20 July 2016

20 July 2016: New law that affects asylum seekers and their families

The Swedish Parliament has adopted a new law which limits asylum seekers' possibilities of being granted residence permits and being reunited with their families. The new law entered into force on 20 July 2016, but it will also affect those who applied for asylum before 20 July. The new law is temporary and will apply for three years.

Temporary residence permits

Under the new law asylum seekers who are entitled to protection will only be granted temporary residence permits in Sweden. A person who is given refugee status will be granted a residence permit for three years and a person who is given subsidiary protection status will be granted a residence permit for 13 months.

Unaccompanied minors and families with children under the age of 18 who applied for asylum no later than 24 November 2015, the date when the Government proposed the new law, will be considered under the old law and will have the possibility of being granted permanent residence permits, provided that the child is still under 18 when the Migration Agency makes its decision.

Limited possibilities of family reunification

The new law also limits asylum seekers' possibilities of being reunited with their families. A person who is given refugee status and a residence permit for three years will be given the possibility of family reunification.

A person who is given a declaration of subsidiary protection status and who applied for asylum no later than 24 November will also be given the possibility of family reunification But a person who is given a declaration of subsidiary protection status and applied for asylum after 24 November will only have the right to be reunited with their family in exceptional cases.

If you are issued a temporary residence permit It is only your husband/wife/registered partner/cohabiting partner and unmarried children under the age of 18 years who can apply for a residence permit to move to you in Sweden. To be granted a permit both you and your partner must have attained 21 years, and you must have lived together before you moved to Sweden. Exemptions from the age requirement can be made if you have children together.

Increased maintenance requirements for family reunification

The new rules also mean that if you have been granted a residence permit you must be able to support yourself and your family members who want to move to you in Sweden. You must also have a home that of a sufficient size and standard to enable you to live there together.

The new maintenance requirement applies both to holders of permanent residence permits and to holders of temporary permits. But the maintenance requirement is not applicable if your family members apply for residence permits within three months from when you are granted a residence permit.

More information

Read more about who can be granted a permanent residence permit and who will be granted a temporary residence permit

Read more about who is eligible for family reunification

Read more about permanent residence permit

Read more about residence permits for those granted refugee status

Read more about residence permits for those granted subsidiary protection status