More than 35,000 people have applied for asylum in Sweden so far this year, an increase of 20 percent compared to last year, the Sydsvenskan newspaper reported.
The increase has resulted in longer processing times for other cases at the agency. While Migration Board head Anders Danielsson has argued that his organization’s priority is “putting a roof over the heads” of the thousands of asylum seekers coming to the country, Sweden’s Parliamentary Ombudsman (Justitieombudsmannen, JO) has launched a probe into how migration officials set their priorities.
The ombudsman has asked the Migration Board to hand over data on processing times from 2011 to the present to look specifically how the agency prioritizes different groups and examine the differences between those who submit paper and online applications.
The ombudsman also wants to look more closely at how processing times differ among people who submit applications themselves and those who pay certified consultants to manage their filings with the Migration Board.
According to Sydsvenskan, an increasing number of firms promise shorter processing times to companies and individuals who want to “buy their way past the line”, a development that worries Danielsson
“The problem with work permits is that we have a more liberal law, but implementing the law requires resources. We need to check if those who are going to work in Sweden have legitimate employers, that there aren’t any reservations from unions. It takes time to ensure quality control,” he told the paper.
Danielsson added that, while properly completed applications can be processed within days, incomplete applications can take months to process.
In response to growing criticism about lengthy Migration Board processing times, Danielsson said he is considering restructuring the agency to put an increased emphasis on customer relations.