Sweden's government orders new asylum return centres

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
Sweden's government orders new asylum return centres
Sweden's migration minister, Maria Malmer Stenergard, announces the order to the Migration Agency alongside Sweden Democrat migration spokesman Ludvig Aspling, Ingemar Kihlström from the Christian Democrats, and Amir Jawad from the Liberals. Photo: Ali Lorestani/TT

Sweden's government has tasked the Migration Agency with setting up return centres for rejected asylum seekers, ordering the agency to begin work immediately.


Sweden's Migration Minister, Maria Malmer Stenergard, said at a press conference on Thursday that last year only 39 percent of the 11,580 people who had been ordered to leave Sweden after their asylum claims were rejected had done so willingly of their own accord. 

"That is far from enough," she said. "It's high time that a 'no' actually means 'no'. If we are going to uphold controlled immigration, a 'no' has to mean 'no'." 

The order was announced at a joint press conference held with the far-right Sweden Democrats, and representatives of the right-wing Moderate, Christian Democrat and Liberal parties. 

The former centre-left Social Democrat government launched an inquiry into how to set up return centres for rejected asylum seekers back in June last year, asking the Migration Agency to draw up a report into how they could be established. 

In January, the agency responded, saying that it estimated return centres would need to house between 1,300 and 2,900 people under the government's proposals, would cost between 260 million kronor and 690 million kronor, depending on how they were regulated, and could be set up within six months if it was just a question of adapting existing properties. 

If, however, the government wanted purpose built properties, it could take several years. 

The agency called for the government to hold additional inquiries before setting up the centres, arguing that there were complex issues at stake, such as how to treat the children of families denied asylum. 


The decision to order the Migration Agency to push ahead means the government has decided not to wait for the recommendations of the government inquiry launched by the Social Democrats, which is due to report on October 31st.

Ludvig Aspling, the migration spokesperson for the far-right Sweden Democrats said that the measure was not only important for Sweden, but for the migrants themselves who otherwise ended up becoming vulnerable paperless migrants. 

"It's also important for making sure that people who end up in Sweden without position don't remain and contribute to the 'shadow society' that was often talk about." 

Apling said the centre would be "another important piece of the puzzle when it comes to increasing the share of these decisions which are actually carried out". 


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