Social Democrat Anders Ygeman is one of the few ministers whose popularity is rising. Photo: TT. Montage: Sveriges Radio.
Social Democrat Anders Ygeman is one of the few ministers whose popularity is rising. Photo: TT. Montage: Sveriges Radio.

Minister: 80,000 refugees may face expulsion

Minister: I have had a discussion with the North African countries and we have had a discussion with Afghanistan
0:49 min

The government has told the police and Swedish Migration Agency to get ready to deport tens of thousands of asylum seekers who may see their applications rejected in the coming year.

Speaking to business newspaper Dagens Industri, Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman says "we have a big challenge before us." The plan involves asking people whose cases have been rejected to leave Sweden willingly, and then deporting them if this does not work.

The government plans to double the number of border police, and carry out more checks within Sweden.

The Social Democrat-Green coalition government says it will charter planes to perform the estimated 60,000 to 80,000 deportations. If they are to be carried out within a year, this would mean the equivalent of a Boeing 737 every day.

"As part of Sweden having many asylum applications, 163,000 last year, it also happens that a number of people will have their applications rejected and will have to return," Ygeman says to Swedish Radio News.

The proportion of applications that are rejected is around 45 per cent, and so of the 163,000 cases under consideration the government expects to deport 60,000 to 80,000.

Anders Ygeman says that chartering planes is a cost-effective way to return people to their countries of origin and he hopes that other European countries, or the European Union, can be a part of this process.

"There is an obstacle in the form of getting the countries of origin to take responsibility for their citizens. I have had a discussion with the North African countries and we have had a discussion with Afghanistan. And it's a difficult task to get these countries to take responsibility," Ygeman tells Swedish Radio News.

He estimates the big rise in deportations will come in a year's time, as the Migration Agency makes its decisions on whether the thousands who have come to Sweden have the right to stay as refugees.

To news agency TT Anders Ygeman says he has no idea what the current likely costs are of this rise in deportations.

As well as more internal checks, the government also wants to make it harder for people without papers to support themselves. To Dagens Industri Ygeman says there have to be "palpable consequences" for companies that employ undocumented migrants. 

The head of the border police, Patrik Engström, says that his force of 1,000 will need to be doubled.

"Most of them work with border checks and carrying out deportations," Engström says to TT. He adds that they will need to work closer with the Migration Agency, and be on the scene as soon as an asylum rejection is handed out.

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