Hungary's Foreign Ministry is making efforts to inform groups of Hungarian Roma hoping to start life over again in Sweden that their expectations may be far-fetched, Foreign Minister Kinga Göncz told the press on Tuesday.
Over 200 Roma, mainly from the southern counties, have left Hungary over the past month to seek jobs and a better life in Sweden, encouraged by peers there who claimed that benefits and jobs awaited them. Around 20 of them have returned but other groups are thought to be getting ready to follow in their footsteps.
Göncz said the ministry would try to persuade the Roma that they had been misled by promises of accommodation, jobs and welfare benefits. "Some of them were allegedly told no clothes had to be taken, while it is winter in Sweden," she said.
There are two options ahead of them, both of them bad, Göncz said. Either they seek asylum status, which grants them accommodation and a modest subsistence until their request is processed, and a paid return fare after they are expelled, which is very likely, since EU citizens are not eligible for asylum in Sweden. Or the other option is not to file for asylum status; in this case there is no financial aid and if no jobs are found within 90 days the Roma may be asked to leave the country, Göncz said.
The ministry and the Swedish embassy in Budapest will send a delegation to the home towns of Roma preparing to migrate on Friday, and a ministry legal expert may travel to Sweden if information on asylum-seekers there is obtained, as this data is currently confidential, Göncz told reporters.