United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

26-27 April 2012

Thursday 26 April to Friday 27 April 2012

Significant increase expected in family reunifications

Denmark  

The Government’s recent changes to the immigration law is estimated to cost DKK 210 million. The new less strict rules on family reunification will be implemented as of 1 July. The Ministry of Justice has calculated the costs and estimates that the number of family reunifications will increase by 1,000 persons per year from 2,900 in 2011. Inger Støjberg from the Liberal Party says that the numbers clearly show that there is no coherence between the rhetoric of the Government and its policy.

Liberal Alliance wishes to increase spending on family reunification

Denmark  

The Liberal Alliance wishes to liberalise the rules concerning family reunification. The Party has also proposed to move asylum-seekers out of reception centres and into individual apartments and remove the start-up assistance. The Danish People’s Party is calling the promise contradictory, as it seemingly clashes with the Liberal Party’s promise to cut expenditure in the public sector.

Expert: Impossible to stop illegal immigration to the EU

Denmark  

Danish expert Hans Kornø Rasmussen, who has a PhD in international economy, states that the action plan to be put forward by the Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union on illegal immigration will only slow down illegal immigration. He adds that it looks like a good action plan, but he does not believe the problem of illegal immigration will ever be stopped. – The EU is surrounded by poor countries with many young people who have ties to Europe. That is why illegal immigration is similar to the one you see in the US with people from Mexico, Rasmussen states. Rasmussen also points out the southern European countries’ demand for immigrant labour.

Video conferences save time and money in asylum centres

Denmark  

Up until now, asylum-seekers from an accommodation centre in Tranum have spent time and state money travelling back and forth for interviews. New video conferencing facilities have cut time and costs. The head of the centre, Thorkild Poulsen, states that their residents often have to travel many hours to Copenhagen in order to meet with various authorities regarding their cases. The video conference system is expected to be implemented in 20 asylum centres before the end of 2012.

 

 

Minister of Justice accused of speaking with two tongues

Denmark  

Parts of the opposition accuses Minister of Justice Morten Bødskov of speaking with two tongues regarding changes in connection to rules concerning deportation of criminal immigrants. The Danish public has been told that the new rules do not have any real impact, while the EU Commission has been informed that criminal immigrants will be more difficult to deport due to the changes.

Immigrant youth face higher risk of alienation

Finland  

Pekka Myrskylä, researcher from Statistics Finland, says more efforts should be made to prevent alienation of immigrant youth in society. The marginalization percentage of Finnish and Swedish youth is 3.7 per cent compared to 20 per cent among other language speakers. Myrskylä has called on the Government to give more priority to the plight of immigrant youths as part of its Youth Guarantee project.

Norway increases aid to Syrian refugees

Norway  

Norway increases its humanitarian support to Syrian refugees by NOK 25 million. – All the money is not yet channelled, but we work closely with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) concerning how and where the money will be spent, says Gry Larsen from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. However, it is clear that some of the money will go to helping Syrian refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries as well as to the many Syrians who now find themselves internally displaced. Gry Larsen also states that Norway has earmarked some of the money for school projects carried out by UNHCR.

Centre Party politician demands unaccompanied minors to be age tested

Sweden  

Staffan Danielsson from the Centre Party wants to age test unaccompanied minors to ensure that there are no adults among them. Both the Centre Party’s spokesperson for migration issues and the Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy are however critical of Danielsson’s stance, not least because age tests already are in use.

Administrator at SMB who hid documents is fired

Sweden  

An administrator at the Swedish Migration Board (SMB) has been caught hiding 130 citizenship and residence permit applications in her office, dating back from 2008. Several people have subsequently been denied permits due to her actions. The administrator has now been fired and the SMB is to examine how much damage has been done, with possible charges being brought against the administrator.

Right wing extremist party allowed advertising on Facebook

Sweden  

Svenskarnas Parti (SVP) has been allowed to publish an advertisement on Facebook which states – tired of multiculturalism and criminality? Follow SVP on Facebook – Swedens fastest growing nationalistic party.

Web sites publishing Migration Court verdicts reported to the police

Sweden  

The Data Inspection Board has reported three websites to the police as they have published rulings from the Migration Court that include sensitive personal data. At least one of the servers is situated in the USA which will complicate the process as the country’s laws differ from Sweden’s.

 

 

Municipalities receive insufficient funds to integrate refugees

Sweden  

The refugee coordinator in Lycksele municipality, Elin Eriksson, claims that the funds municipalities receive from the state to integrate refugees are insufficient. Currently, the municipality receives SEK 82 000 per refugee per year. However, the Swedish classes alone cost SEK 104 000 per person per year. The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions is now surveying the costs associated with receiving refugees.

Newly arrived refugees stuck in transit

Sweden  

Around 3,000 newly arrived refugees are currently living in temporary accommodation provided by the Swedish Migration Board (SMB), a number which has increased by 400 since the beginning of the year. Since 2010, the Swedish Public Employment Service has been responsible for providing jobs and housing to newly arrived refugees. However, investigations show that it takes a long time for refugees to get access to the services they are promised, hence the large numbers that are currently stuck in transit.

Sweden’s new migration deal has “unsolved problems”

Sweden  

Although a constructive dialogue exists between the Green Party (MP) and the Government according to Tobias Billström, the Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy, “unsolved problems” still exist. However, he believes they will be solved before 2014. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has stated that the large costs related to providing healthcare to undocumented individuals are proving to be an obstacle. 

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