According to Joran Larsson, a staff member of the Swedish immigration agency, the inflow of immigrants from the former USSR to Sweden is increasing. This category of immigrants has become the largest in the country.
Over the first 6 months of 2002, a total of 2,750 residents of the former USSR applied for asylum in Sweden. The number of Russia's citizens who would like to be granted permanent residency status in Sweden has doubled on the year, while the number of applicants from Uzbekistan has increased six times, the number of refugees from Azerbaijan is up tenfold, and those from Moldova has grown twenty times.
Mr. Larsson says most of these refugees seeking a better life in Sweden are deported either to the country they are citizens of or to where they arrive from.
From January through June 2002, the overall number of all refugees arriving in Sweden has increased by 66% on the year, amounting to a total of 8,800. Many analysts believe this may be due to Sweden's being now part of the Shengen zone, refugee's ignorance of Swedish immigration laws, and the widespread misconception that Sweden is a liberal country as concerns refugees.