12:45 GMT13 August 2020
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    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)
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    A tendency of returning home instead of waiting for their residence permit applications to be processed is on the rise among migrants in Sweden.

    An increasing number of asylum seekers are reported to be leaving Sweden and returning to their home countries, citing bureaucracy and long waits for their applications to be processed.

    Since Sweden introduced ID checks at its borders at the start of the year, the Migration Board has shown a sharp drop in the number asylum seekers in comparison to last year's refugee disaster, when over 160,000 asylum seekers entered the country. Recent statistics show an increasing number of asylum seekers are electing to withdraw their applications while facing bureaucratic hurdles and year-long waits, newspaper Sydsvenskan reported.

    "We are getting signals that asylum seekers are getting tired of long processing times and that things have not turned out as they expected in Sweden," Kristina Rännar of the Migration Board, told the newspaper.

    The present trend has become particularly manifest among asylum-seekers from Iraq. This year, the number of Iraqi asylum seekers who chose to withdraw their applications (1,366) outnumbers the new arrivals from the country (1,243).

    "Things are no longer like before. It has become much harder to get a residence permit in Sweden. Besides, many of the Iraqis returning from Sweden have become homesick," Intidar Hadi of Iraqi cultural association in Malmö told Sydsvenskan.

    The situation is similar among Afghans. Since an average Afghan refugee only has a slim 18-percent chance of getting his or her application approved, many are choosing to leave on their own. This year, some 500 Afghan refugees have withdrawn their applications.

    According to Sweden's Interior Minister Anders Ygeman, the government estimates that from 60,000 to 80,000 asylum seekers will be turned down and sent home in the long run, the Aftonbladet tabloid reported. According to Swedish regulations, Iraqi and Afghan citizens are among those entitled to grants of 75,000 krona (roughly 9,300 dollars) per family to help them settle back into life in their respective home countries. The returnees only get the money upon arrival in their home countries.

    So far, the situation has been mirrored in Sweden's neighboring country Denmark, where 279 people have withdrawn their asylum applications, Integration Minister Inger Støjberg announced this week. The majority of returnees are Iraqis and Iranians, Danish Radio reported.

    According to Martin Henriksen of the anti-immigration Danish People's Party, this should serve as proof that those seeking asylum in Denmark are "convenience refugees."

    At the same time, both countries have witnessed an influx of illegal immigrants, who try to get through by clinging to trucks on ferries between Danish Helsingør and Swedish Helingsborg, as well as through the Øresund Bridge, Swedish Television reported. Earlier, the growing number of trespassers spurred Denmark and Sweden into installing heat sensors and tightening border controls in order to stop the risky voyages. Earlier this year, Magnus Andersson, a business manager at public transport operator Skånetrafiken, told the Expressen tabloid that the regular border checks alone were costing around one million krona a day (roughly 116,000 dollars). 

    Topic:
    Major Migrant Crisis in Europe (1819)

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    Tags:
    asylum seekers, migrants, refugees, Danish People's Party, Expressen, Aftonbladet, Swedish Migration Agency, Kristina Rannar, Denmark, Afghanistan, Sweden, Iraq
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