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Hungarian asylum seekers head for Sweden

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18:43 CET+01:00
The number of Hungarians seeking asylum in Sweden is rising rapidly, despite the fact that Hungary is a member of the European Union. Around 30 Hungarians claimed asylum in Malmö on Thursday alone.

"Hungarians are coming here all the time. They generally claim asylum based on ethnic problems in their homelands," said Oskar Ekblad at the Swedish Board of Migration in Malmö.

While it is well known that Roma people in a number of eastern European countries consider themselves persecuted, Ekblad would not confirm that the current wave of asylum seekers was dominated by Roma.

"We do not register people's ethnicity - the constitution protects people from being registered along those lines," he said.

Most days on which direct flights from Hungary land at Malmö's Sturup airport bring with them a number of Hungarian asylum seekers, Ekblad said.

Marie Andersson, spokeswoman at Migrationsverket HQ in Norrköping said that 114 Hungarians had sought asylum in Sweden during the autumn. Now this trend could be accelerating - according to Ekblad, around the same number has applied for refugee status in November alone.

The EU's principle of free movement of labour means that Hungarian citizens can freely travel to Sweden and stay for three months while looking for work. When they apply for asylum, this rule is taken out of play. This means that they can be deported if their application is rejected.

According to an EU decision there are no well-grounded grounds for asylum for Hungarian citizens.

Some 27 Hungarian asylum cases were tried during October. Of these, 25 were rejected and the other two withdrew their applications. Marie Andersson said that she did not believe that any of the failed applicants had yet been deported.

The reasons for the Hungarians' attraction to Sweden is so far unclear. it is believed that some may be tempted by false expectations of generous state benefits. The Swedish Embassy in Budapest is informed and has started to act to tackle the issue.

Citizens of other EU member states have also applied for asylum in Sweden, albeit on a smaller scale. So far this year there have been six applications from Slovakia, five from Latvia and four from Lithuania.

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