Through the end of November, Norwegian police deported a total of 7,312 people who were living illegally in Norway, according to figures released on Friday by the National Police Immigration Service Norway (Politiets Utlendingsenhet).
That’s the highest number ever, at around five percent more than last year.
“This is a figure that shows that there have been many who do not have a legitimate claim to asylum who have stayed here and failed to leave the country, and that’s why it is necessary for the police to do the work they have done throughout the year,” State Secretary Fabian Stang told broadcaster NRK.
“It's always brutal when one is forced to use the police to get people to do what they are required to,” added Stang, who is secretary for Immigration Minister Sylvi Listhaug.
More than a fourth of those who were forced to leave the country were also slapped with criminal charges. Most of those were from Romania, Poland and Lithuania. Nationals from those three countries accounted for 43 percent of the 2,041 convicted criminals who were deported.
Although there were a record number of deportations, the government had hoped for even more. A national goal of 9,000 deportation was set at the beginning of the year. According to NRK, the police were planning to make extra efforts over the years’ final two days to add to the figure.