The Swedish Migration Board. Photo: Anders Wiklund/SCANPIX

8,000 unaccompanied refugee children expected next year

The Swedish Migration Board is forecasting that one out of 10 asylum seekers here next year will be a child arriving without parents or close relatives. Altogether 8,000 such refugee children are expected to come to Sweden during 2015.

The agency’s Deputy Director General, Mikael Ribbenvik, tells Swedish Radio News the ongoing problems of the world’s crisis regions are responsible.

“The longer a conflict continues,” he says, “the bigger the interest in finding a better life for one’s children. More and more they are sending children to Sweden and Europe to get a better life.”

In just a year their number has doubled, from around 3,800 in 2013 to 7,300 this year. Most of the unaccompanied children refugees arriving in Sweden have fled from Eritrea, Syria, Somalia, and Afghanistan.

The Migration Board has had difficulties finding municipalities here willing to house the child refugees. But since the beginning of the year they’ve had the power to force them to do so, and so far 1,000 have been placed without approval by the local authorities.

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