Norway suspends deportation of rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan

By Frazer Norwell
Updated at 1226 GMT on 21 July 2021

   Norway suspends deportation of rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan 

The UDI and UNE has suspended deportations to Afghanistan. Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) and Immigration Appeal Board (UNE) said on Wednesday it would stop forced returns to Afghanistan due to the deteriorating security situation in the country.

The UDI and UNE will not enforce any returns for individuals to Afghanistan due to the escalation of conflict between the Taliban and Afghan authorities, which the UDI said in a statement has led to a deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation. 

The withdrawal of foreign military forces from Afghanistan has led to intense fighting between the Taliban and government forces in the country. 

The deportations will be suspended until September 15th, 2021. 

This means those who have received a final decision on asylum claims or residence applications and have been told they will need to return to Afghanistan will not be obliged to do so until the suspension is lifted. 

The rules will apply to anyone who

  • Has had their application for asylum rejected
  • The decision has been made to deport them from Norway
  • Had had their residence permit revoked
  • Is living in Norway but have had their application for a residence permit rejected

The decision to postpone the deportations has been pushed back until September 15th because all foreign military and peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan will withdraw from the country by the end of August. 

This will give the UDI and UNE time to reassess the situation and whether the suspension should be extended further or lifted, the agencies said. 

People whose cases are covered by the Dublin III convention or the First Asylum Rule will not be covered by the suspension. This means they will be returned to the first European country in which they sought protection. 

The UNE said it did not have figures for the total number of Afghan citizens who are due to be returned to Afghanistan. 

The Police Immigration Unit has said it is aware of the new rules so that no people who fall under the suspension will be forcibly returned to the country. 

How did Covid-19 affect immigration in Norway in 2020?

   How did Covid-19 affect immigration in Norway in 2020?Trondheim Harbour, Central Norway. Photo by Simon Williams on Unsplash Last year saw the lowest number of people immigrate to Norway since 2005 due to the coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions, according to a report from Statistics Norway. 

Last year, 24,400 non-Nordic citizens immigrated to Norway for the first time in 2020, Statistics Norway’s report states.

This was far fewer than the year before when 38,400 non-Nordic citizens relocated to the Scandinavian country and is the lowest number for 15 years.

The report stated that the main reason for the drop was due to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions introduced as a result of it. 

“The reduced immigration is mostly due to the coronavirus pandemic,” The report stated. 

Work was the most common reason for people upping sticks to Norway. Just over 11,000 people made the move for work. 

“The reduced immigration for work must mainly be attributed to restrictions due to the corona pandemic,” the report said.  

Meanwhile, 8,300 moved for family reasons. In addition to this, 2,500 refugees were granted residence, and 2,200 people were given residence for education. The rest immigrated for other reasons such as medical treatment, sport, or the performing arts. 

Reason for immigrating since 1990. Source: Statistics Norway

The numbers for 2020 were less than half of the peak of 57,000 people in 2012. 

Poles made up the largest group of migrant workers immigrating to Norway. Just over 2,600 Poles settled in Norway for work during 2020. Lithuanians were the second largest group, with 1,200 Lithuanian workers relocating to Norway. 

Romanians were the third largest group of people to move for work, followed by people from the UK, Germany, Spain, India and Latvia. 

Family immigration was at its lowest level for over 20 years. 5,900 people moved to reunite with family, and 2,400 people came to the Nordic country to establish a family. The number of people immigrating for family reasons has been decreasing since 2017. 


Last year saw a significant decline in the number of refugees being granted residence. In 2015, 15,000 refugees settled in Norway compared to less than 2,500 in 2020. 

Those who do move to Norway are likely to stick it out. Between 1990 and 2020, 932,000 non-Nordic citizens immigrated to Norway. Of these, over 650,000 were still registered as living in Norway as of January 1st 2021. 

Those who move to Norway for education are the least likely to settle in the country. Refugees are the most likely to stay in Norway; 85 percent of refugees remain in Norway, and 77 percent of those who move for family end up staying. 

Out of the 320,000 migrant workers who came to Norway in the past 30 years, 65 percent have decided to stay in Norway. 

Safe but pricey: What international residents think of life in Norway

Norway is far too expensive, and it’s hard for its foreign residents to settle into life in the Nordic country, according to the InterNations Expat Insider survey

Overall, Norway ranks 38th out of 59 countries in the survey which ranks international residents happiness in various aspects of life. 

Work was the most common reason for people relocating to Norway, the survey found, with around a third of those who uprooted to Norway doing so because of work.

Norway may be about to edge out Paris as the new capital of love, however. More than a quarter of those who moved to the Scandinavian country did so because of love.  If you disagree with these findings please take a moment to tell us what you think of life in Norway in our own survey below.

Safe and serene- but a little bit dull

Despite its below-average ranking overall, Norway ranked high for quality of life. 

The country sits just outside the top ten for working abroad and quality of life, coming in at 11th and 12th respectively.

Furthermore, 84 percent of respondents to the survey said they are happy with their workload and hours. This puts Norway second overall, behind neighbouring Denmark. 

Respondents to the survey are also satisfied with the economy in Norway, with 82 percent of those surveyed responding positively.

Norway’s performance in the Expat Insider survey. Source: InterNation

In addition to this, those who moved to Norway are delighted with their surroundings, with 99 percent of people responding positively to the natural environment. 

Safety is another perk of life in Norway, with the country ranking 7th for safety and security. 

The country ranks in the bottom five for leisure activities and one in four-judge the available leisure activities unfavourably. 

Hard to settle and high cost of living

Norway is 51st out of 58 in terms of settling in, and 59 percent of foreign residents who responded found it hard to make friends with Norwegians. A further 27 percent think the local population is generally unfriendly. 

In addition to this, the country is in the bottom ten when it comes to personal finance and second to last when ranked on the cost of living. 

The majority who made the switch to Norway also felt the cost of living was far too high. 

The impact of Covid-19 on life in Norway 

More than ten percent of those who upped sticks to Norway said that the most significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic was on their finances.

 The pandemic has also affected foreign residents’ lives on an individual level as well as an economic one. 

Over one third said that their travel was severely limited by coronavirus restrictions. Another 30 percent said that their social life had suffered due to the pandemic; both figures are higher than the worldwide average.

InterNations is a networking group comprising of four million members in 420 cities around the world.

For its annual Expat Insider survey, InterNation asked 12,400 foreign residents in 59 countries to provide information on various aspects of life and asked them to rate 37 different aspects of life in these countries. 

These were put into five categories, quality of life, ease of settling, working abroad, personal finance and cost of living.  


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