A Syrian refugee arriving in Stockholm this week. Photo: Ola Torkelsson/TT
Border controls were recently reinstated between Denmark and Sweden. But The Local looks into why so many new arrivals would still rather seek asylum east of the famous Öresund bridge.
1. It's a numbers game
Almost 163,000 refugees sought asylum in Sweden in 2015, according to the country's migration agency, compared to Denmark's 18,000.
Around 9.5 million people live in Sweden while there are 5.6 million in Denmark.
2. Sweden has offered permanent residency to all Syrian arrivals
Refugees fleeing the violence in Syria make up the largest proportion of people seeking asylum across Europe and in 2013 Sweden became the first country in Europe to rule that all refugees from the war-torn nation would be granted permanent residency
in the light of the worsening conflict.
Denmark introduced temporary one-year permits
for Syrian refugees last year with the stated intention of sending them back home "as soon as conditions improve" in the war-ravaged country.
A refugee at Malmö train station in southern Sweden. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT
3. Many refugees already have family in Sweden
Given the huge numbers of Syrians who have already been given protection in Sweden (16,785 in 2014 alone), it is unsurprising that many refugees would prefer to set up home close to friends and family.
Sweden has previously offered residency permits to immediate family members of those already granted asylum (husband, wife, partner and children - under the age of 18), but announced stricter time limits
4. Sweden offers strong social benefits for refugees
Asylum seekers are offered immediate emergency accommodation
on arrival in Sweden before being relocated to temporary housing. Single adults are given a daily benefit of 71 Swedish kronor per day (2,159 kronor or $256 per month), with more available for those with families.
Those granted asylum are then given help finding accommodation, are entitled to free Swedish for Immigrants lessons and may also be offered an 'introduction benefit' from Arbetsförmedlingen
, Sweden's Employment Agency, giving them an income of 6,468 Swedish kronor per month ($769) while they search for work.
Temporary accommodation for refugees in Märsta, Sweden. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT
5. Global reputation
Sweden has an international image of openness and tolerance. The current government is a Social Democrat-Green coalition which has spoken out strongly in favour of helping refugees. However it announced in October 2015 that pressure on resources meant that it could no longer guarantee accommodation
for everyone. Meanwhile, the anti-immigration Sweden Democrat party is growing
in popularity, but is not part of the government or the country's main centre-right opposition Alliance bloc.
By contrast, Denmark's new single-party government is led by the right-of-centre Venstre, which needs the support of the anti-immigration Danish People's Party
to push its agendas through parliament.