Migrationsverket's Anders Danielsson featured prominently in media coverage of last year's refugee crisis, when Sweden grabbed global headlines after it took in an unprecedented number of asylum seekers.
But on Friday morning he announced he was stepping down as director.
“There rarely is a 'right time' to change jobs, but the right time is when the opportunity presents itself. It feels good that things have settled since last autumn, that our operations are developing in a positive way and that the Migration Agency is well-equipped to handle the challenges ahead. That makes me feel confident in the choice to move on,” he said.
The 62-year-old, who also is a former director of the Security Police Säpo, will instead take up a position as secretary-general of the Swedish branch of the Red Cross, starting on December 1st. The government is to appoint an interim director of the Migration Agency.
Sweden received around 163,000 asylum applications in 2015, struggling at times to provide housing for all. But the numbers have since dropped following ID and border checks and stricter asylum rules. Between 30,000 and 50,000 are expected to seek asylum in the Nordic country in 2016.
“Anders Danielsson has done an excellent job as director of the Migration Agency through very, very difficult times,” commented Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson.
But others welcomed the news, arguing that Sweden should have acted sooner in creating a new model of determining the age of asylum seekers to tackle doubts over the actual age over some new arrivals.
“He has sometimes played down those challenges we actually face in migration politics, for example determining ages, where it is now completely obvious that it has been a big problem,” said the Moderate opposition party's spokesperson on migration issues, Johan Forssell.