15 February 2017

Forecast: Major challenges coming for the Swedish Migration Agency in 2017

Fewer people are seeking asylum in Sweden but the challenges remain great. That is shown by the Swedish Migration Agency’s latest forecast. This year the Agency needs to take more decisions than ever in all types of cases, both asylum and permit cases.
“As our reception operations decrease, we can focus on examining more cases so that more people get their decisions,” says Veronika Lindstrand Kant, Acting Deputy Director of Operations at the Swedish Migration Agency.

Even though more people than ever are fleeing around the world, the number of people seeking asylum in Sweden each week is lower than it has been for five years. The reason is that access by road to and through Europe continues to be limited by, for example, the EU’s agreement with Turkey, border controls in Europe and more restrictive migration policies in individual countries.

According to the Migration Agency’s forecast between 25 000 and 45 000 people will seek asylum in Sweden during the year. The planning assumption* is 34 700 people, which is 2 000 fewer than in the previous forecast in October 2016. The forecast for 2018 is 25 000–65 000 asylum seekers, with a planning assumption of 35 000 people, which is 5 000 fewer than in the previous forecast.

According to the forecast the planning assumption for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum is 2 400 in 2017 and 2 900 in 2018, which is no different from the previous forecast.

More focus on deciding cases

With fewer asylum seekers in Sweden the need for extensive reception operations will decrease. Instead, the focus will be on taking as many decisions as possible in all categories: for example, asylum, family ties and labour market.

As the number of registered asylum seekers decreases in its reception operations, the Migration Agency will continue to phase out asylum-seeker accommodation around the country. The assessment is that 29 000 places will be phased out in 2017.

Settlement in the municipalities will culminate in 2017

This year the need for settlement in the municipalities will be at its very highest level because so many people sought asylum in autumn 2015 and many of them have now received or are going to receive their decisions. According to the forecast around 26 500 people will need an allocation to a municipality under the Reception for Settlement Act.

* The forecast is based on an upper and lower scenario and a planning assumption between these levels, which is the scenario that the Migration Agency uses in its planning.

Facts about the Migration Agency’s forecast

The Migration Agency has to report appropriation forecasts for 2017–2021 five times during the year. Four times a year the Agency delivers commented forecasts to the Government Offices. The next forecast will be in April 2017.