The chief of IOM Norway, Steve Hamilton, is not surprised with the spike in returns after a dramatic surge of asylum seekers who made their way into Europe in 2015.
"They are expected to be able to work, care for their families and contribute to the communities they came to. But here there are few jobs, and besides their qualifications are often not recognized," Steve Hamilton told NRK.
"Many [of the newcomers] have expertise and skills that are not used today. If you are going to be good in Norwegian, you must get the opportunity to practice. And work is the most important arena for practicing languages," Gina Lund, Director of Competence Norway, told NRK.
A remarkable feature of this homecoming trend is that many asylum seekers have requested return trip assistance before having their asylum application approved or even before having applied altogether.
"People expect to get permission within a certain period of time. When they discover that it takes a lot longer, they start having second thoughts on whether it pays waiting so long for an answer that may prove negative," Hamilton explained.
"We thought we were going to paradise when we were heading to Norway and that everything would be fine. But since we arrived, we have not had a good night's sleep. The kids are always crying," mother of seven Jalilah Asad Ibrahim told NRK.
"The children don't get on here. They want back to the tent in Lebanon, where they can play outside in the sun with relatives and friends all day long. Here it is cold and dark," a sad Mohammed Eid Ibrahim told NRK.
In 2015, Norway received a record 32,000 refugees. However, the "bumper crop" year was followed by only over 3,000 asylum seekers in 2016, following a marked tightening of asylum laws.
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