asylum-4

Every country has their own rules and regulations for asylum seekers.  Some countries also participate in international agreements such as the Dublin Procedure to help maintain the asylum seeker process.  Norway is no different.  In the land of peace and equality, seeking asylum isn’t a ‘get out of jail free card’.

Everyone has the right to seek asylum.  Not everyone has the right for their asylum claim to be granted.

If a claim is granted, the applicant gets Refugee Status.  According to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (CRSR) a refugee is:

[A]ny person who: owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.

Applying for asylum means applying for TEMPORARY protection.  Being granted Refugee Status means being granted TEMPORARY protection.  Individuals can be returned back to their home country at anytime.  Norway seeks to return individuals as soon as its protection is no longer required. Individuals must keep reapplying for asylum after every three to five years, when their protection agreement expires, to continue Refugee Status.  Each time means there is a very good chance of being sent back to the home country.

Whenever a home country is deemed safe again, or the individual does not need any more protection, they will be sent back.  That is the deal made when seeking asylum and becoming a refugee.

asylum-2

Being an asylum seeker and a refugee means the individual gives up their right to free movement.  They are required to stay in the country that they have sort asylum from.  They cannot move to another country and apply again for asylum.  If the individual has sort asylum in any other European country, Norway will refuse them entry and send them back to the country responsible for them.  This breech of agreement will likely go on their record, which can effect their claim.

If the individual seeks asylum in Norway first, Norway will claim responsibility of them and the individual gives up their free movement rights.  Norway will put them into a temporary transit reception centre for three to 10 days for health tests and questioning before moving them to another transit centre anywhere in the country.  While their asylum application is being processed they have to stay at the ordinary asylum reception centre.  These are usually in small, isolated, cities and are decentralized, meaning housing are usually scattered throughout the general population.

Health services and modest living expenses are covered by the National Insurance Scheme and there is mandatory schooling to learn Norwegian and general education if the individual has not completed general schooling in their home country.

Asylum seeker processing times can take years because Norway needs to confirm identities.  Every inch of an asylums seeker’s life must be investigated.  This can only be done through cooperation with other countries, which takes a great amount of time.  This means an asylum seeker can be in limbo for three to five years before their application is finally rejected.

An asylum seeker’s status is not allowed to change while an asylum seeker.  They are not allowed to get married and are not allowed to become a student.  They are also not allowed to change to a working visa.  However, a work permit may be granted only if there are no discrepancies in their application, but any employment is highly unlikely.

asylum-3

asylum-1

Individuals who lie about who they are, or destroy identifying documents, greatly lower their chances of Refugee Status.  But if individuals don’t have identifying documents and are granted stay in Norway, they will never be able to leave Norway as no other Western country, at least, will allow them entry.  (I have personally witnessed this – a good handful of permanent residents I know have not been able to move to or study in other countries such as the UK or USA because they only have secondary Norwegian identity papers.)   One extreme case has been reported about one man who has been waiting for nearly 20 years living in an asylum camp on only NOK68 a day because he has no identity papers.  (Link to newspaper article below)

Any behavior that is seen as deceitful, aggressive, or illegal means detention and deportation.

If an asylum application is declined the individual is taken to a Return Centre to wait to be deported to their home country.  These centres are not nice because of the emotional state of the detainees.  They can even be dangerous as distraught detainees feel the need to destroy, and even burn down, the premises.

Norway is not afraid of deportation, even for children.  It is Norway’s right to send asylum individuals and families back to their home country when protection from Norway is no longer needed, if they turn out to be deceitful or commit crime.  Being an asylum seeker or a refugee, the individual agrees that Norway has the right to do this.

After years of waiting for notice, it can be heartbreaking to be denied, especially when a new life has been created by the individual in Norway.  Appeals are rarely won, but individuals have the right to appeal.

So remember, if you seek asylum in Norway you make a binding agreement with Norway – You agree to give up your free movement and do whatever, and go wherever/whenever, Norway sees fit, and Norway agrees to protect you, and provide for you, until the threat is over and you can return home to your country.

Some interesting reads and links about asylum seeking in Norway:

http://www.vg.no/nyheter/innenriks/asyl-debatten/yemane-teferi-54-har-vaert-20-aar-paa-asylmottak/a/10077059/
(In Norwegian)
English Translation – http://gettingtoyoutidende.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/20-years-in-asylum-centres/

http://www.udi.no/en/want-to-apply/protection-asylum/

http://www.regjeringen.no/upload/JD/Vedlegg/Faktaark/Migrasjonsmld_eng.pdf

http://www.nkvts.no/biblioteket/Publikasjoner/NorwegianReport2010_NordicStudyReceptionRefugeeChildren_final3.pdf

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/reports/docs/emn-studies/establishing-identity/28.norway_national_report_reception_march2014_final.pdf

http://www.noas.no/en/the-asylum-process-in-norway/

Very Heavy reading:
http://www.ipu.org/pdf/publications/refugee_en.pdf 

Related posts: