The Migration Agency's staff force has been reduced in recent years, from around 8,400 employees during the refugee crisis of 2015 to around 5,900 today, and further layoffs are to be expected, the agency said on Wednesday.
The number of people applying for asylum has decreased sharply in the past five years, from 162,877 in 2015 to 21,958 in 2019 and 12,991 in the pandemic year of 2020, and the agency said it had to adapt to that.
The layoffs have been reported to Sweden's Employment Agency, Arbetsförmedlingen, which is only the first step of the redundancy process (varsel). A number of other factors will determine how many actually lose their job in the end – some people may get another job within the agency, and some may leave on their own initiative.
Last year, the Migration Agency warned that it would cut 318 jobs. It said on Wednesday that it is not yet clear how many of these were actually made redundant in the end.
The following regions are affected by the new layoff bid:
Stockholm: 36 positions
Earlier this year, Sweden's Justice Ombudsman sharply criticised the Migration Agency for long waiting times in several different kinds of permit applications, and warned that action was needed to improve the situation.
Its director-general Mikael Ribbenvik said at the time that the agency planned to reach its targets not by asking for a larger budget or resources, but by automating some processes to make case handling more efficient.
By the end of this year, he said he expected the agency to reach its target handling time for asylum claims of six months on average, and next year it would reach the goal of reducing average handling times for family reunion cases to nine months.
He conceded, though, that the agency would not reach its goal for citizenship claims until 2023, despite a coming injection of resources.