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Migration minister: 'speed up deportations'

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Refugees arriving in Stockholm last month. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
16:06 CEST+02:00
Forced deportations of asylum seekers who have been refused entry to Sweden must be intensified, Swedish minister for migration, Morgan Johansson, told Swedish Radio on Saturday.

Johansson pointed out that approximately 6,000 people with deportation orders are still living in Sweden.

“You must surely start with them. The space is needed for newly arrived asylum seekers,” Johansson said.

Since 2011 between 3,000 and 4,000 people have been deported annually. Now Johansson says that more money should be spent on enforcing the deportation orders, with the funds directed to the police and other authorities who handle deportations.

The more long-term work is, according to Johansson, finding and rejecting those who have deportation orders but who live hidden "in a shadowy existence", often exploited by unscrupulous employers who take advantage of their situation.

Johansson also insisted that the government has control over the escalating refugee crisis. 

However, to improve the nation's preparedness he called for the support of the opposition centre-right parties in parliament for a law that obliges municipalities to receive refugees. So far, the opposition has rejected the proposal.

An increasing proportion of refugees due to be deported from Sweden are instead disappearing. Last year Migrationsverket decided to expel more than 20,000 people.

The proportion of those leaving the country voluntarily after the expulsion order was 41 percent. That left 11,112 set for police investigation. Some of those were forcibly deported, but in most cases the refugees went underground.

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According to Migrationsverket, the vast majority of the "disappeared" are Dublin Regulation cases.

Under the Dublin Regulation, refugees should be deported back to the first EU country they entered, often Italy or Greece, which have the worst welfare provision. But if refugees can delay their re-applications by 18 months, they may be able to stay in Sweden, hence the motivation to go underground.

Sweden is expected to receive at least 74,000 asylum applications by the end of 2015 and last year took in more refugees per capita than any other EU nation.

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