– No one has come from Moldova

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, almost six million people have fled. More than 450,000 have fled across the border into Moldova.

With its 2.6 million inhabitants, the small country is considered Europe’s poorest country. The large influx of refugees has therefore created problems and the country was quick to ask for assistance from other European countries.

In March, Norway agreed to Moldova’s request to deport Ukrainian refugees.

– Moldova has asked for help to deal with the influx of refugees, and Norway will stand up, said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

But the UDI confirms to TV 2 that there have still not been any refugees from the hard-hit country.

– No one has come from Moldova yet, but they will come pretty soon, says UDI director Frode Forfang.

Demanding to reach out to them

The UDI tells TV 2 that most Ukrainian refugees in Moldova live with host families, and that it is a demanding job to reach out to them and inform about the possibility of being transferred to other countries.

– This affects how quickly the Norwegian authorities can receive a list of current candidates, says Hanne Rygh Holter, senior communications adviser at the UDI.

She states that it is UNHCR that coordinates the transfer for the European countries.

– European countries have so far offered to transfer just under 20,000 people from Moldova. As of 9 May 2022, there were a total of 1,275 people in seven different countries, says Rygh Holter.

On March 30, the Minister of Justice said that almost everything was ready to receive the refugees.

– The government has worked to start the transfers from Moldova as soon as possible, and the first will be able to arrive next week, says Minister of Justice and Emergency Management Emilie Enger Mehl.

Fewer refugees than expected

The UDI says that the flow of refugees to Norway has begun to stop in recent weeks. To date, 16,152 Ukrainian refugees have applied for collective protection in Norway. 11,688 of these have been granted their application.

– We initially saw quite large arrivals from Ukraine. What we have seen is a downward trend after Easter. In the last couple of weeks, there have been around 100 a day on average, says Forfang.

In total, fewer Ukrainian refugees have come to Norway than the UDI first estimated. The estimate has therefore been reduced from 60,000 to 45,000.

When asked if the UDI experiences that refugees do not want to go to Norway, they answer that many Ukrainian refugees do not know Norway from before.

– In addition, Norway is far away from Ukraine and many hope that they can return to their home country as soon as possible, says Rygh Holter.

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