Finance minister to asylum seekers: Don't come to Sweden

3:47 min

Swedish finance minister Magdalena Andersson in an interview has said that she regrets her government's decision to let more than 160,000 refugees into Sweden in 2015, and she said integration is not working.

Andersson told newspaper Dagens Nyheter that Sweden's housing and teacher shortages mean the country should not receive more asylum seekers than it can integrate. Refugees would be better off, she said, applying for asylum elsewhere.

They'll have more opportunities if they go to another country."

Andersson, a Social Democrat, pointed to the difficulties that newly arrived immigrants have in finding work and housing in Sweden and she said that integration is not working.

Andersson said:

Integration is not working properly. It didn't work before the autumn of 2015 either, but for me it is obvious that we cannot have a larger asylum reception than we are able to integrate. That is not good for the people who come here and it is not good for society at large either."

Now, Andersson suggested, the focus should instead be on those who have the right to stay in Sweden.

However, the Social Democrats' coalition partner, the Green Party, does not take Andersson's line.

On Friday, Green Party spokesperson Gustav Fridolin said that "the danger with everyone saying that (asylum seekers should go to other countries) is there will soon be no sanctuary left for those who really need to flee."

Speaking to news agency TT, Fridolin - who is also Sweden's education minister - emphasised that Andersson's opinion is not the government's official view.