Budget news: Sweden to invest 300 million kronor in asylum return centres

TT/The Local
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Budget news: Sweden to invest 300 million kronor in asylum return centres
Swedish Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard and Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Sweden will funnel almost 300 million kronor into building return centres for rejected asylum seekers, the largest budget investment in the field of migration next year.


“If you get a ‘no’, you should immediately be sent to a return centre and that will be a very clear signal that the return starts here,” Migration Minister Maria Malmer Stenergard said on Tuesday.

The number of people seeking asylum in Sweden has dropped radically in recent years, enabling the government to make savings of 2.2 billion kronor on migration, and invest in a series of schemes.

Also as part of the government's so-called migration paradigm shift, asylum seekers will no longer be allowed to stay in their own home, but at designated reception centres.

The government aims to create 2,900 spots at reception centres between now and 2025, but it is not yet clear where they will be or exactly how they will work. A total of 21 million kronor will be earmarked for reception centres next year, increasing to 275 million kronor in 2026.

“It will lead to a more efficient asylum process but also more efficient return,” said the minister. “It’s important because a majority of asylum seekers are found not to have grounds for asylum.”


Malmer Stenergard made the comments at a joint press visit to the Migration Agency’s detention centre in Åstorp together with Jimmie Åkesson, leader of the far-right Sweden Democrats.

“A lot of what’s happening should have been done 10 years or even 20-30 years ago,” said Åkesson.

The Sweden Democrats are behind many of the right wing’s tougher migration policies, although return centres were first floated by the former centre-left Social Democrat government last year.

The Migration Agency in January said that return centres would need to house 1,300-2,900 people and cost 260 million to 690 million kronor, depending on how they were regulated. At the time it 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 government and Sweden Democrats also want to do more to convince the home countries of asylum seekers to take back their citizens after they’ve been denied refuge in Sweden. They will allocate 25 million kronor next year and 50 million in 2025 to increasing diplomatic contacts.

“The UK has been immensely successful when it comes to returns, by using diplomacy, political contacts and foreign aid as means of pressure,” said Åkesson.


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Current Student 2023/09/19 18:15
It's too bad Sweden doesn't instead use these funds to hire more Migration Agency employees to process requests within a reasonable timeframe. One of my colleagues was supposed to start a PhD at a Swedish university a month ago, but he's still waiting outside the country for his residence permit.

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