Deportations Rise Under “Asylum Amnesty”

The Local (Stockholm), Jan. 23, 2006

Fewer than half of the asylum seekers whose cases are being dealt with under provisional immigration regulations will be allowed to stay, according to the latest forecast from the Swedish Board of Migration.

“If this is true, there’s going to be trouble,” said Ulla Hoffman of the Left Party.

Sweden’s parliament voted in November to give asylum seekers whose application has been rejected a second chance to obtain a residence permit.

The law, which is valid until March 31, 2006, concerns rejected asylum seekers whose deportation order was not carried out due to conditions in their home countries, as well as families with children who went into hiding in Sweden after having their applications were refused.

Sunday was the halfway point for the provisional law and so far 5,794 cases—a quarter of the total—have been dealt with. In 83% of those the asylum seeker was requesting residency.

But the number of Migration Board approvals has steadily fallen since the law was introduced, and is expected to fall further. The Migration Board is first dealing with the applicants who best meet the residence permit criteria, so as time goes on, fewer are likely to be accepted.

Up to 15,000 people are now facing deportation—for a second time. The Board predicts that 46% of the estimated total of 28,000 whose cases are being heard will be expelled.

But that contrasts with the political promise that “the majority will be able to stay”, which the Social Democrats, Greens and Left Party agreed upon when the law was rushed through in the autumn.

“No, this is not at all what we agreed, said Ulla Hoffman to TT.

The forecasts were not mentioned at last week’s meeting with the government, said Hoffman, who promised trouble if they turned out to be accurate.

The Green Party’s Gustav Fridolin was also involved in pushing the law forward, but he was a little more sanguine about the forecast.

“As the law was constructed, several different groups get a hearing. The Green Party’s responsibility is to see that the families with children are able to stay,” he said.

That covers around 8,000 of the 24,000 people who have applied to stay in Sweden under the provisional law. 11,000 applicants are men or women who came to Sweden alone. Among the 5,632 people who have come forward after being in hiding, around 2,500 are single.

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