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Yle in Stockholm: Many Iraqi refugees continue on to Finland

According to Hannele Muilu, Yle's Stockholm correspondent, many Iraqis believe their applications will be processed more quickly in Finland than in Sweden, where the wait can be up to 2 years.

Irakilaismiehet odottavat Haaparantaan lähtevää junaa Tukholman keskusrautatieasemalla.
Iraqi men at Stockholm Central Station on Saturday wait for a train to Haparanda, a Swedish town near the open Finnish-Swedish border in Lapland. Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

On Saturday, Yle’s Stockholm correspondent Hannele Muilu met some of the refugees arriving at the Stockholm Central Station from Mälmö, Sweden. The country's public broadcaster SVT reported that on Friday some 400 refugees had arrived in Mälmö from Denmark. A handful of them made their way to Stockholm.

Many of the refugees that Muilu met were Iraqis who told her that they didn't want to seek asylum in Sweden, but wanted to continue their journey on to Finland.

“They think that it will be a faster process to apply for asylum in Finland, as in Sweden it can take up to two years owing to the large number of applicants,” said Muilu.

According to Muilu, SVT has been reporting that Iraqis may find it easier to receive refugee status in Finland which views a larger part of Iraq as being unstable than Sweden does.

Another Yle reporter Tapani Hannikainen travelled to Malmö. He said that all of the Iraqis he met said that they were planning to travel on to Finland. Some said that they had relatives in Finland; some said they had heard that Finland is a good country where it's possible to receive an education and start a good life.

Following Germany, Sweden is the second country in Europe to receive the most asylum applications this year. Swedish Immigration estimates that so far this year 90,000 people have applied for refugee status; last year the figure was 80,000.

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