Unaccompanied refugee children arriving in Sweden and seeking asylum will be sent back to their home countries and live in specially designed care centres which the government will fund, reports the Sydsvenskan daily.
“The most important thing is to enable the child to be reunited with its parents,” said migration minister Tobias Billström to the newspaper.
Some of the children that arrive unaccompanied in Sweden are given residence permits, Billström said, only because they have no one to receive them if they are sent back to their home countries – not because they are persecuted.
The government proposal means that children who today would be able to stay in Sweden will in the future be deported.
“If the only basis for a child to stay in Sweden is because they are alone, then it is better that they live in their home country while a search is conducted for their parents,” Billström told the newspaper.
The Swedish Migration Board has already been tasked with developing plans for the new children’s homes, or care centres as they have been called.
During 2009 2,250 unaccompanied children under the age of 18 came to Sweden and applied for asylum. Most of them come from Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq.