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Asylum seeker surge challenges Migration Board

Updated torsdag 23 augusti 2012 kl 13.10
Published torsdag 23 augusti 2012 kl 07.17
Tolle Furugård, Head of the Migation Board Unit in Örebro. Photo:Jaber Fawaz/Sveriges Radio Örebro.

Sweden's Migration Board is struggling to cope with a large upswing in asylum applicants in several areas of the country, reports Swedish Radio News. Migration minister Tobias Billström says though that there is nothing the government can do in the short-term.

In the last few weeks, the Migration Board in Örebro has had over 1,000 applicants a week. The figure is twice as many as normal and the current situation has reached a point that is almost unmanageable for the Migration Board.

"There has not been so many since the war in the Balkans, we normally have between 400-500 asylum seekers per-week, but these last few weeks it has gone up to a 1,000," says Tolle Furugård, Head of the Migration Board Unit in Örebro to Swedish Radio News.

He says that the upswing would not be a problem if they had the resources to cope.

"The solution to the situation is of course resources, if we had the resources for 1000 asylum seekers a week, we would have had a normal situation," says Furugård.

The majority of ayslum applicants come from Syria and given the conflict in the country, the Migration Board believes that the flow of refugees is increasing. The Authority has prepared for 30,000 asylum seekers, but right now there are over 37 000 in Sweden.

Tolle Furugård, with the Migration Board in Örebro, tells Ekot that the biggest challenge is to arrange accomodation for asylum seekers.

"At the application units especially in Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg it can be completely chaotic. There may be people on mattresses in the basement and other similar solutions at night, then they must be out the next day for the new asylum seekers," says Tolle Furugård.

However, Migration minister Tobias Billström says at present there is little the government can do.

"Asylum seekering Syrians who come to Sweden will obviously be taken care of in the best way, but it's very important to understand that when you get 1000 people a week coming to a country then the normal system will not function, and then you have to look at the long-term," Billström says to Swedish Radio News.

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