Refugees find Arctic gate to Schengen

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Migration pressure is increasing in Europe, including at the northernmost Schengen border. (Thomas Nilsen/Barents Observer)
Migration pressure is increasing in Europe, including at the northernmost Schengen border. (Thomas Nilsen/Barents Observer)
Norway takes extraordinary measures as the influx of refugees across its Arctic border with Russia surges.

The numbers are still insignificant compared with other Schengen borders. However, Norwegian authorities appear to take no chances as the number of refugees crossing the border from Russia is reaching an unprecedented number.

Fines and prison terms

In a press release, the Norwegian Police warns travellers that they will face fines and prison terms of up to six years if they bring with them individuals without valid entry documents to the country.

So far this year, a total of 131 refugees have been registered at Storskog, the Norwegian crossing point on the border to Russia. In all of 2014, only between 5-10 refugees made it across the border, Police representative Hans Møllebakken says to BarentsObserver.

The 196 km long Norwegian-Russian border is the northernmost in the Schengen zone. It has only one crossing point, the Storskog-Borisgleb checkpoint.

Crackdown expected

Over the past months, several Norwegian travelers have brought with them people across the border without knowing that they were refugees. In most cases, the travelers from good will simply agreed to offer the people a lift to the border.

That might come to an end now, as the Police announces it will crack down on the migration.

“We strongly encourage all travelers not to bring with them people without passports and visas to Norway”, the press release from the East Finnmark Police District stresses.

According to Police representative Hans Møllebakken, most of the refugees come from Syria. Some of them have lived in Russia for several years and some come directly from Syria, he says to BarentsObserver.

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Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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