Due to the increasing urgency of the refugee crisis, many countries are adjusting their immigration policies. Norway has long been hailed as one of the most open countries in terms of accepting refugees and providing aid for war-torn countries such as Syria. However, after a huge influx of immigrants in 2015, Norway has begun tightening its borders. In order better to understand the changes in the country’s policies, here are 10 facts about refugees in Norway:
- After World War II, an independent Norwegian organization called the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) became one of the greatest advocates for displaced people and working with national governments. In 2015 alone, the NRC assisted more than 5.4 million displaced people.
- In 2016, Norway contributed one of the largest pledges of humanitarian aid aimed at helping Syrian refugees. The small country pledged $1.2 billion dollars ($240 per person) toward four years of funding.
- Norway has a history of emphasizing humanitarian efforts regarding both donations and admitting refugees from foreign countries. Since 2013, Norway has granted citizenship to over 260 percent of its “fair share” of Syrian refugees based on an estimation by Red Cross and Red Crescent groups.
- Norway has been increasing its focus on ensuring that refugees integrate into society smoothly by assessing their access to education and the workforce. A large component of this assessment includes observing and treating the mental health of immigrants, many of whom suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder and other mental illnesses.
- Norway has recently tightened restrictions on refugee immigration. In 2015, these restrictions resulted in a sharp decline in the number of refugees entering the country.
- Recently, asylum centers have been facing closures since the number of immigrants has dropped steadily since its peak in 2015.
- In 2017 thus far, Norway has experienced the lowest number of refugees seeking asylum since 1997. Many Norwegians believe this can be attributed to the recent increase in immigration restrictions.
- As of 2015, 3.6 percent of Norway’s population was comprised of refugees living legally. These refugees come from over 169 countries. A large majority of these refugees are from Bosnia and Herzegovina and were granted protection in the early 1990s.
- The Norwegian government has made headlines for its criticism of U.S. President Trump’s policies on the refugee crisis. Foreign Minister Brende tweeted: “Norway strongly believes that refugees should receive equal treatment regardless of religion, nationality or race. Hence, concerned [about] U.S. policy.”
- Like an increasing number of U.S. colleges and universities, the University of Oslo (UIO) has made its stance on the refugee crisis clear. The UIO website states its academic policies as well as their newly implemented efforts to welcome student refugees and asylum seekers.
Essentially, these 10 facts about refugees in Norway highlight that, despite the country’s massive funding of foreign aid, there are currently 65 million displaced refugees with nowhere to go. Additionally, many refugees in Norway are not yet capable of entering the workforce or educational system. This means that Norway faces the challenge of finding a solution for integrating refugees into its society while maintaining its reputation as an asylum.
– Julia Morrison