Sweden’s Migration Agency to reduce staff numbers

Sweden’s Migration Agency to reduce staff numbers
Photo: Adam Wrafter/SvD/TT
Sweden’s immigration authority Migrationsverket will reduce its staff next year, with the number of asylum seekers in the Scandinavian country falling.

Cases will soon be resolved for the vast majority of asylum seekers who arrived in the country during the peak flow of migrants in 2015 and 2016.

This, in combination with a much lower number of expected asylum applications, has led to a 700 million kronor (72 million euros) cut to the agency’s budget for 2018.

“We have reduced needs so will be given less resources. We will therefore become a smaller authority,” Migrationsverket’s general director Mikael Ribbenvik told TT.

Of the approximately 8,600 people currently employed by the agency, the number working in asylum claims assessment will be reduced from 2,000 to around 800 next year, while other departments will also be affected, reports TT.

“I cannot yet say how many people will be affected. We are currently working on this,” Ribbenvik said.

The staff reductions will partially be implemented through redundancies, retirements and services not being extended.

Almost 163,000 people sought asylum in Sweden in 2015, peaking in the week of 16th November, when 10,563 people, including 2,861 unaccompanied minors, were registered.

In the seven days preceding November 10th this year, only 524 asylum seekers, of which 32 were unaccompanied, were registered, writes TT.

“In the autumn of 2015 things were very visible, with many people queued outside our facilities. What has not been seen is what we have done over the last two years. We have worked hard,” Ribbenvik said.

The director added that, over the last two years, the agency has made decisions on close to 183,000 asylum cases as well as approximately 5,500 quota refugees.

Of 162,877 asylum seekers registered in 2015, 141,955 cases have now been settled.

“Our ambition is that almost all remaining cases will be settled by the end of the year,” Ribbenvik said.

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