Nearly 8 in 10 unaccompanied young asylum seekers entering Sweden as ‘minors’ are in fact older than 18, research by the health authorities of the Scandinavian country indicates. The medical age assessment, which has been criticised, was performed voluntary and only in cases when the Migration Board believed that the refugee’s age is unclear.

Using dental X-rays and MRI scans of the knee-joints, medics from the health organisation (Rättsmedicinalverket) made inquiries into 563 individuals who claimed to be ‘minors’. The doctors found that 442 of them must be 18 years or older – a startling 78.5 percent. Among these dishonest young migrants, no less than 430 were males (more than 97%).

In cases in which an asylum seeker had demonstrably been lying, Swedish authorities nevertheless made no efforts to determine his (or her) true age, daily Expressen reports on the investigation that today was released to the press.

Migrants from many countries, such as Afghanistan, are granted an asylum status more easily when they register as minors.

Controversy surrounds tests

Anne Ramberg, a Swedish lawyer and head of the Swedish Bar Association, criticised the age inquiries. The approach comes down to “pure blackmail,” she said.

Sweden Democrats party leader Jimmie Åkesson, on the other hand, doesn’t think the current laws are adequate in dealing with the problem of fraudulent refugees and, therefore, demands that the tests become mandatory.

“We have long stressed the need for medical age testing because there is a problem that some would be registered as minors, even if this is not the case. The outcome of the medicine inquiry proves the vision (of our opponents) to be naive while at the same time it raises doubt about how many people have already received a residence permiterroneously. The costs of this can be enormous.”