Fake asylum form targets Iraqi refugees

A fake asylum form trying to trick Iraqis to pay to come to Sweden is making the rounds on social media. Asylum lawyers and migration authorities are worried that desperate refugees will fall for the scam.

The document, which has the European Union logo, says it can be used to claim asylum in Sweden by paying money, Swedish Radio reports. An organisation called the International Organisation for Refugees claims to be behind it and a travel agency in Iraq has been spreading the document on Facebook. But according to Swedish migration authorities, the document is false.

The Asylbyrå law firm has been contacted by several Iraquis who want to use the form to come to Sweden, and asylum attorney Linn Öst Nori is worried.

"This is really, really bad. People are reading this and think it's true. Then they pay money to people who may be people smugglers, thinking they can come here that way," she says.

The law firm has reported the scam to the police. Whether anybody has tried to use the form to get to Sweden is unclear, but Linn Öst Nori thinks it could possibly become widely disseminated, considering the situation in Iraq. Some 200,000 people have reportedly been forced to leave their homes.

The Swedish Migration Board takes the scam attempt seriously and will inform the public of the fake form, according to chief information officer Fredrik Bengtsson.

"This form does not help you to leave Iraq, that's the whole point," he says. "You're paying for something you can't use. We'll of course look into this and use the channels that we have to inform people that this isn't true."