OSLO (Reuters) - Stricter border controls in Sweden have led to a sharp drop in the number of people seeking asylum in neighbouring Norway, the Norwegian Immigration Authority (UDI) said on Monday.
Norway last week followed EU-member Sweden in tightening the border controls to try to reduce the number of asylum seekers reaching the country as Europe deals with the surge of refugees from conflicts such as Afghanistan and Syria.
The Nordic country, which has a population of 5.2 million people, received some 968 asylum seekers last week, a drop of 54 percent compared to the previous week, the UDI said.
“There is no doubt that what has happened in Sweden and especially the border control ... has direct impact on Norway,” the head of the UDI, Frode Forfang, said, adding that the number of asylum seekers normally would decline during the winter season.
Norway expects to receive some 35,000 asylum seekers this year, triple what it was last year, but still a relatively modest number compared with Sweden who expects up to 190,000 asylum seekers this year.
Norway is not a member of the European Union but is a member of the passport-free Schengen zone.
Reporting by Stine Jacobsen