OSLO, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Half-year statistics showed increased number of Turks who applied for asylum in Norway, while at the same time the number of family immigration application has been the lowest in last five years, public broadcaster NRK reported Thursday.
In the first half of 2018, 1,116 asylum seekers came to Norway, which is about the same as in the same period last year and lower than in 2016, according to the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI).
There are 245 Turks who have applied for asylum in the first half. Among them, 142 came in June, accounting for about half of all asylum seekers in the month, said the report.
Most of the Turkish applicants argue they are linked to the network supporting fugitive preacher Fethullah Gulen and are pursued by the Turkish authorities.
So far this year, most of asylum seekers of this category have been granted protection in Norway. Now the Norwegian authorities decided to wait with further processing of these applications.
"When there has been a strong increase in a short period of time, we need to get information about how other European countries handle and treat these cases. We want to make sure that what we do is right and in line with what other countries do in similar cases," said Frode Forfang, director of UDI.
Immigration authorities have however recently adjusted down the forecast for the whole of 2018 from 3,000 to 2,000 asylum seekers. For 2019, the forecast is 3,000 people.
So far this year, 5,622 family members have come to Norway on the base of family immigration, which is 17 percent less than last year, NRK reported.
And there has been, compared to last year, an increase of 10 percent of non-Europeans who seek work permits in Norway. So far this year, 5,238 people from outside the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) have been granted permission to work in the country.