Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Asylum seekers vanish

More than 19,000 persons who came to Norway to seek asylum have disappeared over the past six years. It's unclear whether they left the country or remain in Norway as illegal aliens. New figures from Norway's immigration authority (Utlendingsdirektoratet, UDI) indicate that nearly 7,000 would-be refugees disappeared from asylum centers in 2003 alone. Another 1,136 have disappeared so far this year, reports newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad. Around 60 percent of those who left the asylum centers, which aren't run as locked institutions, are between 18 and 34 years of age. Around 20 percent are younger than 18. No one can say what has happened to those who applied for asylum but left with no forwarding address while their cases were being processed. Roar Hanssen of the police chapter at UDI said the majority likely move on to try their luck in another country, or they attempt to live "underground" in Norway. "Experience shows that people disappear just before they receive formal adjudication of their case," Hanssen said.


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