23 July 2024,   17:47
Number of asylum seekers from Georgia in Sweden increased- Swedish Ambassador

Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia, Ulrik Tideström confirms that the number of asylum seekers from Georgia in Sweden increased in 2018. 

Ulrik Tideström has responded to the questions of "Courier" in light of media reports about an increased number of Georgian asylum seekers.

"The number of asylum applications in Sweden from Georgian citizens has increased after the introduction of visa-free travel. In 2016, 737 Georgian citizens applied for asylum in Sweden. In 2017, when visa-free travel was introduced, the corresponding figure increased to 1105. In 2018, Georgian citizens were the 4th largest nationality to apply for asylum in Sweden, with 1156 applications. With very few exceptions, all applications are deemed unfounded. The approval rate is close to 0%.

It is estimated that half of all home burglaries in Sweden are committed by organized theft leagues from other countries, including but not limited to Georgia. Organized shoplifting is also part of the problem. Whereas there are links to the abuse of visa-free travel, we are certainly not implying that all Georgian asylum seekers are engaged in criminal activity. I also want to stress that the Swedish Police has intensified its efforts to stop the organized theft leagues, and these measures are having clear effects.

The dialogue and cooperation between Swedish and Georgian authorities has been strengthened, is well functioning, and will be intensified further. Enhanced efforts will be made to continue curbing abuse of visa-free travel, and fighting organized crime. The introduction of visa liberalization is a precious achievement, which also comes with responsibilities, and it is in our joint interest to safeguard it,"-  states Ulrik Tideström, Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia