Stockholm, Jan 29: Finland joined Sweden Friday in announcing plans to deport tens of thousands of failed asylum seekers in a bid to contain the migrant crisis, as at least 31 more people died trying to reach the European Union.
The two Nordic countries are both struggling to cope with an influx of refugees and migrants fleeing misery in the Middle East and elsewhere – receiving amongst the highest numbers of arrivals per capita in the EU.
The Finnish government expects to deport around two thirds of the 32,000 asylum seekers that arrived in 2015, Paivi Nerg, administrative director of the interior ministry, told AFP. “In principle we speak of about two thirds, meaning approximately 65 percent of the 32,000 will get a negative decision (on their asylum applications),” he told AFP.
In neighbouring Sweden, Interior Minister Anders Ygeman said yesterday that the government is planning over several years to deport up to 80,000 people whose asylum applications are set to be rejected. “We are talking about 60,000 people but the number could climb to 80,000,” he told Swedish media, adding that, as in Finland, the operation would require the use of specially chartered aircraft.
He estimated that Sweden would reject around half of the 163,000 asylum requests received in 2015. Swedish Migration Minister Morgan Johansson said authorities faced a difficult task in deporting such large numbers, but insisted failed asylum seekers had to return home. “Otherwise we would basically have free immigration and we can’t manage that,” he told news agency TT.