Riksgälden, the Swedish National Debt Office. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT.
Riksgälden, the Swedish National Debt Office. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT.

Deficit remains steady despite rising asylum costs

1:58 min

Sweden will see a deficit of SEK 45 billion this year as costs rise, particularly those for immigration, the Swedish National Debt Office said on Wednesday.

In its forecast on government borrowing, which was delayed a week to wait for new figures from the Swedish Migration Agency, the debt office said the country can expect a marginal deficit in the upcoming years.

"The deficit is around 1 percent of GDP so it's not that large," the office's head of debt management Thomas Olofsson tells Radio Sweden.

Olofsson says the most notable increase in state expenditures comes from the recent influx of refugees. The office's report said the Migration Agency is projected to spend SEK 26 billion this year, rising to SEK 58 billion in 2016 and SEK 70 billion in 2017.

Those growing costs, however, will be offset by higher tax revenue, Olofsson adds.

"The numbers for migration have increased dramatically the last couple of weeks," he says. "We think that what we see now is a peak in migration figures but at the same time we think that migration numbers will be larger than expected during the spring, even next year and 2017."

Although the short term will see higher cost from increased immigration, the report states the long term effects may be more workers added to the Swedish labor market.

Sweden is forecasting between 140,000 and 190,000 refugees to seek asylum here this year.

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