On 2016 projected global resettlement needs

UNHCR’s 2016 projected global resettlement needs is a treasure trove of context as to what’s going on, statistically, and the behind the scenes of global resettlement.

From page 17,

Strategic response 2015 – 2016

The Resettlement Service will:

• Expand global capacity and response: Resettlement needs continue to outstrip the number of available places, particularly emergency places.

• Streamline procedures: Resettlement processing challenges require collaboration and resources by UNHCR and States to further simplify resettlement procedures while ensuring the integrity of the process.

• Preserve the humanitarian foundation of resettlement: UNHCR will continue to advocate for States to avoid restrictive selection criteria based on integration potential and to receive refugees recognized under UNHCR’s mandate.

• Expand reception and integration capacity: UNHCR will support the ongoing efforts of resettlement partners and networks to reinforce the integration capacity of receiving communities.

• Situate resettlement within comprehensive solutions: UNHCR will work with host and resettlement countries to integrate resettlement more effectively with other durable solutions.

• Promote multi-year commitments: The use of multi-year resettlement commitments has been identified as a best practice that enables predictable planning and resource allocation, particularly for priority refugee situations and protracted situations.

• Boost field capacity: UNHCR will provide eld-oriented guidance, practical training and operational tools, as well as strategic deployments of af liate workforce.

• Foster partnerships: UNHCR will continue to ensure the effective management of global resettlement efforts through partnerships with the wider NGO community, IOM and other institutions.

• Ensure the integrity of the protection response: UNHCR will develop specialized training and guidance on fraud prevention, investigation, and response, and on ensuring integrity at all stages of the protection-case management process.

• Improve global coordination: UNHCR and resettlement partners will maximize the use of the ATCR/WGR process to enhance the effectiveness and capacity of the global resettlement programme including through the review of existing core and contact groups.


On more proposed changes to Norwegian asylum and immigration policy

[05.04.2016 update: tracing the debate of the updated proposal can be found here.]

New innvandrings- og integreringsminister Sylvi Listhaug (Frp) put out a 150 page (! document available here) document outlining proposed changes to the Norwegian asylum and immigration policy today, including 40 major + minor changes to laws and regulations. Debate will is scheduled to conclude by 9 February, with proposals presented to Stortinget soon after.

The proposals include (via NRK) —

  • Tightens rules governing family reunification so that a person must have four years of work or education in Norway before family reunification can take place.
  • The government will issue payment cards to refugees instead of giving them cash. The aim is to prevent refugees sending money to family back home.
  • Asylum seekers arriving by transit visas across the border from Russia will not be able to get asylum.
  • Restricts visa freedom for asylum seekers. This means that asylum seekers are not entitled merits of his application for asylum in Norway, can be expelled from the border.
  • Creating a regulatory authority that gives right to grant temporary residence permits without taking a final decision on the need for protection. The temporary residence permit does not give the right to permanent residence, and does not provide a basis for family immigration.
  • It is proposed that the basis for permanent residence will lapse if the need for protection lapses within a period of five years.
  • The Government will reintroduce the distinction between people who are entitled to stay for the UN Refugee Convention, and those who are entitled to protection against return to their homeland after the human rights returning ban.
  • Unaccompanied minors seeking asylum to be given protection until the age of 18 years. It should then be re annual assessment, which determines whether an alien fulfills conditions for protection or stay in Norway on other grounds.
  • That an applicant shall be entitled to a permanent residence permit in Norway, the foreign national must sit the final examinations in Social Studies in a language he or she understands, as well as a final exam in Norwegian, indicating they master a minimum of spoken Norwegian.
  • Ministry wants to change Introduction Act so that people between 55 and 67 years of age must undergo training in Norwegian and social studies.
  • Permanent residence shall be refused if the applicant can not determine their own identity, or failure to obtain travel documents when it has prevented the return, or that the need for protection due to the applicants’ own actions after the applicant left the country of origin, and that the main purpose of these actions has been to obtain a residence permit.
  • The Government proposes that the appeal deadline is reduced from three weeks to one week in cases where the Directorate of Immigration (UDI) considers it obvious that an applicant does not meet the conditions for protection or protection against return.
  • The Government also proposes to make certain changes to the rules on legal aid in immigration cases, and proposes to remove the right to free legal advice in rejection cases under the Immigration Act.
  • It is proposed that the police should get store fingerprints of asylum seekers for 10 years.

Tracking public discussion:

On ‘massive’ resettlement programs

Via the BBC

[Antonio Guterres] called for the numbers of refugees being resettled in Europe to be increased.

“We are encouraged by the fact that a number of European countries have been saying, and I believe this is on the table to the European Council, that a massive resettlement programme needs to be put in place for Syrians, but I would expect also for refugees in general,” he told a news conference.

“And when I mean massive, I mean hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people, not just what has been discussed until now in relation to resettlement.

“If this is not put in place and the tragedy in the Aegean goes on and the Balkan chaotic situation goes on, I must say I am very worried for the future of the European asylum system.”

EU states have agreed to resettle 22,000 people direct from UN refugee camps but so far only about 600 have arrived.

Peter Sutherland, the UN special envoy for migration, also called on European states to take more refugees.

On godhetstyranniet

Here’s a concept new to me: godhetstyranniet.

In an article published 3.11.2015 at NRK that discusses the (then, debated) proposals for the Norwegian government’s refugee budget (flyktningbudsjett), Silvi Listhaug responds to critics of a more restrictive set of policies —

Listhaug mener meningsmotstanderne framstiller ønsker om kutt og innstramminger som slemme og kalde, mens de som ønsker en mer liberal politikk er gode og rause.

– Jeg reagerer på dette godhetstyranniet som rir det norske samfunnet som en mare, sier hun.

(emphasis in original text)

On informal polls

From TV2,

I en rundspørring TV 2 har utført blant nesten 1.000 asylsøkere på 19 asylmottak over hele landet, svarer 79 prosent av de spurte at de ser for seg en permanent fremtid i Norge.

TV 2 besøkte 19 akuttmottak for asylsøkere over hele landet der de delte ut et spørreskjema med ni spørsmål, på ni språk, for å få vite mer om asylsøkerne som er kommet til Norge.

984 voksne asylsøkere svarte på spørsmål om seg selv og fremtiden. Svarene viser tydelig at asylsøkerne ikke ønsker å reise hjem. Selv om forholdene i hjemlandet bedrer seg er det bare 15 prosent av de TV 2 snakket med som vil reise tilbake. Vel 5 prosent svarte at de ikke visste.


Undersøkelsen fra TV 2 er ikke statistisk representativ. Konklusjonene baserer seg på svarene som 984 voksne asylsøkere har gitt. Det har kommet vel 30.000 asylsøkere til Norge i år.

On seizing assets

Denmark is considering a new policy — via Dylan Matthews at Vox,

“The Danish Government has on 10 December presented a bill before the Danish Parliament which includes a number of different initiatives on asylum policy, including the initiative on seizing valuable assets,” Mia Tang, a spokesperson for the Danish Ministry of Immigration, Integration, and Housing explained in an email. “The bill will go through Parliamentary debate in January and will enter into force after adoption by the Parliament. The bill is expected to be effective from February 2016.”

Under the law, any possessions worth more than 3,000 kroner — about $440 — would be fair game for immigration authorities to seize. “Foreigners will always be able to keep assets which are necessary to maintain a modest standard of living, e.g. watches and mobile phones,” Tang insists. […]

[Tang] continues:

It follows from current rules that an asylum seeker, who brings sufficient means to take care of him- or herself, should not also receive support from the Immigration Service. The asylum seeker is obliged to inform on any means the asylum seeker brings with him or her. The bill presented on 10 December 2015 provides the Danish authorities with the power to search clothes and luggage of asylum seekers — and other migrants without a permit to stay in Denmark — with a view to finding assets which may cover the expenses mentioned above.

The law would apply both to refugees entering Denmark in the future and to ones there now.

see also: Denmark wants to seize jewelry and cash from refugees.

On new positions

Today’s new regjeringen brings a new position: innvandrings- og integreringsminister. Via NRK,

Ny statsrådspost

Sylvi Listhaug (37) går inn som innvandrings- og integreringsminister, en ny post som blir liggende under justisdepartementet.

– Det kan bli store synergieffekter av å se de to tingene sammen. En ekstra statsrådsstilling på det området er ganske nødvendig med den flyktningsituasjonen vi ser i dag, sier Solberg.

(emphasis in original text)

Also via NRK,

– Vi skal gjøre en rekke endringer som Stortinget står bak. Jeg gleder meg til å gjennomføre denne politikken, og jeg skal gjøre mitt ytterste for å holde tilstrømningen nede. Jeg skal også sørge for at de som ikke har rett til opphold, sendes ut så raskt som mulig, sa Listhaug.

– Må bidra

Hun mener Norge står overfor store utfordringer, og minnet om at tilstrømmingen av flyktninger til landet har vært rekordstor i 2015.

– Det er viktig at nye borgere bidrar og ikke bare blir passive mottakere av ytelser. Vårt samfunn er ikke bærekraftig dersom vi får et samfunn hvor mange personer lever på offentlig overføringer, sa Listhaug.

Hun lover å kjempe for at færre kommer til landet.

– Jeg er forberedt på at det kan komme flere flyktninger til våren, og derfor er det viktig å gjennomføre innstramminger, sa statsråden.

(emphasis in original text)

Here is the current organizational chart of the Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet:

  • Statsråd, Justis- og beredskapsminister: Anders Anundsen (FrP)
    • Statssekretær: Vidar Brein-Karlsen (FrP)
    • Statssekretær: Gjermund Hagesæter (FrP)
  • Statsråd, Innvandrings- og integreringsminister: Sylvi Listhaug (FrP)
    • Statssekretær: Jøran Kallmyr (FrP)
    • Statssekretær: Marit Berger Røsland (H)
    • Statssekretær: Hanne Caroline Simonsen Iversen (FrP)

An interesting aside: the day before the announcement, there was a collective freak out in the Norwegian news that Frp’s Per Sandberg was going to be given a similar job. My question: why the diversion? (are such leaks common in the Norwegian press?) To make Listhaug look less … by comparison?

Edit: Listhaug’s appointment brought more media attention than initially  expected (with her name even trending on Twitter [in Norway]) —