The delays have led to at least one fistfight. Foreigners moving to Norway have to renew their residence and working permission every year for the first three years they’re in the country. New immigrants arriving in Norway under family reunification programs also have to report to the immigration office within a week of arrival in the country.
That forces hundreds of people to line up every day, to process their papers and secure the necessary new stamps in their passports. Technical problems have slowed down an already understaffed situation, reported newspaper Aftenposten Aften on Thursday.
Only seven or eight workers are on duty at a time to process the hundreds of people who show up. At lunch time, only two or three workers are on duty.
The waiting time has grown so long that tempers run short. Last week two people who’d been standing in line for hours started quarrelling and things got violent. Since then, uniformed police have been patrolling the line, even though the immigration office itself is located in the downtown police station.
In some cases, people have endured three days in line and still fail to get through to a case worker. Dozens have turned up to pull a number long before the office opens in the morning.