Unaccompanied minors

Most Asylum-Seeking Minors Come to Sweden

In 2010 more unaccompanied minors came to Sweden than to any other country in the world. The almost 2,400 asylum-seeking children who landed here last year represents a dramatic upswing that started in 2006, Dagens Nyheter reports.

More unaccompanied minors are making their way to Sweden than to any other country in the world. Last year 2,395 asylum-seeking children came to Sweden alone, which is 20 percent of all unaccompanied children who came to Europe, according to Eurostat, reports Dagens Nyheter (DN).

But it hasn't always been that way.

DN writes that until 2006, only a couple of hundred unaccompanied children came to Sweden each year, while thousands sought asylum in the Netherlands and France. Since then, however, the number of children has tripled.

In 2009 Sweden was among the top three receiving countries, along with Norway and Great Britain. In 2010, Sweden welcomed more unaccompanied minors than any other country, reports DN.

The reason the flow has shifted towards Sweden is unclear.

The fact that residence permits are no longer granted as liberally in some countries or, as is the case with Great Britain, minors can be subject to forced deportation, could influence the shift in flows, writes DN.

But Ida Børresen, head of the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration, told DN the cause could just as well be smugglers who have found new travel routes or that different networks have taken over.

Since 1980, more than 10,000 unaccompanied minors, most from Somalia and Afghanistan, have come to Sweden, DN reports.