Report: Sweden May Expel Up to 80,000 of 2015’s Asylum Seekers

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A police officer escorts migrants from a train at Hyllie station outside Malmo, Sweden. Picture taken November 19, 2015. REUTERS/Johan Nilsson/TT NEWS AGENCY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. SWEDEN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SWEDEN. NO COMMERCIAL SALES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A police officer escorts migrants from a train at Hyllie station outside Malmo, Sweden. (Reuters/Johan Nilsson/TT NEWS AGENCY)

Sweden is preparing to deport up to 80,000 of last year’s record number of asylum seekers, Interior Minister Anders Ygeman said in an interview with business daily Dagens Industri on Thursday.

Ygeman said he estimated about 60,000 to 80,000 of the 163,000 people who sought asylum in 2015 would be expelled and either leave voluntarily or be forcibly deported.

Sweden, with a population of almost 10 million, is one of the countries that has borne the brunt of Europe’s migrant crisis as hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and north Africa have moved north to wealthier members of the European Union.

Germany took in an unprecedented 1.1 million migrants in 2015.

Both countries have tightened asylum rules to stem the flow and force other countries to share the burden.

The Swedish government fears many people whose applications for asylum are rejected will go into hiding. Police will seek to find and deport them.

“We have a big challenge ahead of us. We will need to use more resources for this and we must have better cooperation between authorities,” Ygeman was quoted as saying.

This week, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven promised more resources for police to deal with the increased workload because of the refugee situation.

Sweden reversed its open-doors policy on immigration late last year and has introduced border controls and identification checks to stem the flow of asylum seekers.

It is also working on making it more difficult for companies to hire immigrants without proper documents to decrease the incentives to stay in Sweden.

This week, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven promised more resources for police to deal with the increased workload because of the refugee situation.