Asylum permits may be revoked

Thousands of Eritreans who have been granted asylum in Norway may have to leave, reports say

Michael Sandelson & Sarah Bostock
The Foreigner

The move comes as a result of the Rightist government reviving Paragraph 37 of the Immigration Act.

This piece of legislation, which is currently dormant, states that the issue of protection can be reprocessed before a final residence permit is granted.

NRK also reports that it applies to situations when conditions, such as war in the country, change. This consequently alters the basis for being granted asylum in Norway.

The deadline is valid for three years after the first temporary residence permit is granted.

Conservative (H) Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s government, a bipartite coalition with the Progress Party (FrP), wishes to increase this to five.

“Those who come to Norway to seek asylum shall not continue to stay when the reason why they applied for asylum has been nullified before they have received [their] permanent residence permit,” Minister of Justice Anders Anundsen stated last month.

Deputy Minister of Justice Himanshu Gulati spent two days in the Eritrean capital last year regarding the matter. “We met with officials from various ministries to discuss sending some Eritreans home,” The Guardian reported him as saying then. “These individuals are vetted by the immigration department and have been found not to have a need for asylum.”

Norway’s Leftist tripartite coalition also considered a return agreement with Eritrea whilst they were in power. “The Eritrean Foreign Minister does not discount forced return of Eritreans from Norway either,” Jøran Kallmyr, incumbent Junior Minister of Justice for the Progress Party, told NRK.

Multi-year national service is the reason most Eritreans have been given asylum in Norway. Eritrea’s government has promised Norway that this will not exceed one and a half years. “The prerequisite for a return agreement is that national service is not more than 18 months,” concluded the Junior Minister.

The proposal from the Norwegian government, which has demanded documentation from Eritrea showing that all those returned will be treated humanely, has been sent for hearing.

Eritreans are one of the largest refugee groups to have been granted asylum in Norway in more recent years.

2,720 Eritreans have been granted asylum in Norway in the last 16 months, some 7,000 during the last five years, according to Directorate of Immigration (UDI) figures.

This article was originally published on The Foreigner. To subscribe to The Foreigner, visit

It also appeared in the May 22, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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