5 May 2017

Forecast: “Continual focus on making decisions”

The number of people seeking asylum in Sweden is essentially unchanged, compared to the assessment made in February. This is shown by the Swedish Migration Agency's latest forecast.
   – Our focus continues to be on making decisions in all types of cases. Many people who sought asylum in 2015 and 2016 have received a decision in their cases, and the goal is for all remaining people to receive a decision in their cases this year, says Mikael Ribbenvik, Acting Director-General at the Swedish Migration Agency.

The Swedish Migration Agency is planning to settle about 95,000 asylum cases per year, according to the forecast submitted to the Government Offices today. That is slightly over 10,000 fewer cases than in the previous forecast.

– Today, we have a larger share of open asylum cases, and they are more complicated than before. In practice, settling these cases has proven to take longer than planned. At the same time, the agency is in the middle of a transition involving the reduction and redirecting of our resources for the mission we have today and for the next few years, says Mikael Ribbenvik, the Swedish Migration Agency’s Acting Director-General.

The goal -- that everyone, in principle, who applied for asylum in 2015 and 2016 but has still not received a decision would receive one this year -- remains in place.

Reduction of housing places continues

As more and more asylum cases are settled, the number of people enrolled in the reception system, and thus the need for asylum housing, decreases. Thus, the Swedish Migration Agency continues to reduce the number of temporarily-acquired housing places around the country.

It is primarily the temporarily-acquired places that are being eliminated; afterwards come the places that were acquired under the framework agreements. Up to this point, about 12,500 places have been eliminated.

Increased number of arrivals to Italy

Since the spring of 2016, the number of people seeking asylum in Sweden has remained stable. The reasons for this are, above all, a continued restrictive immigration policy in the EU, the agreement between the EU and Turkey, border controls and ID checks, and the temporary law in Sweden.

At the same time, the driving forces motivating people to come to Europe remain strong throughout the world. This is seen in Italy, for example, where the number of arrivals via the central Mediterranean route increased by 45 percent at the start of 2017 compared with the same period the previous year. However, this has not affected Sweden to any significant extent this year.

Unchanged forecast for asylum seekers in Sweden

According to the Swedish Migration Agency's forecast, between 22,000 and 45,000 people will apply for asylum in Sweden during the year. The estimate for planning purposes is 34,700 people, including the resettling of 3,700 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece. The planning estimate is the same as the February forecast, while the low-end scenario has been reduced by 3,000 people.

The planning estimate for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children is 2,400 in 2017 and 2,900 in 2018, which does not differ at all from the previous forecast.

It is estimated that the number of applications from relatives of people who were granted asylum will be lower compared with the previous forecast. This is true for both 2017 and the following year.

Facts about the Swedish Migration Agency’s activity- and expense forecast

The Swedish Migration Agency will report allocation forecasts for 2017-2021 on five occasions during the year. Forecasts with commentary are submitted to the Government Offices four times a year.

The next forecast will come on 1 July 2017.