According to Listhaug, an increasing number of migrants have dropped the idea of seeking asylum in Norway – exactly as she hoped.
“When I ask them [migrants she spoke with in Greece and Italy, ed.] about their opinions of Norway, they say that Norway has become strict and less attractive and not a country that they want to travel to,” she told VG.
The numbers seem to back up the claim. In May, just 195 asylum seekers came to Norway, the lowest May figure in 19 years.
Listhaug said that Norway’s political signals have been heard loud and clear.
“Everything that happens here at home, gets noticed. Many people want to travel to Germany, but noticeably fewer people want to come to Norway. It is important to be clear about our restrictions because this is a market driven by smugglers,” Listhaug said.
Only 1,407 asylum seekers have been registered through May, but Listhaug said it is hard to predict what might happen as the year goes on.
“The agreement between Turkey and Greece is working now, but how it will work in the future is uncertain. There is also uncertainty on what is going on with the traffic over the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy,” she said.
The Norwegian parliament is in the final stages of negotiating an immigration and asylum overhaul championed by Listhaug, who represents the anti-immigration Progress Party.
The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) said in January that it expects 60,000 asylum seekers in 2016, but the agency is expected to officially lower that forecast later this month.