Norway’s recent decision to tighten asylum policies in order to bring down the number of refugees seems to be in tune with popular sentiment, a new poll shows.
In a matter of just five months, Norwegians appear to have largely reversed their outlook on accepting refugees. In a poll conducted by Ipsos MMI and published on Saturday, 42 percent of respondents said that Norway should accept fewer refugees, 25 percent said the numbers shouldn’t raise from the current level and 28 percent thought the Nordic country should take in more refugees.
A similar poll carried out in June showed nearly the opposite, with 42 percent advocating for more refugees and 31 percent saying there should be fewer let in to Norway.
PM Erna Solberg told Dagbladet that she is in agreement with the Norwegians that there are too many refugees currently seeking out the country.
“It is important that we try to limit the number of groundless asylum applications. It is in the best interests of Norwegian society, the ability to successfully integrate and for those people who have a genuine need for protection,” she said.
Under the deal, the government will reduce asylum seekers’ social benefits, putting them on a par with levels in neighbouring Nordic countries to make Norway less attractive, and speed up the processing of some cases and the expulsion of rejected asylum seekers.
It will also limit access to permanent residency, and make it harder to qualify for family reunifications.