BELGRADE – Sweden intends to expel up to 80,000 migrants who arrived in 2015 and whose application for asylum have been rejected, Interior Minister Anders Ygeman said on January 27.
“We are talking about 60,000 people but the number could climb to 80,000,” the minister told Swedish media, adding that the government had asked authorities in charge of migrants to organize their coerced expulsions.
Ygeman said the deportations, normally carried out using commercial flights, because of the large numbers would have to be done using specially chartered aircraft and staggered over several years.
Sweden, a country of 9.8 million people, is among the European Union members that has taken in the largest number of refugees in relation to its population.
Sweden accepted more than 160,000 asylum seekers last year, most from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Syria. Of the approximately 58,800 cases processed last year, 55 percent were accepted.
But the number of migrant arrivals has dropped dramatically since Sweden imposed photo ID checks on travellers on January 4.