Norway tightens border measures to lower refugee influx

Norway begins requesting identification papers from passengers and checking ferries from Sweden, Denmark and Germany after Sweden tightens border restrictions due to refugee crisis

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A girl looks out from a temporary reception centre at Storskog border station in northern Norway October 13, 2015.

Updated Nov 27, 2015

Norway started on Thursday to check the identification papers of people on all trips abroad after the adoption of a decision by the Norwegian government to tighten border controls.

The Police Directorate warned all passengers on Wednesday to carry their IDs on them as they are arriving or leaving the country.

The warning came after Sweden announced that it cannot handle the massive refugee influx into the country any longer, adding that it pushed to implement strict measures.

"The current situation is unsustainable so we must drastically reduce the number of asylum seekers coming to Sweden," Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a news conference on Tuesday.

The measures also included checks on ferries arriving from Sweden, Denmark and Germany.

"We are implementing border controls at all ferry points. That means that people will have to document who they are when they come," Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg told the Norsk Rikskringkasting (NRK) TV channel.

“Now that Sweden has implemented border controls, it will help us. But it could also mean that more people will come to Norway via boat from Germany and Denmark. [We are putting in controls] to keep the Danish ferry and the Kiel ferry from becoming the new influx point,” she added.

Norwegian expects that it will receive at least 33,000 refugees this year, many of whom are likely to be Afghans.

As a consequence, beginning on Monday, Norway started to advertise its new refugee policy in Afghan newspapers to encourage Afghans think again about seeking asylum to Norway.

The Afghanistan Times and the Hasht-e-subh newspapers published the advertisements on their front pages with the titles of "Stricter immigration regulations in Norway - important information!".

Norway’s justice ministry also launched a Facebook page called "Stricter asylum regulations in Norway" to warn desperate people who hope to reach the country.  

Norwegian authorities took similar measures on Twitter.  

The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration tweeted in Pashto, Dari and English that it would be introducing new regulations.

"Afghans without need for asylum coming the #Arctic_route from #Russia, risk being sent to #Kabul. 500 returned from #Norway 2014/15" was among one of the tweets.

TRTWorld and agencies