Asylum seekers will continue to choose where to live

The government will not abolish the law which allows asylum seekers to move where they want to, the Minister for Migration, Morgan Johansson, told Swedish Television News. This despite a decision in his own party to do just that, if they got into government.

The Social Democrat Party took the decision in 2009, after a successful campaign by leaders of local councils in towns such as Malmö and Södertälje, which have attracted a disproportionate amount of asylum seekers. The argument was that more municipalities need to take a bigger share of the asylum seekers, and that the state should be able to direct the asylum seekers to where there are jobs and housing.

But on Wednesday, the Migration Minister Morgan Johansson told SVT that, with 400,000 asylum seekers expected to come to Sweden over the next five years, some of them will have to move in with relatives and friends, just like they do today. This is in accordance with the law called Ebo, which gives asylum seekers the right to move where they want to.

"As long as we have this many people applying for asylum in Sweden, and we have not expanded the state-owned accommodation capacity in the way we plan to do, it is hard to abolish Ebo. That would lead to pretty big costs," he said.

But he did say that the government would like to change the law, to address some of the social problems which come from too many people cramming into too small flats.

The other government party, the Greens, is more positive to the current law, and Johansson admitted the coalition partners view things differently. However, he said he is convinced that both parties see the problems that exist "and then we'll have to find the solutions that we both feel comfortable with".

According to Swedish Television News there is a strong pressure from many Social Democrat heads of local councils to change the law already in this term of office. But according to the minister, such a change is not possible anytime soon.