The Swedish resettlement programme

A quota refugee is a person who has fled his/her home country and been selected by the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, to be resettled to a third country which offers them protection. This process is called resettlement. During 2017, Sweden will accept 3,400 quota refugees for resettlement.

Kvinna som sitter vid en arbetsplats.

Sweden has resettled refugees since 1950. The Swedish resettlement programme will help to resolve protracted refugee situations that are at risk of becoming permanent. It can also offer timely protection for people in vulnerable situations. Refugees who are selected for resettlement may be in refugee camps, but they may also be in cities or rural areas. Resettling in a third country may be the only solution for people who can neither remain in their first country of asylum nor return home. The process is administered by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

Most refugees are resettled from areas bordering on crises or conflict regions. Today, the greatest need is in the Middle East and North African regions, followed by other parts of Africa and Asia, among people who have fled from countries like Syria, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Afghanistan. Resettlement has gained increasing political importance, both in large resettlement countries such as the United States and Canada, and within the EU.

How many refugees does Sweden resettle every year?

Each year, the Government and Parliament provide the Swedish Migration Agency with the resources to resettle a certain number of refugees to Sweden. The focus of the selections is determined by the Swedish Government. In recent years, Sweden has received 1,900 quota refugees a year, and in 2017, the number of places has increased to 3,400. The Swedish Migration Agency, in collaboration with UNHCR, determines which refugee groups will be considered for resettlement from different countries.

Collaboration between several groups

The Swedish Migration Agency works together with several groups to ensure that resettlement goes as well as possible.

Important partners:

  • UNHCR, who presents cases to the Swedish Migration Agency and assists with practical arrangements related to selection missions, among other things.
  • Swedish embassies (or the Swedish Migration Agency) issue an exit permit or emergency alien’s passport”.
  • The International Organization for Migration (IOM) arranges the refugees’ travel and transfer to Sweden.
  • Sweden’s municipalities.

More information

Read more about how resettlement works

Questions and answers about quota refugees and resettlement

Read more about Sweden’s resettlement programme in the Swedish Migration Agency’s brochure “Swedish Resettlement Programme 2017”PDF

Last updated: 2017-06-26

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