2 November 2017

Forecast: Fewer will seek asylum in Sweden

The Swedish Migration Agency's forecast has been adjusted somewhat regarding how many people will seek protection in Sweden. The background is the authority’s assessment that the restrictive migration policies in the EU will continue. Work with providing decisions to those who have been waiting for a long time continues and the plan is to decide on a minimum of 80,000 asylum cases this year.
“The asylum cases involving unaccompanied children are given the highest priority and for these we will be making decisions in all cases where we are able to before the end of the year,” says Veronika Lindstrand Kant, Deputy Director of Operations at the Swedish Migration Agency.

The Swedish Migration Agency's target during 2017 was for all unaccompanied children who sought asylum in Sweden during 2015 and 2016 to receive decisions regarding their cases. It is estimated that around 17,000 cases will be decided this year, while approximately 2,000 cases are at risk of being postponed until the beginning of 2018.

The reason is that several decisive conditions having changed during the year. One of them is the new process for medical age assessments carried out by the National Board of Forensic Medicine (NBFM), which was introduced earlier in the year. The new process had a longer initiation period than estimated and the lead times have been longer than planned.

At the same time, the number of people who are eligible for medical age assessment has increased and the majority of these people are assessed as being of age on the basis of the NBFM assessments. Of these, some cite new reasons for protection, which lead to new investigations and verbal additions. But those cases for which it is possible to make a decision will be decided by the Swedish Migration Agency.

“The asylum cases that concern unaccompanied children have the highest priority. Decisions will be made in all cases concerning children in which there is a concrete basis for a decision, which means the case will be decided this year and, in principle, our plan is to decide on them all before the end of the year,” says Veronika Lindstrand Kant.

A minimum of 80,000 asylum case decisions this year

As it is uncertain how many cases can be finally decided before the end of the year, the assumed number of decided first-time cases has been revised by 3,000 cases, down to 67,000. At the same time, the proportion of extension cases in the asylum process has increased, and it will be possible to decide between 10,000 and 13,000 such cases during the year.

“Overall, we estimate that at least 80,000 asylum cases will be decided during 2017. Along with the cases that we decided last year, we will have decided around 200,000 asylum cases in two years,” says Veronika Lindstrand Kant.

The forecast for the number of asylum seekers is adjusted downwards

The restrictive migration policies in the EU and different Member States continue, and following a new proposal from the EU Commissioner, Sweden, Germany, France, Austria and Denmark have announced that they will prolong their border controls. The Swedish Migration Agency expects the restrictive developments to continue into 2018.

This year around 23 500 people are estimated to have sought protection in Sweden, which is a reduction on the planning assumption of 1,500 people compared with the previous forecast. The forecast for next year has also been adjusted downwards.

* The forecast is based on an upper and lower scenario, as well as a planning assumption in between, which is the scenario on which the Swedish Migration Agency's planning is based. A main scenario is used as the Agency considers it to be justified to make a forecast assessment for the most probable development. This normally happens at the end of the year.