Dramatic shortcomings in the Migration Board's control procedures has led to people lacking formal qualifications and having a criminal record appointed as asylum seekers' assistants, Swedish Radio reported.
Over 50 people with previous crime records of varying degrees of severity have been found on the Migration Board's list of public assistants by the investigative program Kaliber ("Caliber"). The list includes assistants who have been sentenced for violent crime, smuggling and gross economic crime. Despite their previous offenses, the people have either been assigned a mission with the Migration Board or are entitled to get one.
One instance features a person convicted of gross fraud and embezzlement. Another person had been sentenced to seven years in prison for gross drug trafficking in a case that included a multi-kilogram batch of amphetamines. Still another one was sentenced to prison for exposing clients to sexual abuse, Swedish Radio reported.
Swedish Migration Board Deputy Operations Manager Veronika Lindstrand Kant admitted that her agency doesn't always possess sufficient opportunities to control the assistant counsels they hire.
"We do not want people who are suspected of crimes or who are convicted of crimes, so these are not the kind of people who the Migration Board wants as public assistants," Veronika Lindstrand Kant told Swedish Radio.
Lindstrand Kant described one instance of a person who had been convicted not once but twice for sexual assault against clients as "not the kind of person" she herself would like to have as public adviser if she ended up in a situation when a consultation was needed.
Lindstrand Kant stressed that the Migration Board had very limited possibilities when it came to sifting through public assistants. Previously, she stressed, there was a so-called "black list" of public servants considered unfit for their profession, which was deemed illegal after criticism from the Justice Ombudsman and removed in 2016 by the Migration Board itself. According to Lindstrand Kant, the issue has been repeatedly raised with the Swedish government.
"I would like to see that us being given this opportunity just to register quality and competency in order to spread the information about inappropriate assistants to the Migration Board's administrators," Lindstrand Kant said.
The Swedish Migration Board has a staff of about 8,600 and runs an annual budget of around SEK 700 million ($84 million).