Refugees in Norway: 33,000 arrivals in 2023 and trends for 2024

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In 2023, Norway took in 33,000 Ukrainian refugees, for a two-year total of 65,000, marking a peak in the country's refugee history. The counties of Viken and Vestland were particularly involved in this effort, reflecting the varied geographical distribution of refugees across the country. In response to these challenges, the Norwegian government has taken concrete initiatives, modifying its introductory program to focus on employment and allocating NOK 30 million to the development of a digital educational program in Norwegian, to facilitate the integration of refugees into society and the job market.

Situation and data for 2023

The year 2023 was a landmark period for the reception of refugees in Norway, marked mainly by the arrival of Ukrainian refugees. Some 33,000 Ukrainians found refuge in Norway. This figure increases the number of new residents in the previous two years (65,000).

he counties of Viken and Vestland welcomed the largest number of refugees for the second year running. Other regions, such as Nordland and Møre og Romsdal, also contributed in proportion to their populations. This distribution reflects the national effort to achieve a balanced integration of refugees in the various communities.

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The Norwegian government has responded by taking measures to manage the arrival of refugees and facilitate their integration. Integrating Ukrainian refugees into the workforce was a priority. A modification to the employment-oriented introductory program was proposed. In addition, NOK 30 million has been allocated in the state budget for 2024 to develop a digital educational offer in Norwegian, aimed at strengthening refugees' language skills.

Immigration and asylum policy in Norway

Norway manages immigration applications and asylum in compliance with precise standards. People who are threatened with persecution and cannot return to their country of origin can apply for asylum. The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) is responsible for immigration administration. The Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) provides information on the application procedure.

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In 2022, Norway received 4,255 asylum applications ( excluding figures relating to the Ukrainian crisis), mainly from Syria, Afghanistan and Russia. Of the 1,222 first applications examined, some 81 % were accepted, while 19 % were rejected.

In Norway, asylum seekers have access to services such as interpreting, health care and children's education. They can reside in reception centers and apply for a temporary work permit. In the event of rejection, they can appeal with the help of a lawyer. Family reunification is authorized for those who obtain a residence permit.

Asylum seekers receive protection and assistance. Norway is committed to resettling 3,000 refugees a year. Visit rights of asylum seekers are protected by international human rights, refugee and EU standards.

The benefits and difficulties of integrating refugees

Norway offers a number of benefits to refugees. Those granted asylum enjoy essential rights such as access to healthcare, education and interpretation services. Refugees can reside in reception centers and can apply for temporary work permits. In addition, family reunification is possible for all those who have been granted a residence permit.

Despite these advantages, the integration of refugees in Norway is not without its challenges. Adapting to a new culture, overcoming language barriers and finding a job are all essential aspects of the process. The government and various organizations provide support to ease this transition, but the challenges remain significant for many refugees.

The Norwegian government has set up integration programs to help refugees adapt to their new lives. These programs include language courses, vocational training and counseling services. The aim is to enable refugees to become self-sufficient and participate fully in Norwegian society.

Action plan for 2024

For 2024, the Norwegian government has set clear objectives for the reception and integration of refugees. These include increasing the number of refugees received and improving integration processes. Emphasis will be placed on employment and education to facilitate rapid and effective integration.

In response to global and regional developments, Norway plans to adapt its immigration policies and asylum. This could involve modifying asylum criteria, improving refugee support services and strengthening coordination with international organizations and EU countries.

Norway's commitment to refugees is a fundamental element of its social and humanitarian policy. The reception and successful integration of refugees are essential factors not only for the people concerned, but also for Norwegian society as a whole. Looking ahead to 2024, Norway will continue to play a leading role in responding to humanitarian crises and integrating refugees.

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