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Fewer seeking Swedish asylum

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11:58 CEST+02:00
The number of people seeking asylum in Sweden is expected to fall by almost 20% this year, according to the latest forecast from the Swedish Board of Migration (Migrationsverket).

This year, 19,000 people will apply for asylum. That compares to 23,000 in 2004 and the peak of 33,000 in 2002.

"We see that the number of asylum seekers continues to fall here, just like in the majority of other European countries," said the board's general director, Janna Valik.

The main reason for the fall is the agreement between the Schengen countries that stops people seeking asylum in more than one country, according to Hans Emanuelsson, the head of forecasting at the Board of Migration.

"We exchange information about asylum seekers, we have fingerprints and in that way we can find out much earlier if a person has sought asylum in another country," he told Swedish Radio.

No less than 40% of those registered by the Board of Migration were either said to be stateless or came from just three countries: Serbia and Montenegro, Iraq and Russia.

During the first three months of the year, the Board of Migration dealt with 6,200 cases. Only 10% of those were allowed to stay in Sweden.

Thanks to the reduction in applicants, the board reckons it can deal with every case within six months.

"The handling time is certainly falling," said Hans Emanuelsson. "The pressure on the organisation as not as high as it was."

The board also reported that the number of people applying for residence in Sweden on the basis of having relatives or partners in the country is likely to be lower than the predicted figure of 28,000 this year.

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