Over the past decade, Sweden has attracted thousands of asylum-seekers from across the world with its “open doors” policy. Immigration is being largely touted as a social blessing, despite increased security concerns. The number of migrants reported to the Security Service by the Swedish authorities themselves has exploded.
Of late, it has become increasingly common that the migration board itself notifies the Security Service (SÄPO) of suspicious asylum-seekers likely to commit crimes on Swedish soil. This year alone, some 300 cases were reported to SÄPO.
“This is a four- to fivefold increase compared to 2014,” Oscar Ekblad of the Migration Board told Swedish Radio, citing a possible number of unreported cases due to the high workload, as the board’s personnel have been running at maximum capacity since last year’s unparalleled influx. “We cannot set up a fine-meshed net to sieve through all the immigrants,” Ekblad said.
Usually, suspected asylum-seekers are allowed to stay in Sweden for months without any concern by either the Migration Board or the Security Service. Due to bureaucracy and work overload, an asylum investigation usually begins several months after the person set foot in Sweden.
“Basically, we don’t have any other choice, it takes such a while. We cannot employ some 10,000 investigators,” Ekblad said.
So far, the increased immigration into Sweden has so far led to an increase in violent crime and a wave of sexual attacks, which the Swedish media tend to downplay through concealing the perpetrators’ nationality and portraying them as Swedes.
The turmoil caused by the ill-conceived migration policy has forced Swedish lawmakers to club temporary three-year restrictions to hem in the flow of asylum-seekers. However, the ruling Social Democratic party believes that the restrictions should be lifted in advance. Migration Minister Morgan Johansson said recently during the Almedalen Week, a major political event in Sweden, that it is an absolute ambition for Stockholm to return to a more generous asylum rules. Unsurprisingly, Johansson was backed by fellow party members and big names.
“For me it is important that the current [stern] legislation will only apply for a maximum of three years. Even today, we can start working to revoke parts of the harsher immigration policy,” Veronica Palm, the Social Democrats’ chairperson in Stockholm told Swedish Radio.
Last year, 163,000 people sought asylum in Sweden, which has a population of under 10 million.