Lowest number of asylum seekers since 1997

By the end of August, a total of 2 248 asylum seekers had been registered in Norway this year, a decrease of 73 % compared with last year. The number of people seeking asylum in Norway has not been so low since 1997.

By the end of August last year, some 8 329 asylum applications had been registered.

‘2015 was without doubt an extraordinary year. So it is not surprising that the fall in numbers has been so big this year. However, the change we are seeing cannot just be attributed to the last two years. Not since 1997 have so few people sought asylum in Norway,’ said Minister of Immigration and Integration Sylvi Listhaug (Progress Party).  

In August this year, 281 asylum seekers came to Norway. According to figures from the Directorate of Immigration (UDI), the figure for August has not been lower since 1997. In August 1997, 199 asylum seekers were registered in Norway. The pattern is the same for the period January to August; between January and August 1997, 1 178 asylum applications were registered, compared with 2 248 during the same period this year. This year, there have been 241 applications from asylum seekers declaring themselves to be unaccompanied minors. This is a decrease of 88 % compared with the same period in 2015, when 1 957 such applications were received.  

‘There are several reasons why there are fewer asylum seekers coming to Norway. The closure of borders in a number of countries has had a major impact on the number of arrivals in northern Europe. However, we are also seeing that the number of arrivals is even lower in Norway than in Sweden and Denmark. The comparison with Denmark, which has tended to have fewer asylum seekers than Norway in recent years, is particularly interesting. We believe that the measures we have implemented have had an impact on the number of asylum seekers coming to Norway,’ Ms Listhaug said.

‘We will nevertheless monitor developments closely throughout the autumn, and do not rule out the possibility that the situation could change,’ Ms Listhaug said.