The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of the Directorate of Immigration’s processing of immigration cases, central government refugee reception centres and performance in connection with the integration grant (Document no. 3:8 [2001–2002]) was submitted to the Storting on 28. June.
The audit revealed that there were material weaknesses in the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development’s (KRD) management of the Directorate of Immigration as a subordinate agency. Considerable weaknesses were also detected in the Directorate of Immigration’s internal management. For several years, unrealistic and inappropriate performance requirements have been set for the agency, and the auditors found deficiencies in the Directorate of Immigration’s management for planning and reporting.
The Office of the Auditor General found that the Ministry had not obtained figures that allowed it to assess whether processing time has in fact been reduced compared with previous years.
The target is that adult refugees shall be given a place to live within six months of being granted a residence permit. The audit demonstrated that this target had been met for less than one third of refugees in the first half of 2001.
The Office of the Auditor General found that getting the municipalities to allow a sufficient number of refugees to settle was a major challenge. Refugees become more financially independent with each year that they live in Norway, but this process is slow. The Office of the Auditor General believes that the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development should assess more measures that target groups of immigrants that face particular problems in the labour market.
In terms of the refugee centres, the audit found that there are grounds to assume that they are being run in compliance with the applicable requirements. Although the material revealed that there are certain weaknesses in the running of all the refugee centres, no instances were found where centres had extensive deficiencies. Nevertheless, the audit provides grounds for calling for better follow-up of the refugee centres on the part of the Directorate of Immigration.
In its response, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development pointed out that it has initiated several schemes to reduce processing time. Attention is now being focused on the Directorate of Immigration’s follow-up of refugee reception centres and measures to increase the rate of settlement.
This report is available in Norwegian on the Office of the Auditor General’s website – www.riksrevisjonen.no – or can be ordered from the University bookshop Akademika, tel. +47 22 11 67 70.