated, up from 16,000-20,000 only last week.

Norway may receive 25,000 refugees in 2015
A school in Norway raising money for Syrian refugees by selling cakes. Photo: Sara Barzinje/Facebook

So far this year, 13,490 people have applied for asylum in the country, with 4,900 arriving in September alone. Last year, a total of 11,480 sought asylum in Norway, with a dramatic recent increase taking place due to a large influx of Syrian refugees fleeing the ongoing civil war.   

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) says that it expects a still larger 30,000 refugees in 2016.

UDI are now asking Norwegians to open up their homes to asylum-seekers, as municipalities only have the capacity to house 11,000 refugees.

“I think it’s tricky for municipalities to be able to find housing for all,” UDI director Frode Forfang told Norway’s state broadcaster NRK. “I think it is absolutely essential that private people rent out”.

He added that letting to asylum seekers was not especially complicated.

“If you can let to a Norwegian, you can let to an asylum seeker.”

More than1800 Norwegians have already applied to open up their homes to 4500 refugees via the private on-line initiative

Jon Olav Ryfetten, who started the site, which allows ordinary Norwegians can sign up to house refugees, told broadcaster TV2 that he wanted to translate the commitment to helping refugees he saw on social media into something more permanent.

“We wanted to create a national platform that quantified and shows the location of people who are willing to open up their homes,” he said.

A list of 1,600 people who are willing to house refugees has now been handed over from to the Norwegian municipalities.