Norway: Fake asylum seekers

Immigration authorities suspect that as many as half of the would-be refugees arriving from Somalia are bluffing their way into Norway.

The Norwegian authorities say many of the Somalian asylum seekers claim they're from the war-torn south, when they instead may come from the more peaceful north and thus be inelibigle for refugee status.

The authorities therefore have been using language tests in an effort to expose asylum seekers who may be lying about their background. Test results show that as many as half speak dialects found in the north, and not the south.

Most of those arriving from Somalia lack passports, and many also have scraped fingertips, making it difficult to determine their identity. More than 320 Somalians were asked to take language tests between January and July, and 37 percent didn't speak the dialect of the south. Test results were inconclusive in another 11 percent of the cases.

That placed nearly half under suspicion of lying about their origins, and that they didn't qualify for the asylum protection they claimed they needed.

Asylum advocates claim that many Somalians have moved from the south to the north, which could explain the dialect confusion, and that they therefore should still be granted asulum.

The authorities are quick to point out that language test results alone aren't the only means of determining whether an aylum application will be approved. Arne Jørgen Olafsen of the police unit charged with enforcing immigration criteria told newspaper Aftenposten, though, that the tests can quickly indicate who is speaking truthfully.

The number of Somalian asylum-seekers arriving in Norway, meanwhile, has declined, from 84 in January to just 30 in September.

Source: Aftenposten (English)

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