OSLO, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- More than 5,000 asylum seekers to Norway escaped reception centers last year and the government is considering use of ankle monitors and electronic surveillance to gain more control, newspaper Aftenposten reported Friday.
According to the report, the disappearances happened at the same time as the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI)refused record number of asylum applications. In 2016, there were 5,445 rejected applications and 5,482 asylum seekers ran away from the centers.
Almost half of them either returned afterwards or have been found by the authorities, but by the end of November there were still 2,743 asylum seekers with unknown whereabouts.
There were more than 30,000 asylum seekers coming into Norway in 2015, which was reduced to 3,460 last year. That meant that in 2016 there was almost equal number of those who disappeared from the reception centers as those who just arrived to Norway.
"Most of them leave the reception center either shortly after arrival, around the time when they receive answer or rejection of their application -- just when they receive results of age examination, or when they are about to undergo age examination," said Vibeke Schjem, UDI's press advisor.
Just before Christmas, Norway's national police directorate delivered a report on the possibilities of using electronic control of foreigners or asylum seekers who is feared to evade deportation.
"Every single year there are many that get final rejection of their asylum application. They are to be returned to their homeland. But unfortunately many try to avoid being sent out. Therefore it is important that the Norwegian authorities have as good control as possible of those who are to be sent out of Norway," said Andreas Bondevik, senior communications advisor of Norwegian ministry of justice.
Electronic control with ankle monitors is used now as an atonement option by Norwegian correctional service.
The police directorate is now asked to consider what kind of electronic control that may be applicable to foreigners, whether there are alternatives to ankle monitors, how much would such control tools cost and whether there is need for rule changes to put them to use.
Minister of immigration Sylvi Listhaug has asked the police in particular to investigate whether electronic monitoring could be an alternative to imprisonment in cases affecting children, the report said.