Fate of Asylum Policy in Norway after Elections

Conservative and Socialist governments have adopted a quite similar asylum policy in Norway in recent years. Today, Aftenposten writes that the number of asylum seekers to Norway decreased from 17 226 to 9800 in 2012. The main reason in this dramatic decrease is the sharp tightening of immigration policy in 2008 and 2009 by the current socialist coalition government.

The newspaper asked all the political parties if they want a restrictive or less restrictive asylum policy than today. The two main parties – Labour and the Conservatives – both want to continue the current asylum policy. For both parties, faster return of asylum seekers and fast processing of asylum cases are two most important issues for the next four years.

The country’s third largest party, the Progress Party, wants a stricter asylum policies. The party runs for election with the promise to close reception centers to prevent “crime by asylum seekers”. FRP also wants stricter rules for family reunification.

Many of the smaller parties – SV, Christian Democratic Party, Liberal Party, Red and the Green Party, on the other hand, want a “more humane” and “fair” asylum policy. Most of these parties emphasize children’s rights.

Secretary General of the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS), Ann-Magrit Austenå is concerned about the major parties’ approach to asylum.

– These measures were initiated under the previous conservative government, while Cosnervative Party leader Erna Solberg was Minister of Local Government. Labor Party has even tighten the immigration policy, says Austenå. 

She suggests that the two parties are leading the same policy, although they belong to two different political wings. Because they both are afraid of losing votes from immigration skeptics to FRP, she says.

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