The updated Country Report on Sweden tracks developments in the country’s asylum system following substantial reforms introduced in 2016. Sweden introduced amendments to the Aliens Act entering into force on 1 January 2017, with a view to transposing the recast Asylum Procedures Directive. The law spells out the grounds for considering an application manifestly unfounded and provides that an appeal with suspensive effect is allowed for decisions that can immediately be enforced until the court’s final review of the appeal. The same rules apply for appeals against decisions of the Migration Agency to deem a first subsequent application inadmissible.
However, the most notable reform concerns the rights conferred to those granted international protection. Up until 20 July 2016, the vast majority of residence permits granted to persons in need of international protection or on humanitarian grounds were all permanent. This situation changed from 20 July 2016, when the new temporary law on migration was adopted and entered into force for a 3-year period until 2019.
Convention refugees will be granted a 3-year temporary permit with the right to family reunification if the application is made within three months of the reference person receiving their permit. Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection will be granted an initial period of 13 months temporary residence permit with no right to family reunification. The permit can be extended another 2 years if protection grounds persist. Persons whose removal would contravene Sweden’s international convention-based obligations and who do not qualify for convention or subsidiary status can be granted an initial temporary permit of 13 months which can be prolonged for 2 years if the grounds persist. If such a permit is granted in a subsequent application, then the permit is first granted for thirteen months and then one year at a time subject to the same grounds. This category has no right to family reunification.
The Migration Court of Appeal ruled on 18 January 2017 that the length of the residence permit per se cannot be appealed by a beneficiary of international protection, though an appeal against the type of protection granted is possible.
Owing to the rapid drop in numbers of asylum seekers, the previous congestion in reception centres is no longer a problem. There is a gradual return to normal accommodation standards. The subsistence payments are still at the same level as 1994.
Read the full country report here.