Iraqis in suspected repatriation grant racket

A financial incentive scheme encouraging asylum seekers to return to their homelands has been abused by hundreds of Iraqi refugees, Swedish authorities believe.

The Swedish Migration Board suspects that Iraqis who never intended staying in the country have been exploiting the asylum seeker repatriation grant introduced by the government last year.

The board has written a letter to the justice ministry explaining that “it is relatively clear that the foreigners are not seeking asylum to stay in Sweden but to receive financial support.”

Iraqi asylum seekers in particular have taken back their applications after a short period and instead applied for grants intended as an aid for people wishing to move back to their home countries.

The record was set by a man who cancelled his asylum application after just eight days and put in a request for a repatriation grant.

Of the 685 Iraqi who have applied for the repatriation grant this year, 291 did so after their asylum applications were rejected, while 385 canceled their asylum requests and applied for the grant instead.

On August 1st last year the government earmarked 27 million kronor for repatriation grants. Currently the grant amounts to 20,000 kronor ($3,000) for an adult with a cap of 50,000 kronor per family.

So far the authorities have paid out 5.5 million kronor in repatriation grants.