New asylum policies pave way for boost in forced deportations

Forced deportations of rejected asylum seekers are expected to increase by 30 percent compared to last year due in part to Sweden's new asylum policies.

Earlier this year, the centre-right Alliance government and the Green Party reached an agreement to overhaul Sweden’s immigration and asylum policies.

One of the key elements of the agreement was a promise to ensure that asylum seekers who had their applications rejected would leave the country quickly.

In an effort to come up with new ways to carry out deportation orders more quickly, police in Skåne have implemented a special surveillance team to track down rejected asylum seekers, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

The squads—sometimes acting on tips from members of the public—carry out inspections at workplaces and detain those who lack residence permits.

“Those who lack residence permits often work for very low wages. I can imagine that customers should realise that something isn’t right if it costs only 50 kronor ($8) to have your tires changed,” Petra Stenkula, head of the Skåne border police, told DN.

The more active method has shown results. Between January and March, authorities in Skåne carried out 115 deportations compared to 81 during the same period in 2010.

The latest forecasts project that 3,200 people will be forcibly deported from Sweden this year, a roughly 30 percent increase from the 2,500 people who were forcibly deported last year, DN reports.

A continued bottleneck in Sweden’s efforts to deport rejected asylum seekers is a lack of holding facilities.

Currently, there are only 230 spots in the entire country which often results in frustration on the part of police who locate people who are avoiding deportation orders only to discover there is no place to put them.

“When politicians now say that returning is important it feels strange that there aren’t more places,” said Filippa Nordfelt, a section head with the Migration Board (Migrationsverket), to DN.

“We probably need 500 spots. But that’s expensive. At the same time, our goal is to reduce the time people spend in detention.”

A consultant report which helped motivate the Skåne police to look at new methods for dealing with the issue, also proposed that more people who have been handed deportation orders should be kept under observation rather than placed in detention.

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