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Asylum seeker arrivals in Norway 'lowest since 1997'

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Asylum seeker arrivals in Norway 'lowest since 1997'
Asylum seekers at a centre in Råde in 2015. File photo: Heiko Junge/NTB Scanpix
13:43 CET+01:00
3,051 people – the lowest number since 1997 – applied for asylum in Norway in 2016, according to Directorate of Immigration figures.

Norway's Directorate of Immigration (Utlendingsdirektoratet, UDI) has also estimated that around 7,000 asylum seekers per year will arrive in Norway in 2017 and 2018.

The agency pointed out that the prognosis is tentative, however.

“The prognosis was completed in February 2017 and the assessments within it are based on developments up to the beginning of February 2017 with the information available at that time,” UDI told broadcaster NRK.

3,460 people applied for asylum in Norway in 2016, according figures provided by UDI to NRK.

The figure represents the lowest total since 1997.

“Our assessment is that border and ID checks in Europe have had a decisive effect on numbers of arrivals in Norway,” UDI wrote.

The low numbers have continued into 2017, reports NRK, with 858 asylum seekers arriving in Norway so far this year.

Of these, 574 came to Norway in accordance with the country's voluntary participation in the EU's relocation scheme.

Norway has agreed to take in 1,500 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy during 2016 and 2017 – a quota the UDI expects to have fulfilled by the summer.

The agency also expects to receive 750 unaccompanied minors in 2017, although only 45 have arrived so far.

“The potential for migration is large, and there is no information that suggests that there has been a reduction in motivation for potential asylum seekers to migrate. We therefore assume that the number of migrants trying to reach Europe is as high as before,” UDI wrote to the broadcaster.

The estimation depends on a number of factors, such as the continuation of the current agreement between the EU and Turkey, and asylum seekers arriving in Greece remaining low in number.

Further factors are the continued implementation of border controls in the Balkan countries as well as within the Schengen zone.

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