After arrival refugees wait for homes, asylum decisions

1:38 min

As more refugees arrive in Sweden, the wait times for the decisions on their asylum cases have grown. The average wait time for a case last year was 142 days. This year, it jumped to 216 days or seven months.

"I survived the war and, sure, I feel safe now. But there's nobody to help me build a new life," Lama Abdulrahman told Swedish Radio. Abdulrahman is a 23 and fled Syria but has waited a year now at the Restad Gård in Vänersborg, a residence for refugees on the west coast.

The Migration Agency has said it is hiring new people and will open at least four new units to process asylum applications, but it does not anticipate shorter waiting times in the foreseeable future.

Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi was set to meet with the Migration Agency Thursday in an effort to free up homes for asylum seekers, which can often remain empty when refugees appeal asylum decisions.

"The Migration Agency should be able to do what is expected of them and they what they struggle with every day, finding homes for asylum seekers," he said.

Between 1,500 and 3,000 homes for refugees are available, but they remain empty because asylum decisions have been appealed and are being processed in court. But this week alone 1,800 refugees arrived in Malmö.