01:52 GMT30 October 2020
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    The Norwegian parliament may vote on governmental proposals to toughen the country's refugee policy, presented on Tuesday, in late spring, senior communications adviser to the Immigration Ministry Andreas Skjold-Lorange told Sputnik on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, Norwegian Minister of Immigration and Integration Sylvi Listhaug presented to parliament the government’s package of proposals that seeks to make the rules for migrants and asylum seekers stricter. To become law, the final draft needs to be approved by the parliament, where the ruling coalition of the Conservatives and the Progress Party does not have a majority.

    "I [am] not quite sure when it [the vote in parliament] may happen, but at least before the summer," Skjold-Lorange said. "Now the parliament groups will discuss proposals and to see if they agree or amend it in any way," he added.

    The proposals include restrictions on family reunions, extending the qualifying period for obtaining a permanent residence permit from three to five years as well as an initiative to enable the authorities to reject applications from asylum seekers who enter Norway through a neighboring country.

    Lishaug's Progress Party has become known for its harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric. Last week Lishaug instructed the Directorate of Immigration (UDI) to consider withdrawing refugee status and residence permits if there are changes to the political, human rights or security situation in a refugee’s country of origin, that would make it safe to return. According to a statement published on the ministry's website on Monday, these instructions will not apply to quota refugees or to refugees who have already been granted permanent residence permits or residence on humanitarian grounds.

    In 2015, Norway saw a record 31,145 people apply for asylum, with migrants fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq making up the bulk of the applications.


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