How Sweden's asylum approval rate compares to other EU countries

Lee Roden
Lee Roden - [email protected]
How Sweden's asylum approval rate compares to other EU countries
File photo of a Swedish migration agency office. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Sweden granted protection to more asylum applicants per million of the country's inhabitants in 2016 than any other European Union Member State, new figures from EU stats office Eurostat show.


The Nordic nation granted protection to 7,040 asylum applicants per million of its population in 2016 – the highest number of all Member States – followed by Germany with 5,420 per million residents, and Austria with 3,655 per million.

The UK by comparison granted protection to 260 applicants per million of its population. Poland granted the fewest proportionally – only 10 per million people.

In total, Sweden made the second highest number of positive decisions on applications for protection from any EU Member State with 69,350 in 2016 – double the number of 2015. Germany is the country that made the most positive decisions with 445,210, accounting for 60 percent of the positive decisions granted across the EU.

Sweden processed 112,000 asylum claims in 2016 as it worked to clear the bulk of a backlog built up during the peak of the refugee crisis. The country's Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) expects to process less in 2017 – 95,000.

READ ALSO: Sweden's asylum seeker forecast on track for 2017

Eurostat's numbers suggest Sweden is not quite as permissive as it may appear to be however, at least comparatively. It granted asylum at the first request in 69 percent of instances, the same approval rate as Germany but less than the Netherlands (72 percent) and Austria (72 percent).

For applications where a decision was appealed, that rate dropped significantly, and Sweden only granted asylum in 25 percent of those cases. That's a lower rate than Cyprus (49 percent), the UK (52 percent), the Netherlands (58 percent) and Bulgaria (65 percent).

READ ALSO: Sweden rejects less than a quarter of asylum seekers

The nationality most likely to be granted asylum in the EU last year was Syrians, who accounted for 57 percent. Afghans accounted for nine percent, as did Iraqis.


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