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'Check travellers' IDs or be fined,' Sweden warns

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A Swedish policeman checking IDs on a train from Denmark. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson / TT
17:02 CET+01:00
Infrastructure Minister Anna Johansson has warned public transport companies that failing to check traveller identities before they enter Sweden could result in fines of up to 50,000 kronor.

Johansson said that bus, train and ferry companies are responsible for checking passenger IDs and that failing to do so could trigger a 50,000 kronor fine.

"There are no detailed requirements or suggestions as to how this identity verification should be done as we think it’s a question the carriers are best able to work out appropriately" Johansson told the Swedish news agency, TT.

"And we the government will of course follow the developments very closely when this comes into force, and see how it works in practice."

Johansson added that minors under the age of 18 travelling in the company of an adult with a valid ID will not be subject to the checks.

The ID requirements, which are set to begin on January 4th, are part of a wider effort by the government to reduce the number of asylum seekers coming into the country.

They will apply to trains, buses and ferries from abroad, including Germany, but is likely to have the biggest effect on passengers travelling from Denmark.

The plans, which will see public transport companies tasked with implementing the checks, have been criticized by operators and unions warning of travel chaos in the busy commuter region.

More than 150,000 refugees have travelled to Sweden in the past year, which has struggled to find accommodation for the new arrivals. 

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However, Sweden has seen a nationwide dip in the number of people claiming asylum in recent weeks, following news of the tighter border checks and a government announcement that it would cut the number of residency permits made available.

While in October around 10,000 people were registered in a week, Migrationsverket statistics suggest that 4,721 people sought asylum across Sweden during the first seven days of December.

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