International deve­lop­ment cooperation

The Swedish Migration Agency is commissioned by the Government to develop the European and international cooperation and work with international development cooperation to promote safe, orderly, regulated and responsible migration.

The Swedish Migration Agency has a long tradition of involvement in the international arena, both inside and outside the EU. Through the international development cooperation, the Swedish Migration Agency works to contribute to Sweden's goals in the area of migration by, among other things, spreading good government administration to other countries, which in turn increases the legal security of the individual migrant, protects the right to asylum and strengthens the human rights of vulnerable migrant groups.

Based on the Government's policy framework for Swedish development cooperation and in line with Sweden's policy for global development in the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration as well as the Global compact on refugees, the Migration Agency conducts projects aimed at

  • creating the conditions for people who choose to migrate to do so in a safe, orderly and regulated way
  • strengthen the ability of receiving countries to manage migration in a way that safeguards the rights of refugees and migrants and contributes to the development of countries
  • increase the positive development effects of migration and reduce the negative effects in the countries of origin.

Projects and feasi­bi­lity studies 2022–2023

The Visa Code Training Project (VCT Project) is a project led by Sweden in partnership with Poland, Spain, the Czech Republic and Germany. The project is developing an online training covering the EU-common visa regulations, with the goal of being a cost-effective tool for harmonisation of visa processing within the EU and Schengen Member States. The project is financed as a specific action under EU’s Internal Security Fund (ISF) via the BMVI (Border Management and Visa Instrument).

The project started in September 2022 and is expected to run until December 2024. The training will be launched to the Member States during spring 2024.

In the autumn of 2022, the Swedish Migration Agency conducted a pilot study, Somalia-ÅV, which aimed at investigating the conditions for developing and improving the processes for voluntary repatriation to and sustainable reintegration in Somalia that could in the long run also lead to increased voluntary return to Somalia.

Increasing Assisted Voluntary Return is a priority task at the Swedish Migration Agency and according to the EU's new strategy for Voluntary Return and Reintegration. The Ministry of Justice granted therefore funding to the Swedish Migration Agency to conduct the pilot study which has been carried out by the Unit for International Development Cooperation through documents studies, interviews and fact-finding trip to gather information on site. During the pilot study, a number of questions have been investigated and these have been answered in a report and challenges linked to the actual areas have been highlighted to guide an eventual continued work.

The general conditions for conducting migration-related projects in Somalia exist, but there are many challenges. A prerequisite for a capacity building project to be carried out is in-depth cooperation between the different national stakeholders in Sweden. The pilot study indicated that the implementation of a capacity-enhancing project can be carried out by the Swedish Migration Agency, but there needs to be a consensus on the goal of the intervention as well as perseverance as development in this context takes time and requires long-term planning.

The Swedish Migration Agency together with the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration in Serbia and the EU-delegation in Serbia will implement a project on the development of a regional digital Migration Academy, common to the Western Balkan¹ candidate countries. The project aims at increased regional cooperation between migration authorities along the Western Balkan route for both joint management of migration pressure in the Western Balkans and joint initiatives in the accession process to the EU. The project will run during the years 2024-2026 with a possibility of extension. Final beneficiaries are migration institutions in the Western Balkans, neighboring EU member states, international organizations, media and other research institutions active in the field of migration in the region. This project is co-financed by the European Union and contracted through the ICMPD (International Center for Migration Policy Development) through MPF (Migration Partnership Facility).

¹ Serbien, Bosnien & Hercegovina, Nordmakedonien, Montenegro, Albanien, Kosovo.

In the period of December 2022 to December 2023, Sweden as the leading state, implemented the project Talk2Connect (T2C). It was a digital platform that liaised return counsellor with post-arrival realities and individual return stories to enable information with knowledge flows between pre-departure and post-arrival actors. It was created under the European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN), implemented previously to the Return and Reintegration Facility (RRF).

In line with the EU Strategy on voluntary return and Reintegration, T2C provided first-line return and reintegration practitioners with relevant, updated and first-hand information from the ground. The information was shared through three different formats: 1) 8 live webcasts, 2) 8 Interactive Webinars and 3) 6 Podcasts. In total, 1 600 counsellors subscribed to take part in the project which covered topics like return counselling, female migrants, unaccompanied minors and sustainable reintegration in countries such as Iraq, Senegal, Albania, Belgium, France, Denmark and Pakistan.

Funded by the European Commission (DG HOME) and implemented by ICMPD, the RRF supports European Member states and Schengen Associated Countries to increase the effectiveness of their return and reintegration programming. The RRF provides operational and financial support to MS to facilitate the development of solutions and activities with an EU-added value in the area of return and reintegration, whilst bridging gaps between existing initiatives. In parallel, the RRF supports the implementation of the EU Strategy on Voluntary Return and Reintegration.

Completed projects and feasibi­lity studies

MAVRRI project, Multiparty Approaches to Voluntary Return and Reintegration Information. This was a project led by the Swedish Migration Agency with the overall goal to increase prior knowledge on the support of voluntary return. Another purpose with the project was to increase involvement and collaboration between relevant external actors working with Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR). This presupposes an established common understanding of the importance of AVRR and of identified information gaps. The Swedish Migration Agency cooperated with the Nordic countries Norway and Finland as well as the civil society organisations such as Swedish Red Cross, City Mission, Church of Sweden and Amnesty International. The Dutch Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) under the European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN) programme funded the project, which ran from 1 July 2021 to 15 June 2022.

A consortium consisting of the Swedish Migration Agency (Leading project partner), the Netherlands Immigration and Naturalization Service (Junior Project Partner) and Slovenia’s Ministry of the Interior have implemented the EU-Twinning project in close cooperation with the Serbian Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, which was a capacity-building project.

The project duration was from 7 October 2019 to 6 January 2022. EU financed the project with EUR 1,000,000. Sida has covered some of the costs related to the application and contract phase, as the EU covers only costs for the implementation of the project.

The aim of the EU-Twinning project was to support the Serbian migration authorities’ harmonization of the national asylum and migration system to EU regulations, for EU-membership. Through the EU-Twinning results, Sweden has contributed both to reforms of the public administration and to Serbia´s approximation to EU, as well as to democratic development and increased respect for human rights in Serbia.

During the project implementation, the 66 expert missions were implemented in close and excellent cooperation with the Serbian Commissariat for Refugees and Migration and the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia. The expertise for the 66 missions came from the Swedish Migration Agency, but also from the Dutch and Slovenian migration authorities.

Concretely, the project has resulted in i.a. proposal for two new migration laws, harmonized to EU regulations (Law of Employment of Foreigners and Law of Foreigners), Action Plan for a new EU Fund system in Serbia, development of the Commissioner’s Crisis and Early warning system, strengthening of the Serbian network cooperation with EU, exchange of experience and other harmonization of working methods to EU regulations, etc.

The EU-Twinning project was financed through the EU´s Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) – an EU support to EU-Candidate and potentially Candidate Countries in the EU-accession process.

Between 2020-2022, Sweden as the leading state, through the Swedish Migration Agency together with the Lithuanian State Border Guard Service managed the twinning project "Support to preparation for participation in EUROSUR network and EURODAC system".

Sweden's efforts mainly concerned the work with EURODAC and the Dublin Regulation. The work aimed to prepare Serbia for joining EURODAC (the EU's Common Fingerprint System for asylum Seekers and irregular migrants) through a series of efforts in the technical, organisational and legal fields. Also a training program was developed, which increased Serbia's understanding of the regulations among administrators, decision makers and managers. A series of study visits were carried out to various Member States, including Sweden, where participants from Serbia got to witness how the process from registration to a Dublin case goes in practice.

The twinning project was financed through the EU's IPA funds (Instrument for Preaccession). The European Union provides the support since 2007 to candidate countries and potential candidate countries to enable them to prepare and adapt to the upcoming membership of the Union.

The Swedish Migration Agency is, in association with a number of EU member states, exploring the possibilities for developing a training programme for staff working with receiving, registering and deciding on visa applications. Preliminary project start is in 2022.

In the autumn of 2021, the Swedish Migration Agency will conduct a feasibility study on strengthening the asylum and protection process in Turkey with a focus on gender-based violence. If the feasibility study leads to a project, it will start in 2022.

The European Return and Reintegration Network – Sustainable Reintegration in Afghanistan project (ERRIN-SRA) aimed to improve the long-term reintegration opportunities for Afghan citizens returning from Europe. In 2020, the project has created and implemented a new concept for help with starting small-scale businesses and carried out activities to change the attitude in society towards returnees. The project has spread information directly from the project's staff in Afghanistan to case officers at the Swedish Migration Agency and European migration agencies. The project was funded by the European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and ran between November 2019 and June 2021.

EU-FRANK was a resettlement project led by the Swedish Migration Agency in partnership with Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland; as well as the European Asylum Agency (EUAA, then EASO), the UN refugee organ, UNHCR, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) and Migration Policy Institute (MPI).

The project was mostly financed as a specific action within the European Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).

The project’s main objective was to enhance the possibility for people to access protection in the EU in a well-functioning and safe way. The project worked to increase EU-Member States capacity for resettlement.

The project lasted for five years and was concluded in December 2020.

The Swedish Migration Agency and the Turkish Directorate-General of Migration Management (DGMM) have collaborated since 2014 with a view to improve outcomes in international protection and migration management.

In September 2017 a three-year project entitled “Promoting Turkish Compliance with International Obligations in the Protection of Refugees and Migrants” started. By using tools and methods developed by the Swedish Migration Agency, the project aimed at promoting an asylum examination process of high legal quality based on transparency, predictability and credibility. It also aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of asylum seekers with special needs.

The project was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida and was finished in December 2020.

The Swedish Migration Agency participated in the EURLO (European Union Return Liaison Officers) project which is led by the Belgian migration agency and funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF Specific Actions).

The project, which ran during 2015–2020, focused on improving the practical cooperation between the EU member states and countries outside of the EU in return matters through a network of return liaison officers posted in strategically important countries to improve the dialogue and support the practical return and reintegration work for people with decisions on expulsion.

The Swedish Migration Agency has, through the project, deployed EURLOs in Kabul and Rabat.

The project was implemented during the period 2016–February 2019. The project was led by the Netherlands in cooperation with Sweden, through the Migration Agency, and Austria.

The aim of the project was to support Kosovo’s EU approximation and the development of the migration and asylum management. Activities such as seminars, training and formulation of recommendations were carried out by experts from several EU member states.

The project was financed by the EU through the IPA funds and co-financed by Sida, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

The Swedish Migration Agency participated in ERIN, a European cooperation programme aiming at promoting a sustainable return and reintegration of third country citizens whose applications for asylum were denied and who have no legal right to be in the EU member states.

The programme was led by the Netherlands from 1 June 2016 until 30 September 2018 when the programme was incorporated into the wider European Return and Reintegration Network (ERRIN).

The ERIN programme was financed by the AMIF.

The project was implemented from September 2015 until February 2018.

The project was led by Swedish Migration Agency in cooperation with the migration agencies in the Netherlands, Slovenia and Serbia. The objective of the project was to support the Serbian migration authorities' development of the asylum and migration policies as a part of the EU accession.

The project was financed by the EU through the IPA funds and co-financed by the Swedish International Development Agency.

The general support function for the Eastern Partnership Panel on Migration and Asylum was launched at the Swedish Migration Agency in 2012 as a follow-up on the previous Söder­kö­ping Process.

The function supported the European Commission and the participating countries in the planning and carrying out of panel meetings and expert meetings. The panel was primarily a forum for exchange of information and experience and promoted the development of partner countries in the area of migration and asylum.

The work was carried out in close cooperation with the IOM. The Swedish Migration Agency's work on the support function ended in August 2016.

The bilateral cooperation project with Turkey ran for 1.5 years and ended in March 2016.

The project aimed at strengthening the capacity of the Turkish migration authority to deal with migration and asylum issues in accordance with European standards. The Swedish Migration Agency provided technical assistance in migration analysis, management, voluntary return, third country cooperation and quality assurance.

The project was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida.

The Pilot project Quality in Decision-making in the Asylum Process – Continuous Training Using Content of Jurisprudence (PP7) was a follow-up on the pilot project PP4.

The project was led by the Swedish Migration Agency in cooperation with the German migration authority BAMF. The aim of the project was to strengthen the capacity of the participating countries in terms of quality in the asylum process and in particular decision-making.

The project was implemented from November 2014 until March 2016 and resulted in guidelines on training using the content of jurisprudence. For more information please visit
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