Migrant crisis: Sweden introduces new border checks

Sweden has introduced border checks for travellers entering the country from Denmark in response to the number of migrants arriving into the country.

Oresund Link bridge
Travellers wanting to use bus and train services across the Oresund bridge that connects the two countries, or use ferry services, will not be allowed to enter the country without the necessary documents.The new checks were put into place at midnight on Sunday.Rail commuters will need to change trains at Copenhagen airport and have their ID checked. The changes are expected to add around 30 minutes to the 40 minute journey.Hours after the Swedish checks were introduced, Denmark said that it has ramped up border controls on its southern border with Germany.Around 20,000 commuters cross the Oresund bridge, which connects Malmo and Lund with Copenhagen, the Danish capital, every day. The majority of travellers commute from Sweden into Denmark, so evening return journeys are expected to be the worst hit by the changes.The Swedish government secured a temporary exemption from the EU's open border Schengen agreement in order to put the controls in place.Under a new Swedish law brought in last year, transport firms will be fined 50,000 Swedish Krona (€5,400) if they bring in travellers without a valid photo ID.Rail operators have reduced the volume of services to Sweden and warned of lengthy delays in response to the changes. In December Sweden's state-owned train service provider, SJ, announced that it would stop services to and from Denmark because it was unable to provide the ID checks required by the new law."The government now considers that the current situation, with a large number of people entering the country in a relatively short time, poses a serious threat to public order and national security," the government said in a statement about the new border checks.Last year Sweden recieved nearly 163,000 asylum applications. The country's infrastructure minister, Anna Johansson, said that the new rules would be changed if Sweden sees a significant drop in the number of migrants.Sweden is one of the main destinations for asylum seekers and has taken the most per capita of its population. In autumn last year the number of applications was up at 10,000 weekly, but the Swedish government is seeking to cut numbers to 1,000 a week in 2016.For more news and articles like this, see Re:locate's Immigration section.

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