Swedish investigation finds three quarters of child migrants older than claimed

Clinics have used teeth X-rays and MRI scans to judge asylum seekers’ ages.

TMP – 14/12/2017

A Swedish investigation into migrants claiming asylum as children suggests that three-quarters of those tested were actually over the age of 18.
Sweden’s national forensic medicine agency checked the age of nearly 8,000 migrants and found that some 6,600 were in fact 18 years old or possibly older, The Local newspaper reports.

The checks were only carried out in cases where immigration authorities had doubts about a migrant’s age. The process involved taking X-rays of wisdom teeth and MRI scans of knee joints to determine age.

According to Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden’s Migration Agency has so far made 5,700 asylum decisions on the basis of the test results. In 79% of those cases, the agency decided to formally consider the applicant as older than they had initially claimed in their asylum application.

Many asylum seekers do not have their identity documents said the International Organization for Migration. In other cases, their country of birth may not have the structures in place to record births, so it is not unusual for people not to know their exact age, said The Local.
More than 80,000 minors (of whom 37,000 arrived in the country without a parent or guardian) applied for asylum in Sweden in 2015 and 2016, according to The Local.