Fewer asylum seekers expected to arrive in Sweden over coming years: Migration Agency

The Swedish Migration Agency has lowered its forecast both for the number of asylum seekers expected to arrive in Sweden, and the number of those expected to be returned to their home countries in 2017.

Fewer asylum seekers expected to arrive in Sweden over coming years: Migration Agency
Photo: Adam Wrafter / SvD / TT

In 2017, a total of 23,000 people are expected to seek asylum in Sweden, followed by a further 24,000 in 2018.

The 2017 estimate represents a drop of 1,500 compared to July's estimate, while the figure for 2018 was revised down by 3,000. However, asylum seekers set to be relocated from Greece and Italy to Sweden in order to ease the strain on the Mediterranean nations were not included in the forecast.

The Migration Agency previously promised that a decision would be reached on the cases of all unaccompanied migrant minors who arrived between 2015 and 2016 by the end of this year, but at least 2,000 such cases are likely to be postponed to early 2018 due in part to age assessments taking longer than expected.

And while fewer asylum seekers are expected to arrive in Sweden over the coming years, the number of those expected to return home after being denied asylum was also revised down.

This year, the agency expects a total of 19,300 repatriation cases, a figure which is 3,200 lower than previously predicted.

Of those, 9,200 of the people involved are now predicted to return to their home countries voluntarily — a decrease of 1,000 compared to the previous forecast made in July.

Meanwhile, the Migration Agency estimates that around 7,000 cases will be referred to the police because the people in question cannot be located.

Such cases occur when people stay illegally in Sweden, without a permit, or otherwise travel to another country, perhaps one where they have friends or family, without informing Swedish authorities.

Over the next three years, the Migration Agency estimated that this will happen in a total of 33,200 cases of people ordered to return to their home countries. 

Other problems faced by authorities include cases in which the asylum seekers' home countries refuse to accept them, or if their identity cannot be confirmed.

In April, the Swedish government proposed new measures to try to improve the success rate in deportation cases, including giving police an increased ability to carry out inspections of workplaces.

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