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Weak protection against corruption at Swedish embassies and consulates

The protection against corruption and other fraud in migration activities at Sweden’s missions abroad is weak and could be strengthened. This applies in particular to the work of discovering fraud and investigating reported fraud, shows the Swedish NAO’s audit.

Svenskt ambassademblem på vägg.

Audit background

Of Sweden’s approximately 100 missions abroad (embassies and consulates), 60 conduct migration activities and process applications for visas and residence permits on grounds of ties to Sweden. In recent years several cases of fraud in these activities have been reported in the media. These include among other things taking bribes when processing residence permit cases and granting visas to Sweden on false grounds.

The missions abroad play an important part in processing migration cases. In 2017 they made decisions in 247 000 visa applications and participated in the processing of 36 000 applications for residence permits. Migration cases at missions abroad have increased in recent years.

Both visas and residence permits for Sweden represent a considerable value and there is therefore a risk that missions abroad for example will be subjected to pressure from applicants who want favourable decisions or faster processing. Several missions abroad are located in countries that have extensive corruption and are thus operating in a risk-exposed environment.

Fraud in migration activities risks damaging confidence in both the missions abroad and central government administration as a whole. Consequently, it is important that the missions abroad have satisfactory protection against fraud. In view of this, the Swedish NAO audited whether protection against fraud in migration activities at missions abroad should be strengthened.

Press contact: Olle Castelius, phone: +46 8-5171 40 04.

Presskontakt: , telefon: 08-5171 42 06.

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Updated: 21 August 2018

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