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Sweden sees highest asylum levels in history

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Temporary accommodation for asylum seekers in Sundbyberg, Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lindahl/TT
10:43 CEST+02:00
UPDATED: More refugees have sought asylum in Sweden so far in 2015 than in any other year in the Nordic nation's history, new figures released by the country's Migration Agency have revealed.
While earlier predictions suggested that 74,000 refugees would apply for migration in Sweden by December, Sweden's Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) said over the weekend that 86,223 people had already launched their cases in 2015.
 
The figure surpasses a previous record set in 1992 when 84,016 people sought asylum in the Scandinavian country following fighting in the Balkans.
 
Sweden's Migration Agency announced on its website that it had run out of space in its emergency accommodation for new arrivals.
 
The new figures emerged days after Sweden's Prime Minister announced that tent camps would likely be needed in order to provide enough shelter to refugees.
 
“Sweden is preparing for a crisis situation,” the Social Democrat leader told a press conference in Stockholm on Friday.
 
“Our focus is now on [providing] an organised reception. First of all, to ensure there is accommodation. The standards are being lowered. It's a matter of providing roof over heads. The government has today commissioned The Swedish Migration Agency to set up tents if it is necessary,” he said.  
 
“We're facing the worst international migrant crisis since the Second World War," he added.
 
Sweden is the only EU country which promises to give Syrian refugees automatic residence, however large numbers of people from Iraq and Afghanistan have also been seeking asylum in recent months.
 
While the Nordic nation has a global reputation for helping refugees fleeing conflicts, it has faced some internal criticism following complaints from asylum seekers about long waiting times and a lack of access to housing in the bigger cities.

The country's migration agency has warned earlier this year that gyms and disaster shelters would be needed to solve the accommodation issue before the cold Swedish winter sets in.

On Monday morning the Prime Minister launched a cross-party conference on the refugee crisis in Sweden.
 

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"We are following developments hourly and focused of course on saving lives, but it is also important to maintain order," he told around 800 delegates from across the political spectrum as well as representatives from charities and local municipalities.
 
He admitted that helping new arrivals to integrate into Swedish society was a key concern.
 
"It is a huge task for the whole of Swedish society," said Löfven.
 
 

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