Push to find missing immigrantsPush to find missing immigrants
Police say they will now step up efforts to find illegal immigrants. In the past four years over 20,000 persons have left Norwegian asylum reception centers and vanished. In 2002 police estimated that about 4,000 persons were living in Oslo illegally, newspaper Dagsavisen reports. Since then, new figures from the UDI (Directorate of Immigration) indicate that 20,530 persons have disappeared from asylum centers. Director Paula Tolonen at the UDI's asylum division told Dagsavisen that most of these have probably returned home or moved on to apply for residency in another country, but police believe that there are still many living illegally here. "It is no coincidence that so many disappear just before their application is rejected. There is reason to believe that there is a significant number living here 'underground'. It is both a societal and a security problem," police commissioner Arne Jørgen Olafsen of the PU (Police Immigration Unit) told the newspaper. So far this year the UDI has decided on around 1,000 deportations. Oslo police have expelled over 300. The deportations apply to foreigners who have committed serious crimes, persons without legal residence discovered during police controls, or those who commit minor crimes such as petty theft.