The government of Norway is establishing a new policy that limits terms of asylum to a maximum of five years. After this time period, refugees in Norway will be returned to their places of origin, assuming that the situation in their original country has improved during their stay abroad.

State Secretary of Norway Joran Kallemyr said, “If the war in Syria ends, or conditions in Iraq improve, they (the refugees) will have to prepare for the return trip. If there are changes in the country that means you no longer need protection in Norway, you should basically be returned.”

Kallemyr is a senior official from the Progress Party in Norway’s Ministry of Justice. He said that the policy was put out for consultation by the government. Kallemyr is hopeful that the policy can make its way through parliament before Christmas vacation.

Kallemyr went on to say that the policy would also apply to entire families.

He explained, “If anyone gets a family reunion and the asylum applicant who is the reference person can no longer stay in Norway, the whole family will return. What we are obligated to do under international law is to not prevent families being together, but we are not obliged to arrange for the family to come to Norway.”

According to Kallemyr, Norway has already ceased the practice of paying for flights and other needed expenses of people travelling to Norway for the purpose of seeing family members. However, Sweden is still continuing this practice.

Kallemyr says that the country is following in the footsteps of Germany by bringing in temporary asylum. Germany has allowed three years of temporary asylum for Syrians that are escaping the war in their country.

The immigration department of Norway expects more than 30,000 new asylum applications to be submitted next year. The country received a record 5,000 applicants last month.

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