Swedish Migration Minister: Brexit deportations 'complete news to me'

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
Swedish Migration Minister: Brexit deportations 'complete news to me'
Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/SvD/TT

Sweden's Migration Minister has promised The Local to look into why Sweden has ordered more Brits to leave since Brexit than any other EU country.


Data published by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, in January revealed that about 2,205 UK citizens were ordered to leave EU countries between 2020 and September 2022 – with around half of this number from Sweden alone.

"This is actually complete news to me," said Swedish Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard when The Local asked for her comments in an interview.

"I can't, at this moment, explain it. But, I promise that I will look into it and get back to you," she added.


Sweden is responsible for 1,050 of the 2,205 British nationals ordered to leave EU countries between the first quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2022 – including Brits refused entry at the Swedish border, Brits found to be illegally present in Sweden, and Brits ordered to leave for other reasons.

This number is even higher proportional to the size of the British population in Sweden relative to that in other countries. For example, in 2019, there were an estimated 30,265 Brits living in Sweden, while Spain was home to over 300,000 Brits. 

Spain has not ordered any Brits to leave since Brexit, according to Eurostat statistics.

France, which was home to over 175,000 Brits in 2019, ordered just 95 Brits to leave the country following Brexit.


To put this into perspective, Sweden has ordered just under 3.5 percent of its British population to leave the country following Brexit, with Spain ordering 0 percent to leave and France expelling just over 0.05 percent.

The Netherlands came after Sweden as the country ordering the second-highest number of Brits to leave since the Brexit deadline passed: 615. This represents just over 1 percent of its British population.

Statistic: Estimated number of British citizens living in the European Union in 2019, by member state  | Statista

In the run-up to the Brexit deadline for residency, The Local carried a warning by a leading group for Brits in Sweden that authorities in the country were not doing enough to reach UK citizens to make them aware of the date.

Sweden's current right-wing government, which Malmer Stenergard belongs to, only took power in September 2022, while the left-wing Social Democrat-Green coalition was in power at the time of the residency deadline.


At the time, however, Malmer Stenergard chaired the Swedish parliament's social security committee, which processed the government's bill on post-Brexit residence status for Brits – a bill the group Brits in Sweden had warned put a concerningly large number of Brits at risk of losing their right to stay.

She told The Local that part of her surprise came from the fact that the committee had "worked hard" to try to protect Brits' rights following Brexit.

"We want them here," she said.

The Local's interview with Malmer Stenergard, discussing topics including salary threshold for work permits, waiting times at the Migration Agency, and exit visas for those waiting for a permit renewal will feature in the next episode of The Local's podcast, Sweden in Focus, out this Saturday.


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