17 May 2016

Legislative changes that will affect asylum seekers

Sweden's Government has proposed two legislative changes which may take effect in the summer of 2016. One of the proposals is that those who have applied for asylum and received a deportation order shall no longer have the right to accommodation or a daily allowance from the Migration Agency. The other proposal involves limiting the asylum seekers' possibility to obtain a residence permit and to be reunited with their families.

Parliament has not yet made a decision on the proposed bill. The changes to the law regarding asylum seekers' rights to accommodation and daily allowance is expected to take effect on 1 June 2016. The temporary law that will limit asylum seekers' ability to obtain a residence permit and reunite their families may take effect on 20 July 2016.

No right to aid after a deportation order

The Government has proposed that those who have sought asylum and received a refusal of entry or a deportation order which has already taken effect shall no longer have the right to aid. Aid refers to the daily allowance and the right to live at one of the Migration Agency's asylum accommodation, for example.

Families with minors under the age of 18 will still have the right to aid until they leave Sweden.

Temporary residence permits for asylum seekers

The proposal to limit asylum seekers' ability to obtain a residence permit and be reunited with their families will be a temporary law which will be valid for three years.

According to the proposal, those who are in need of protection shall initially obtain a one-year or a three-year residence permit, depending on whether they are refugees or persons eligible for subsidiary protection. If a person is still in need of protection when the residence permit expires, he or she may have their residence permit extended. If someone can support themselves, they can obtain a permanent residence permit.

Quota refugees will still be granted permanent residence permits.

Unaccompanied minors and families with children under the age of 18 who sought asylum before 24 November 2015, when the Government presented this bill, may obtain permanent residence permits.

Limiting the possibility of family reunifications

The Government only wants to allow those who have been granted a three-year residence permit as a refugee to be able to seek family reunification, that is, allow the persons' husband/wife/registered partner/common law spouse or child to also apply for a residence permit. Those who are granted a one-year residence permit as a person eligible for subsidiary protection will not have the right to family reunification.

Those who are granted subsidiary protection status or a one year residence permit may have the right to family reunification if they sought asylum before 24 November 2015.

In certain cases, unaccompanied minors who are granted subsidiary protection status may be able to reunite with their families, even if they applied for asylum after 24 November 2015.

Maintenance requirement in the event of family reunifications

Those who have the right to family reunification are required to have the means to support themselves and the family that has been granted a residence permit. The family must also have accommodation that is of sufficient size and standards.

The maintenance requirement does not apply to those who are refugees or persons eligible for subsidiary protection, who have relatives that apply for a residence permit within three months of being granted a residence permit. The changes to the maintenance requirement do not apply to children, nor do they apply if a relative applies for a residence permit before 20 July 2016 (date according to the proposed bill, note that the date has changed).

The Migration Agency's website will be updated with more information until the legislative changes take effect.

Questions and answers regarding the proposed bill

Read more about the proposed bill on the Swedish Government's websiteexternal link, opens in new window