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More child asylum seekers remain longer in Norway

At the start of 2013, 619 children whose applications for permanent residency were denied have lived in Norway for more than three years.



While there has been a heated political debate about the high number of child refugees who end up spending several years of their childhood in Norway after their applications for permanent residency have been denied, that number has grown even higher.

Many of the families end up staying in the asylum centers for several years, and some say their home country won't even take them back because they lack a personal identification number and passport.

According to The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI), 1235 children were living in asylum centers across the country without a valid permanent residency as of January 1, 2013. The children and their parents are waiting to be deported, a process that for many has taken more than three years.

"This number is increasing because we had a large volume of families with children arriving in 2009," says Pål Lønseth (Ap/Labor Party), State Secretary of the Ministry of justice.

Lønseth explains that the increase is expected, but is also one of the reasons why they have intensified their efforts to return the asylum seekers, both involuntary and voluntary.

He denies that the delay is due to long processing times, but claims that many of the families refuse to accept that their applications have been denied, and that some have also stayed in Norway illegally for several years.


Julie Ryland

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