Audit finds reception of asylum applicants in Sweden too costly

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-03 21:27:32|Editor: ying
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STOCKHOLM, May 3 (Xinhua) -- The system for receiving and processing asylum applicants and new immigrants in Sweden is too costly, antiquated and complex, according to a new report issued by the Swedish National Audit Office Wednesday.

The auditing agency proposed to simplify the system, making it easier to track costs.

The report criticised the compensation system for municipalities that have higher costs associated with asylum seekers, citing the way the state distributes funding via the Swedish Migration Agency as unnecessarily expensive.

"In 2016 processing applications by municipalities amounted to 620 full-time positions a year, costing about 34 million U.S. dollars for the Migration Agency to distribute money to municipalities,"wrote Auditor General Helena Lindberg, in a press statement published on the agency's website.

According to the report, costs related to compensation applications are needlessly high because the system is not digitalised. Instead, the Migration Agency received all 194,000 of last year's applications through the postal service.

The report proposed to simplify the system by introducing an e-service that will streamline the Migration Agency's application process and improve cost-tracking.

Last year the state disbursed 3.6 billion U.S. dollars to municipalities for receiving asylum-seekers and new immigrants.

For 2017 the government budgeted an extra 400 million U.S. dollars to maintain the pace of processing asylum applications and helping newly arrived immigrants find employment.

More than 270,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden during 2014-2016, according to the Swedish Migration Agency's website. The agency anticipates 35,000 applicants in 2017 and 2018 respectively.