Interior Minister Anders Ygeman says Sweden could deport between 60,000 and 80,000 asylum-seekers in coming years.
Ygeman told newspaper Dagens Industri that since about 45 percent of asylum applications are currently rejected, the country must get ready to send back tens of thousands of the 163,000 who sought shelter in Sweden last year.
"I think that it could be about 60,000 people, but it could also be up to 80,000," Ygeman was quoted as saying.
His spokesman, Victor Harju, confirmed the quotes Thursday, adding that the minister was simply applying the current approval rate to the record number of asylum-seekers that arrived in 2015. Harju adds: "That rate could of course change."
Germany and Sweden were the top destinations for asylum-seekers in Europe last year.