Forty-eight out of 50 Moroccan migrants applying for asylum in Sweden who claimed to be underage are actually adults, according to Swedish border authorities.
The Swedish border police say the problem of false identity papers is rife amongst migrants who originally come from the North African country. Of the 77 people from the country who arrived recently in Sweden, 65 of them were proven to have false documentation and of 50 who claimed to be underage only two were found to be minors, Svenska Dagbladet reports.
The information comes from a border police memo that revealed the prevalence of fake identification papers amongst Moroccan migrants.
Police chief Patrik Engström wrote in the memo: “Although it is a small sample and of a specific nationality, and despite the limitations, it is the first time we have been able to verify the alleged identities and ages, thanks to the system of fingerprints found in Morocco.”
The memo also states the Swedish government has been working with authorities in Morocco to compare fingerprint data to properly identify the migrants. Whilst many have forged documents, some migrants show up to the border with no documentation at all or give fake names or fake birthdates.
“Cooperation has improved markedly in recent months. It is extremely good. Identification is progressing faster,” said Engström.
The authorities run into problems when a migrant who claims to be from Morocco does not show up in the fingerprint database. “It could be that the person is not Moroccan,” Engström said adding: “Then we have to go back and make a new investigation of nationality, which can be lengthy and complicated.”
Engström said that false identification is a big problem as migrants could commit crimes under someone else’s name or take away valuable resources from migrants who actually are underage.
Sweden has seen an increase in security regarding false migrant documents after it was revealed the man behind the terror attack in Stockholm in April had used fake identities during his asylum claim. Rakhmat Akilov, an Uzbekistan national, had his asylum claim rejected before he carried out the attack which killed five and wounded around 15 others.
Sweden has also had problems with migrants claiming to be underage to receive better treatment and priority for accommodation. Many migrants have been found to be only posing as minors to get more lenient sentences after committing crimes, including a Somalian who stabbed asylum centre worker Alexandra Mezher to death last year.