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24th Jun 2018

Sweden to expel up to 80,000 rejected asylum seekers

  • Sweden introduced temporary border checks this year to stop the influx of people (Photo: atranswe)

Swedish authorities plan to expel as many as 80,000 migrants whose asylum requests have been rejected.

“We are talking about 60,000 people but the number could climb to 80,000,” interior minister Anders Ygeman was quoted as saying in the Swedish media on Wednesday (27 January).

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He later tweeted to say that he did not want to prejudge how many migrants had grounds for asylum.

Sweden, one of the preferred countries of destination for the over 1 million migrants making their way to Europe, received more than 160,000 people seeking asylum in 2015.

Of approximately 58,800 asylum cases processed last year, 55 percent were accepted.

With a population of 9.8 million people, Sweden is one of the EU countries that has taken in the largest number of refugees in relation to its population.

Returns 'backed by force'

Sweden has seen a sharp drop in arrivals this year after it introduced temporary border checks on 4 January in an effort to control the influx.

Ygeman said Sweden would use chartered flights over several years, instead of using the usual commercial flights, because of the large number of people.

“The first step will be voluntary return, and to create the best conditions for that, but if that doesn’t work, we will need to have returns backed up by force,” he said, adding Sweden was seeking deals with Afghanistan and Morocco to accept returned migrants.

Swedish authorities see a “significant risk” that people whose request for international protection was rejected stay in the country illegally, and plans to hire 1,000 additional border police.

In the meantime, Swedish officials on Tuesday called for greater security at overcrowded asylum centres, a day after a young male resident fatally stabbed an employee at a refugee centre for unaccompanied youths.

According to media reports, the employee was 22-year old Alexandra Mezher, whose family was originally from Lebanon. The motive for the attack was not clear.

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