About 190,000 refugees were expected to arrive in Sweden this year, the Swedish Migration Agency announced Thursday. The agency also said that the country will require an additional 70 billion Swedish crowns ($8.41 billion) through the next two years to manage the refugees if at least 160,000 seek asylum this year and 135,000 next year.
The numbers are over twice as high as the agency’s estimates from earlier this year. In the July forecast, the agency estimated 74,000 refugees for all of 2015.
"We note that the current refugee situation is unprecedented in modern times. We see pictures of people literally walking from Greece, across the Balkans and Germany and towards the Nordic countries. More people than ever are seeking asylum in Europe, but there is no border control and no exact figure," Anders Danielsson, director general of the agency, said, according to the Local, a Swedish news network.
The agency said that while the number of asylum-seekers for next year seemed to be comparatively low, the number of undocumented migrants could reach up to 170,000, Reuters reported.
Following the refugee estimation announcement, Sweden's Justice and Migration Minister Morgan Johansson said that it was more important than ever for other European Union countries to take in more refugees. "So far we have managed to give these people roofs over their heads ... but it is easy to look at this and draw the conclusion that it is not sustainable for Sweden if it continues," Johansson said, according to the Local.
The Swedish government and the country’s opposition have been discussing the influx of asylum-seekers. The Moderates, the largest opposition party in the country, stated that refugees should be given temporary residence permits instead of permanent ones, Bloomberg reported Thursday. Officials have been considering temporary border controls and stricter rules to reunite asylum-seekers with relatives.
Sweden also said that with the intake of the refugees, the country will gain labor as its population ages.
“If we manage to improve the reception and speed up the establishment of the newly arrived, we could be the country in Europe that can meet the demographic challenge of an aging population, with a smile,” Employment Minister Ylva Johansson reportedly said in September.