The Swedish Migration Agency answers: how we work to revoke permits

When and why can a residence permit be revoked? This possibility can be raised for different reasons, depending on the type of residence permit you have – in this part of “The Swedish Migration Agency answers”, we explain how we work with revocations.

A residence permit is granted by a decision from the Swedish Migration Agency if certain specific requirements are met. If information later emerges that means that someone no longer meets the requirements, the Swedish Migration Agency may decide to revoke their residence permit – we call this “revocation”. The possibility of revocation may not only arise for people who have a residence permit to live in Sweden, but can also affect those with a status declaration or entry visa.*

In which cases can the Swedish Migration Agency decide to issue a revocation?

The Swedish Migration Agency receives tips and information in various forms that may lead to us to need to investigate whether a residence permit, status declaration or visa should be revoked. For example, this could be a tip from a private individual, a follow-up check carried out by the Swedish Migration Agency, or we could become aware of changes in a person’s population registration, such as changes in personal data or deregistration.

A residence permit can be revoked for several different reasons. These are established in the Aliens Act. As a rule, a permit can be revoked if the applicant provided incorrect information in their application or did not tell us about something of significance to their residence permit. The permit can also be revoked if the conditions for the permit are no longer met, for example if someone was granted a residence permit for studies but is no longer studying. Below we describe some other examples in a little more detail.

Revocation due to incorrect information

The Swedish Migration Agency may revoke a residence permit an applicant has deliberately lied or withheld something that was important for their residence permit.

Revocation on special grounds

In some cases, the Swedish Migration Agency may revoke a residence permit on special grounds. This may only happen if the applicant has not yet entered Sweden. It may be that the conditions for someone’s residence permit are no longer met, for example that the connection they are moving to Sweden to join no longer exists.

Revocation because someone has moved away from Sweden

If someone has a permanent residence permit in Sweden but is no longer resident here, or has been abroad for a long time for some other reason, the Swedish Migration Agency will revoke their permit.

In some cases, such an individual can still keep their permanent residence permit, in which case they must notify the Swedish Migration Agency in advance. In that case, the residence permit may be revoked no sooner than two years after the end of the person’s residence in Sweden.

A status declaration may be revoked without the residence permit being affected

If someone has been granted a residence permit in Sweden on the grounds of asylum, they will first have received a status declaration: a refugee status declaration or a subsidiary protection status declaration. If the Swedish Migration Agency decides to revoke their status declaration, this does not automatically mean that their residence permit will also be revoked. This means a person’s status declaration may be revoked without affecting their residence permit.

Chart revoked permits.

The chart shows the number of residence permits revoked each year 2020–2022. The significant difference between 2020/21 and 2022 is due to an administrative effort made in 2020, which also spilled over into 2021

Revocation in numbers

Below, we show use numbers to provide a picture of our revocation work over the past three years.

How many revocations we made

In 2020, a total of 11,728 residence permits and 291 status declarations were revoked. Not everyone who has a residence permit has a status declaration, so there is a significant difference between these figures.

The number of revocations increased slightly in 2021, when the Swedish Migration Agency revoked 13,933 residence permits and 371 status declarations.

The figures from last year instead show a difference in the other direction, as the number of revoked residence permits decreased to 4,478. However, when it comes to status declarations, the figure remained almost unchanged: 370 revocations.

Chart revoked status declarations.

The chart shows the number of status declarations revoked each year 2020–2022.

The reason why the number of revoked residence permits was higher during the first two years is that in 2020, the Swedish Migration Agency produced data on how many people were registered as emigrated by the Swedish Tax Agency – which resulted in the revocation of permanent residence permits for a large portion of these people. This had not previously been done, so the work spilled over into the number of revocations in 2021 as well.

The most common permits that are revoked

When it comes to the type of permits that are revoked, the situation has remained more or less the same over the past three years. In 2020 and 2021, residence permits on the basis of family ties, work and asylum accounted for most of the revocations, with family ties at the top, followed by the other two groups. In 2022, the numbers looked almost the same – but here, most revoked permits were work permits instead of permits issued based on family ties.

What’s happening now and in the future

The work with the revocation of residence permits is now a more prioritised issue than before at the Swedish Migration Agency. The prioritisation is part of the agency’s work to implement the Government’s policy for change in the area of migration.

Mandate from the Government

One of the Swedish Migration Agency’s mandates from the Government is to take measures to strengthen its work with the revocation of residence permits. The purpose of the mandate is to ensure that the system of regulated immigration is not abused.

The Government has also instructed the agency to review whether automated systems and other administrative support can be used to a greater extent and thus make the work more efficient.

At the end of June, the Swedish Migration Agency submitted a final report on the mandate to the Government.

Click here to read the Government mandate in its entirety: Mandate to strengthen the work with cases concerning the revocation of residence and work permits (in Swedish) External link, opens in new window.

Cooperation with the Swedish Tax Agency

The Swedish Migration Agency is currently collaborating with the Swedish Tax Agency on the automatic transfer of information regarding people with permanent residence permits who have been registered as emigrants. Looking ahead, it is likely that similar automation to that used for people who have a permanent residence permit could be developed to also include people with temporary residence permits.

The Swedish National Audit Office is conducting an audit

The Swedish National Audit Office is currently conducting an audit of the system for revoking residence permits, with the aim of checking whether the system works effectively. The reason for the audit is that shortcomings in the system can have consequences, such as incorrect payments from the welfare systems. It can also affect crime prevention work. The results of the audit are slated for publication in November 2023.

* A person who has applied for a residence permit in Sweden on the grounds that they need protection will receive a status declaration if they fall under one of the definitions in the Aliens Act. An entry visa is what is colloquially known simply as a “visa” . This is issued for temporary visits to Sweden.