Persons and authorities you will meet
You will meet people from many authorities and many different adults who are responsible for different things that affect you. Authorities are responsible for making sure that society functions in accordance with Sweden’s laws. Examples of authorities that you will have contact with are the Swedish Migration Agency and social services.
The Swedish Migration Agency
Among other things, the Swedish Migration Agency is responsible for:
- investigating your application and deciding whether you have the right to asylum or a residence permit or
- to appoint a public counsel who can help you with your application
- to provide you with financial assistance if you do not have your own money
- to decide which municipality will be responsible for providing you with accommodation, schooling and a guardian
- to help you connect with your parents, if possible
- to help you travel from Sweden if you are not allowed to stay here.
You will meet several different people at the Swedish Migration Agency. If you feel more comfortable talking to a man or a woman, you can tell us about it.
Among other things, the municipality is responsible for making sure that:
- you get someplace to live that suits you and your needs
- you can go to school
- you get a guardian.
In each municipality, there is something called ‘social services’. Social services work according to rules on how society should help everyone who needs support. It is the social services that decide where you will live. All unaccompanied minors are assigned a contact person at the social services called a ‘social worker’.
If you are under the age of 18 and come to Sweden without your parents, you will be assigned a guardian. You will not live with your guardian, but he or she is responsible for helping you with a number of things that your parents would otherwise have done.
For example, a trustee must:
- be present when you have contact with authorities, such as the Swedish Migration Agency or social services
- handle the contact with your school
- help you make an appointment with a doctor, dentist or psychologist
- be responsible for your finances if you are under 16 years of age.
In order for you and the staff at the Swedish Migration Agency to understand each other, an interpreter will translate what you say. The interpreter can speak both Swedish and the language that you speak. Either the interpreter is in the same room as you, or they are on the phone or video. It is the interpreter’s job to translate everything that is said in the room and not say anything more.
It is important that you and the interpreter understand each other and that you dare to say everything you want to say while the interpreter is there. If you do not understand the interpreter, you need to tell them. Also tell us if you and the interpreter are related or know each other in some other way. If you prefer to have a man or a woman as an interpreter, you should say so in advance.
A public counsel is a person who knows Swedish laws. He or she will give you legal advice and help you with your asylum application. It is the Swedish Migration Agency that appoints a public counsel for you, but he or she does not work for the Swedish Migration Agency. You can also suggest a person if you know someone you have confidence in, but you may not be able to get the particular counsel that you request. You can say whether you would prefer a male or female counsel.
Everyone who works at the Swedish Migration Agency, in the municipality, and in the healthcare service or schools has an obligation of secrecy. That means they are not allowed to share what you have said with anyone who does not have the legal right to know. Only the people working on your case have the right to know what you have said. The interpreter and the public counsel are also bound by professional secrecy.
A guardian, on the other hand, is not bound by an obligation of secrecy. This is because a guardian, just like a parent, needs to be able to talk to various authorities about you.
Anyone who has an obligation of secrecy may break their obligation of secrecy so that they can talk to another responsible adult if they think you are in any sort of danger.