Plans to erect a tent camp in Revingehed, a field near Lund in southern Sweden, were launched earlier this autumn as authorities struggled to find accommodation for a record influx of refugees.
The number of asylum claims has since dropped, and it was unclear how many would be moving into the camp, which currently has capacity for 200 refugees – eventually set to increase to 375.
But on Thursday a dozen of asylum seekers, all male adults, spent the first night in the tents.
“They arrived this afternoon,” spokesperson Pierre Karatzian of Sweden's migration agency (Migrationsverket) told the Sydsvenskan newspaper late on Thursday.
“The idea is that no families with children should have to stay there (…) or people with special needs.”
There has been a nationwide dip in the number of refugees claiming asylum, following tighter border checks and a government announcement that it would cut the number of residency permits made available.
While in October around 10,000 people were registered in a week, Migrationsverket statistics suggest that 4,721 people sought asylum across Sweden during the first seven days of December.
The tents at Revingehed. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT
The camp has been erected on a moorland area near military training grounds and was initially supposed to open its doors in October, but was held up by administrative delays linked to planning applications.
Rebecca Bichis, a regional manager for the migration agency, told The Local earlier this week that it was not yet known how long any of the guests would stay at the camp.
“It could be short-term but also long-term. It depends on whether councils across Sweden manage to find housing for them. Our hope is that they won't have to stay too long, but it's completely dependent on the 'accommodation chain' in the rest of Sweden,” she said.