Sweden lowers projection for asylum seekers in 2016

The projected number of people seeking asylum in Sweden this year was revised downwards on Wednesday due to the hurdles migrants face in trying to reach northern Europe.

The Swedish Migration Agency's now expects between 40,000 and 100,000 asylum seekers in 2016, down from its previous estimate in February of up to 140,000.

"What makes it difficult for asylum seekers to travel through Europe is mainly that the western Balkan route is completely closed, and the EU's new deal with Turkey," said Mikael Ribbenvik, deputy director of the Migration Agency.

Under the deal, new arrivals from Turkey to Greece can be returned to Turkey. For every Syrian refugee sent back in this way, EU member states will take in one Syrian living in Turkey.

The Swedish agency said its main planning scenario for 2016 was 60,000 asylum bids, including between 4,000 and 14,000 unaccompanied minors.

Last year, Sweden registered a record 163,000 asylum bids, straining resources and capacity at reception centres and local municipalities.

The Migration Agency said it had a backlog of bids to process with about 140,000 people waiting for a first decision. The average time to process an asylum application was expected to increase from nine months to 12 months.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

More from Europe

Dutch populist Wilders guilty of hate speech - but no penalty imposed

Dutch right-wing populist Geert Wilders has been found guilty of hate speech for leading a chant against Moroccans...

Vatican places migrants' boat in 2016 Christmas Nativity scene

The European migration crisis features at the centre of the Vatican's Christmas Nativity scene this year, in a...

Police say 98 clubs impacted in child abuse investigations

Police say 98 clubs are impacted and 83 potential suspects have been identified in allegations of non-recent child...

One in six workers in EU earns low wages, according to report

Nearly one in every six employees in the European Union is earning the lowest of wages, according to the European...

Ukraine moves to ban imports of Russian books

The import of Russian books into Ukraine would be sharply limited under new legislation passed in the Ukrainian...