Government: Sweden cannot guarantee accommodation for refugees

Last week there was a decline in asylum seekers from nearly 10,000 per week to 8,100. But the number has now increased again, standing at about 9,000 per week, reports Dagens Nyheter. The Swedish Migration Agency’s new forecast indicates that about 160 000 asylum seekers will arrive in Sweden this year. Sweden can no longer guarantee accommodation to all of those who seek asylum because the number is increasing faster than the country can produce housing, said Morgan Johansson (S), Minister of Justice and Immigration, during a press conference. “160,000 people in one year, that is 1.6% of our population. It is as if Britain in one year would have received 1 million refugees.” argues Johansson. Around 6000 of the Swedish Migration Board’s flats are occupied by asylum seekers whose applications have already been rejected, reports Aftonbladet. The Minister for Home Affairs comments on the situation: “We are carrying out the biggest humanitarian operation since World War II, and we uphold the right of asylum, but to do that we must be able to motivate those who have no grounds for asylum to return.” Provisions have been made on several occasions to remedy the situation. Among other things, unaccompanied refugee children are able to live in so-called assisted living facilities, which is expected to be significantly less expensive than today’s systems. And the government now applies for emergency funds from the EU to cope with the refugee crisis. A proportion of the refugees who fled to Germany are now heading north to Scandinavia and Sweden, writes DN. But Johansson says that the refugees who live in Germany should consider staying there. “We must be honest and say that our situation is now so strained that it may well be that we cannot guarantee any accommodation”, he says. Sveriges Radio‘s domestic political commentator Tomas Ramberg believes that the stricter refugee policy will continue. The recent actions taken by the government is a way to prepare  public opinion for further tightening in the refugee policy. “We are a great country because we have so far managed the situation. But also we have our limits, and that is where we are now,” concludes Johansson.

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Jessica Nilsson Williams is the CEO & Founder of Mundus International. She has a long-standing interest in international affairs, having studied and worked in the field for more than 20 years. She began her career as the political advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, and then worked in London and Singapore before returning to Stockholm. In 2011 she took up a senior role at the New Zealand Embassy before founding Mundus International in 2012. In addition to working for foreign missions, she has worked in sectors such as NGOs and non-profit organisations (e.g. the Clinton Foundation and the International Red Cross), and television.