“Many cannot wait (for the asylum process to run its course). They have family at home who expect them to be able to help.
“For a long time, Norway has not been able to forcibly return people to Somalia, but now that we can, I think that more Somalis with an obligation to leave will opt for assisted return.
“It’s important to have more initiatives of this kind in the future.”
The UDI’s figures show that more than 900 people have applied to take financial support to leave Norway so far.
A couple with two children can receive upwards of 80,000 kroner (£6,200) in addition to having their flights paid for.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), which processes the Voluntary Assisted Return Programme requests and offers advice and counselling, described it as “safe and dignified”.
Read more: Independent.co.uk