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Migration activities at missions abroad. An analysis of what it might cost if the Swedish Migration Agency assumed the responsibilities (2017:23)

The Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) has surveyed and analysed the costs of migration activities carried out at missions abroad, after being tasked to do so by the Swedish Government. The background to the assignment is that the Investigatory Commission on Responsibility (Ansvarsutredningen) has recommended that the Swedish Migration Agency (Migrationsverket) take over the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ responsibility to manage and finance this activity.[1] Statskontoret has therefore also been tasked to assess both how cost-effective the present operations under the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is and how cost-effective the operations might be under the Swedish Migration Agency.

The Swedish Government should give the Swedish Migration Agency the primary responsibility for migration activities at the missions abroad

Statskontoret’s overall conclusion is that the migration activities at missions abroad can be more cost-effective if the Swedish Migration Agency takes over the responsibility for financing and has a clearer mandate to manage the operations. In the short term, cost-effectiveness should increase since the Swedish Migration Agency, in an easier way than the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, can implement quality enhancing efforts. Over the slightly longer term, the costs can be reduced by concentrating the activities at fewer missions abroad and, to some extent, that they are moved to Sweden. Statskontoret assesses that the Swedish Migration Agency has better preconditions than the Ministry for Foreign Affairs to carry out such a process to implement a change.

Statskontoret therefore recommends to the Swedish Government that it:

  • provide the Swedish Migration Agency with the primary responsibility for migration activities at the missions abroad, in accordance with the Investigatory Commission on Responsibility’s recommendation
  • indicates that the objective with the Swedish Migration Agency’s primary responsibility for the operations is that the operations are to be made more effective and efficient
  • instructs the Swedish Migration Agency to present a plan for its forthcoming development work
  • instructs the Swedish Migration Agency to report annually how the development work has been conducted and what impacts this has had on the costs and quality of the operations.

Govern the collaboration and cost-sharing in a management agreement

The migration-related work at missions abroad employs approx. 200 employees (full-time equivalents per year), divided into some 60 missions abroad. The primary part of the work is performed by the missions abroad’ locally employed personnel. Statskontoret calculates that the Swedish Migration Agency will have about 40 posted employees in 20 or so missions abroad, if the recommendation is implemented. Other personnel resources will be purchased from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs by the Swedish Migration Agency. These personnel resources apply (in most cases) to positions that do not amount to a full-time position for the Swedish Migration Agency at the mission abroad. The head of the mission abroad will continue to be ultimately responsible for the activities carried out by the mission abroad. The Swedish Migration Agency and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will therefore continue to collaborate with each other in the future, so that the operations will be able to be conducted in a cost-effective manner.

Statskontoret therefore recommends

  • that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Swedish Migration Agency will sign a management agreement that governs how they will work together on operational and financing issues.

In order to avoid potential misunderstandings and other obstacles to the operations, Statskontoret assesses that it is particularly important that the following is stated in the management agreement:

  • the principles that the Swedish Migration Agency apply to decide on funding and staffing at missions abroad
  • the criteria the Swedish Migration Agency apply to determine whether a mission abroad will have extra resources for managing migration issues
  • that the missions abroad should make personnel posted abroad available to the Swedish Migration Agency when it reduces their personnel.

The Swedish Migration Agency should be responsible for financing the expense for personnel and the administrative costs

Statskontoret estimates that the costs for migration activities at missions abroad amounted to close to SEK 265 million in 2016. Of these costs, SEK 124 million relate to payroll costs for personnel for migration-related work. The costs for rented premises and operations amounted to SEK 102 million, and the costs for common operational support was SEK 39 million. The proposal of the Investigatory Commission on Responsibility’s entails that the Swedish Migration Agency has the primary responsibility for financing the operations.

Statskontoret therefore recommends that:

  • The Swedish Migration Agency will take over the responsibility for the financing of:
    • the payroll costs for personnel for the carrying out of migration work at the missions abroad
    • a proportionate share of the payroll costs for personnel incurred by the missions abroad for common operational support
    • IT costs according to the current cost-sharing model.
  • The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will continue to finance the premises and operating costs as required in order to carry out the migration activities at the missions abroad.
  • The Swedish Government transfer funds, corresponding to the Swedish Migration Agency’s increased financial responsibility, from the expenditure area 1 Government of the Kingdom, appropriation 4:1 Regeringskansliet (central administration), etc. to expenditure area 8 Migration, appropriation 1:1 Swedish Migration Agency.

 

1. Migrationsärenden vid utlandsmyndigheterna [Migration cases at missions abroad].