28 February 2018

Forecast: “We now have the right conditions to work differently”

By mid-2018, those who applied for asylum prior to 2017 will have received a decision in their cases.
“We have now created the right conditions for working differently, in a way that utilises the agency’s full capabilities. We have settled a quarter of a million asylum cases over the last three years”, says Mikael Ribbenvik, Director-General of the Swedish Migration Agency.

The number of people applying for asylum in Sweden is stable, and this development is expected to continue over the course of the year. In total, it is expected that 23,000 people will apply for asylum, of which 1,500 will be unaccompanied minors. It is expected that the number of asylum seekers will increase to 29,000 next year, based on the fact that the temporary law will expire in the middle of that year.

Many people are in the later stages of the asylum process

This steady development, coupled with the fact that older cases now have been settled, means that the Migration Agency can switch its focus from reception and asylum examination to the later stages of the asylum process. This means that more energy will be put into detention centres, process of return and judicial process.

According to the current forecast, it is expected that the number of open cases that have yet to receive a decision will decrease from 36,700 to 12,800 during 2018.

“We want to get back to real-time case handling as quickly as possible − which is to say, a situation where cases are handled as they come in so as to avoid the need for additions, changes in case officers, and so on during the waiting time”, says Mikael Ribbenvik.

Shorter waiting times toward the end of the year

The increasingly long waiting times we have seen over the last few years will start to decrease. Waiting times have already gone down in studies-type cases, while new asylum- and work permit cases are expected to have waiting times of less than four months from the second half of the year onward.

"The agency is now focusing on creating an overall capacity for the future that we will be able to adapt continually based on our mission”, Mikael Ribbenvik says.