Border checks

Sweden set to keep border checks in place this spring

Sweden set to keep border checks in place this spring
Border police at Malmö Hyllie train station. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Sweden will not drop its temporary border controls in the near future, said Migration Minister Morgan Johansson at a Nordic ministers' summit as Sweden extended the checks for another 30 days.

Sweden received 163,000 asylum applications in 2015, however it has seen the number of migrant arrivals fall sharply since it introduced police border controls in November, followed by passenger ID checks at ferry terminals and Copenhagen Airport's train station at the turn of the year.

Between 500 and 600 asylum applications per week are currently being registered, compared with 10,000 in late October.

But Johansson said the crisis was far from over, pointing to European indications that around a million refugees are expected to travel to the continent in the coming year.

“Almost 10 times more have arrived from Turkey to Greece in January this year compared to January last year. And we're in a situation where our asylum centres are full,” said Johansson.

“If we remain the most generous refugee country in the whole of the EU: what happens then?”

READ ALSO: Denmark extends border checks for third time

Morgan Johansson and his Nordic colleagues in Stockholm. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

The minister spoke after the Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) announced that it would need a further 28 billion kronor ($3.25 billion) from the state to cover social and housing costs.

“Migrationsverket now manages a system that deals with more people than there are living in Sweden's fifth largest municipality,” its Director General Anders Danielsson told Swedish media on Wednesday, after sending a dossier to the Swedish government describing his agency as “very underfunded”.

A total of 180,000 people are currently housed in temporary accommodation provided by the agency, of which 150,000 are still waiting for a decision on their residency applications, according to figures quoted by the TT newswire.

Its latest predictions suggest that between 70,000 and 140,000 people could seek asylum in the Scandinavian country in 2016.