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Norway records lowest asylum seeker numbers since 1995

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Norway records lowest asylum seeker numbers since 1995
UDI director Frode Forfang. Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix
13:08 CET+01:00
The number asylum applications received by Norway in the final months of 2017 were at their lowest since 1995.

Total asylum applications received by the country dropped from 30,000 in 2015 to 3,500 in 2017, and were particularly low towards the end of the year, according to figures from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (Utlendingsdirektoratet, UDI).

The majority of individuals that applied for asylum in Norway last year came to the country from Italy or Greece, according to the agency.

The asylum seekers were of different nationalities, but migration from Turkey clearly increased, the UDI reports.

Several accommodation facilities for asylum seekers have been closed in Norway over the last 12 months due to the reduction in migration.

The total number of facilities was reduced from 150 to 50, and the number of residents at them fell from 13,400 to 5,100, according to UDI figures.

Contracts with many of the remaining asylum accommodation centres have been cancelled by UDI, with 27 expected to remain by the end of 2018, reports NRK.

Norway is not the only Nordic country to have seen its number of asylum seekers drop. Denmark announced this week that its figures for asylum applications were at a 10-year low.

Countries in southern Europe saw migration continue to increase in 2017, reports NRK.

UDI director Frode Forfang told NRK that, although many European countries still have high number of asylum seekers, the situation in Norway is unlikely to change this year. UDI has estimated around 3,000 as the figure for 2018 arrivals, although that depends on how the situation elsewhere in Europe develops.

4,700 family members were granted reunification with refugees in Norway in 2017. Of these, just over half were from Syria, according to UDI’s figures.

UDI processed over 7,000 applications for asylum last year. Around sixty percent resulted in residency being granted, writes NRK.

READ ALSO: Norwegian asylum centres capacity to be reduced by further 1,600

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