The Norwegian government has come under fire from pro-migrant groups after announcing it would be removing refugee status from some 1,600 Somalians and sending them back to Somalia, noting the situation in the country had improved.
The Norwegian government has said that Somalia now has a more stable government and the refugees no longer need the protection of the Norwegian state, Nettavisen reports.
Several pro-asylum seeker groups have spoken out against the move accusing the government of breaking international asylum rules, such as the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS) which argued that the conditions in Somali have not changed enough to justify stripping the migrants of refugee status.
“The Somali state can not offer effective protection,” said senior advisor to NOAS André Møkkelgjerd. The organisation is also challenging the decision to remove the refugee status of one Somali in court.
Norwegian State Secretary Torkil Åmland commented on the opposition to the move saying, “The fact that some organisations disagree with the strict asylum and immigration policy that this government is leading is not the same as breaking the rules.”
“The whole basis of the refugee convention is that there are only people with real protection needs that are entitled to stay. Neither the Constitution nor our international obligations mean that a foreign national is entitled to a particular type of permit in Norway,” Åmland added.
Migrants in Norway have become a strain on the country’s generous welfare system with individuals from migrant backgrounds making up half of the welfare recipients in the country.
A report from the Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research released last year also revealed that the longer migrants were in Norway, the more likely they were to be dependent on state handouts and less likely to be employed.
Despite the Norwegian people overwhelmingly resisting mass migration in previous opinion polls, the European Union has pushed for the country, which is not a full member of the bloc, to take in more migrants from Africa.