Norway prepares for refugee influx

A man and two children, who are fleeing Ukraine, board a bus which will take refugees to Germany, at the train station in Przemysl, Poland, Thursday, March 3, 2022. More than 1 million people have fled Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in the swiftest refugee exodus in this century, the United Nations said Thursday. (NTB / AP / Markus Schreiber)

Government and immigration authorities working to increase capacity

FRAZER NORWELL
The Local

The Norwegian government and the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) are bracing themselves for an influx of refugees fleeing war in Ukraine and are working to increase capacity.

“Norway is prepared to take responsibility and provide protection to people on the run. We have been working intensely the last few days. As of now, we do not know how big the influx will be, but it [the situation] can change quickly,” Emilie Enger Mehl, justice minister, told newspaper VG.

Immigration authorities currently have the capacity to receive up to 1,000 refugees at a day’s notice, Frode Forfang, director of the UDI, told VG.

“If it (the influx) came tomorrow, we would manage 1,000 (arrivals) without doing anything extraordinary. But we are in the process of building up and expanding capacity, and we are now preparing to have a much larger capacity than we have at the moment,” Forfang said.

“We do not know how much capacity will be needed. It depends on the pace and how fast this [the situation] escalates. We have seen from the past that if there is a crisis, then there are plenty of ways to expand a good deal,” he added.

The Norwegian government has already said that Ukrainians with biometric passports can stay longer than the typically permitted 90 days without a visa until further notice.

The justice minister said that the government was considering granting Ukrainians in Norway temporary residence for up to three years if they can prove they are citizens.

The Local

This article first appeared in The Local, a independent source for Norway's news in English. Visit www.thelocal.no.

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