EU rules foresee that countries in the passport-free Schengen zone can only establish temporary border controls under exceptional circumstances. In December 2015, Sweden introduced internal border controls. The 2018 AIDA report provides a historical background and legal aspects on the border controls.
Despite the fact that the reintroduction of border control at the internal borders must be applied as a last resort measure, in exceptional situations, and must respect the principle of proportionality, Sweden has regularly re-introduced border controls at its internal borders in recent years. The current temporary border control is valid up until 11 May 2023. The decision to re-introduce border controls is based on the government’s assessment that there is still a threat to public order and internal security in Sweden, including an important terrorist threat, and that there are shortcomings in the control of the external borders around Schengen. Checks are thus set up accordingly to address the threat.
While Sweden has not introduced any measures directly affecting the right to seek asylum, the access to the asylum procedure was rendered more difficult in 2020 and 2021 as a result of Covid-19, inter alia due to travel restrictions. Currently, there are no travel restrictions due to Covid-19. Between 7 January and 19 February 2023, travellers from China over 12 years old were required to present a negative Covid-19 test when travelling to Sweden directly from China, however asylum seekers were exempt from this requirement.
Legal access to the territory (beyond family reunification)
Sweden does not have any provisions for granting a visa for the purpose of applying for international protection upon arrival.
The Migration Agency resettled 3,744 refugees in 2022, in comparison to 6,411 refugees in 2021, and 3,599 refugees in 2020. In addition to the annual quota of 5,000 refugees for 2021, Sweden decided to resettle 1,400 individuals who were selected in 2020 but could not be transferred during the year due to COVID-19 pandemic. This explains the higher number of quota refugees transferred in 2021 compared to 2020. The number also included Afghan nationals who were evacuated in August 2021. In the period August–December 2021, 1,300 Afghan nationals were granted permanent residence permits and resettled in Sweden under the resettlement framework. The new Swedish Government has decided to reduce the number of resettled refugees to 900 for the year 2023.
Sweden does not have any relocation operations in place.