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2015 marks record year for asylum seekers

Published tisdag 5 januari 2016 kl 10.09
A refugee from Iraq gets fingerprinted in Malmö, as part of the process of registering as an asylum seeker. File Photo: Drago Prvulovic  / TT.
A refugee from Iraq gets fingerprinted in Malmö, as part of the process of registering as an asylum seeker. File Photo: Drago Prvulovic / TT.

Last year some 163,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden. That is more than any previous year, and about twice as many as came at the height of the Balkan wars in the 1990s. But not as many as the Migration Agency had estimated during the autumn.

Over the past seven days, just under 2,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden. That is about 1,000 fewer than just a few weeks ago, and much less than in October, when over 10,000 people a week were applying for asylum here.

The government is hoping that the compulsory ID-checks that were introduced for people who come from Denmark to Sweden will bring down that number further.

Last year, the number of people applying for asylum in Sweden was pretty stabile in the first six months, before a dramatic increase after the summer. In the beginning of the year, there were approximately 4,000-5,000 people coming every month. In October as many as 39,196 applied for asylum in Sweden.

October's numbers is just under half of the whole of 1992, when many were fleeing from the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina. During that year approximately 84,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden.

The biggest group of people applying for asylum in Sweden in 2015 were people from Syria. Just over 51,000 Syrians applied for asylum in Sweden last year. Many people also came from Afghanistan and Iraq.

A large part of the asylum seekers were unaccompanied minors. At the start of the year, the Migration Board had estimated that some 7,800 unaccompanied minors would come to Sweden, but in the end, as many as 35,369 came. "That's 1,000 new school classes" the Minister for Integration, Morgan Johansson, told Swedish Television News.

In a summary of the year 2015, the Migration Agency notes that they focused their energy on registering the new asylum seekers and finding accommodation for them. The processing of people's asylum applications "has therefore not happened at a pace that would have been necessary".

"The waiting times for applicants increased gradually during 2015. During 2016 we will be concentrating a lot of our energy on bringing down the waiting time. Another challenge will be to adapt our work to the temporary laws that the government has announced," Anders Danielsson, the general director of the Migration Agency said in a statement.

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