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    A rubber boat loaded of migrants is seen during a search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coasts, Italy, Tuesday, June 23, 2015

    Nordic Intermission: More Refugees to Europe, Fewer to Sweden

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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)
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    The international refugee crisis is far from over, and hundreds of people continue to risk their lives in dangerous sea voyages across the Mediterranean Sea. However, the influx of refugees to Sweden has been remarkably dwindling.

    Despite the inflow slowly abating, challenges still remain for Swedish society, argues Mikael Ribbenvik, chief operating officer at Sweden's Migration Board.

    According to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, three times as many people have crossed the Mediterranean so far in 2016 than in the same period in 2015. The urge for refuge in Europe has not decreased, but at the same time it has become much more difficult to get to Northern Europe and Sweden in particular.

    In February, the Swedish Migration Board expressed considerable uncertainty in its forecast and presented three possible scenarios, ranging from 70,000 to 140,000 refugees. Now, the board stands corrected with a narrower range between 40,000 and 100,000 asylum seekers, the latter being called ‘a contingency scenario.'

    According to Ribbenvik's statement, this is a direct effect of the EU's harmonized efforts to stave off undocumented migrants. However, it is still possible that control measures to restrain migration may fail completely, he pointed out at the same time.

    The forecast for the coming years up to 2020 has also seen the state's expenditure regarding immigration decreasing sharply compared with the previous forecast. Instead of the initially planned 327 billion krona (40 billion dollars) over five years, the present-day estimate proceeds from 234 billion krona (29 billion dollars), which marks a decrease of 93 billion krona (11.5 billion dollars), Aftonbladet reported.

    Although the emergency situation of last autumn, when tens of thousands of asylum seekers poured in daily, has improved, the side effects of the influx will be felt in years to come. At present, Sweden's Migration Board is still struggling with some 170,000 asylum cases, of which over 140,000 are still pending for a decision. This is a huge number of people for a country of 10 million, specifically considering that all the asylum seekers need to have their daily needs met during the waiting period.

    "Municipalities, authorities and the society in general are also facing challenges, both in regards to asylum seekers who stay in Sweden and those to be ejected. The number of appealed asylum cases is bound to increase dramatically in coming years, as well as the number of people who need to return. At the same time, society needs to create long-term prerequisites to accommodate those who are allowed to stay in Sweden," Ribbenvik concluded.

    Topic:
    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)

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    European Union, immigration policy, migrant crisis, refugees, Scandinavia, Sweden
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