28 April 2016
An amended Bill presented by the Swedish government, which contains restrictive changes to its immigration and asylum law, is currently going through Parliament. The proposals are aimed at introducing temporary provisions to reduce asylum regulations ‘to the minimum level in the EU so that more people choose to seek asylum in other EU countries’. These are due to enter into force on 20 July 2016 and last for 3 years, although the changes will be applicable to those who applied for residence permits after 24 November 2015, when the proposals were first announced.
Residence permits for those granted international protection will no longer be permanent, with refugees to be granted three years residence and holders of subsidiary protection, thirteen months. These are extendable if the grounds for protection still exist. In Sweden, the majority of Syrian nationals are granted subsidiary protection rather than refugee status. Upon expiry of the temporary residence permit, a permanent residence permit will be granted only if the person is able to support themselves. For those under the age of 25, this will only be granted if they have completed upper secondary education, and not solely through working. A child may be granted permanent residence in limited circumstances in light of the state of their health.
The Bill also includes restrictions to family reunification, which will now be limited to refugees, excluding holders of subsidiary protection, unless ‘a decision to refuse a residence permit would be contrary to a Swedish Convention obligation’. Furthermore, family reunification will be restricted to nuclear family members.
*This article originally appeared in the ELENA Weekly Legal Update.