The UDI has a duty to offer housing to all asylum seekers, but they are not obliged to stay in the reception centres. Most accept a place in a reception centre, but many choose to leave the centre after a while – either for good or for a shorter or longer period.
Not everyone tells us where they are going
The UDI is not able or entitled to hold back persons who wish to leave, but we ask everyone to notify the reception centre and the UDI about where they are going. However, many people leave the reception centres without giving a new address. At the end of 2010, 3,580 persons had left without us knowing where they were staying. Based on experience, many of them will be registered with a known address at a later date. Some have probably gone back to their home country, some have gone to other European countries without being registered in the Dublin system, and others have found a place to stay in Norway on their own.
Unaccompanied minor asylum seekers aged between 15 and 18 live in separate reception centres and units. This is also voluntary. If young asylum seekers leave the reception centre, the standard procedure is to report this to the police and the child welfare service. The UDI takes the disappearance of unaccompanied minors from reception centres very seriously, and we are constantly endeavouring to prevent this happening.
Experience shows that most of the young people who leave reception centres either do so very early in the asylum process or after having received a rejection of their asylum application. Many of those who leave early had been registered in another European country before they came. As a rule, this means that we will not process their asylum application in Norway. Those who have received a rejection are not entitled to protection in the Norwegian authorities’ view. They are also often considered to be adults.
Over or around 18 years old
The vast majority of the asylum seekers who come to Norway have no papers or documents that can confirm their age. They are initially registered with the age that they have stated. The result of the age assessment process means that about a quarter of all those who apply for protection as unaccompanied minors are treated as adults when we make a decision in their case.
Many of those who leave reception centres for young asylum seekers are either just over or just under 18 years old. A total of 78 of the asylum seekers who left a reception centre for young asylum seekers in 2010 had not yet been registered with a known address by the end of the year.