Sweden’s Migration Agency asks for lower budget despite years-long backlog

Sweden's Migration Agency asks for lower budget despite years-long backlog
Photo:Marcus Ericsson/TT
Sweden's Migration Agency says it does not expect to clear its backlog of citizenship applications until 2023 – but has asked the government for a lower budget than previously.

In its new budget proposal to the government for 2022-2024 the agency has asked for less money than before, around a quarter of a million kronor in total, reports the TT news agency.

This is because the Migration Agency is currently being slimmed down as it expect the number of asylum applications to keep dropping since the peak in and around 2015.

But many other applicants still face long waiting times. More than 108,000 people are currently waiting for decisions on their citizenship applications in Sweden, which amounts to around one percent of the total population.

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The agency expects to clear the backlog of asylum and work permit applications this year, and partner permits next year, but not until 2023 for citizenship applications. The current estimated waiting time for citizenship is 38 months, according to the Migration Agency’s website.

Foreign residents have told The Local of the impact that waiting a year or more for a citizenship decision has on their lives, from being unable to vote in elections, to feeling unable to plan their lives and questioned about their documentation when travelling internationally.

The agency earlier this year announced plans to lay off almost 200 workers, due to the lower numbers of expected asylum cases.

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.


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