|Name in English||Number of staff on average in 2022||Ministry responsible||Is there any political interference possible by the responsible Minister with the decision-making in individual cases by the determining authority?|
|Migration Agency||5,773||Ministry of Justice||No|
Source: Migration Agency, Annual Report 2022, Dnr: 1.3.2-2023-2262, available in Swedish at: http://bitly.ws/AUE8, 37.
Swedish administrative system
The administrative system in Sweden differs to other European countries in terms of division of tasks. All government decisions in Sweden are collective and all public agencies are subordinate to – but independent from – the government. Unlike in other countries, Swedish Secretaries of State, or ministers, have limited discretion to take independent decisions. All government decisions are taken jointly by the Government. Different Secretaries of State are responsible for different areas and may also act as heads of ministries. Some tasks performed by ministries in other countries are performed by civil service departments in Sweden, which are overseen by a ministry.
As a general rule, the Ministry of Justice and other Government Offices cannot intervene in individual cases concerning applicants for international protection. However, in cases concerning serious threats to national security, the Act concerning Special Controls of Certain Aliens may be used (2022:700). The Act entered into force on 1 July 2022 and replaced the previous Act concerning Special Controls in Respect of Aliens (1991:572). According to Chapter 1, Section 2, the latter Act becomes applicable upon request of the Swedish Security Service. An expulsion decision is, however, according to Chapter 2, Section 1 always issued by the Migration Agency at first instance. According to Chapter 7, Section 1 of the Act, the Migration Agency’s decision can be appealed to the Government.
According to Chapter 7, Section 14 of the Act, an appeal of an expulsion decision issued by the Migration Agency shall be handed over to the Migration Court of Appeal, who shall submit an opinion whether there are impediments to enforce an expulsion in accordance with Chapter 12 Section 1-3a of the Swedish Alien’s Act [non-refoulement], and thereafter hand the case over to the government for a final decision. If the Migration Court of Appeal considers that there are such impediments, the Government cannot deviate from that assessment. If the SMA has decided in a case on both expulsion and regarding an application for protection status, an appeal shall, according to Chapter 7, Section 16 of the Act, instead follow the appeals procedure set out in the Aliens Act. However, this is not the case if the Security Services also appeals the SMA’s decision.
The government made seven decisions under the Act concerning Special Controls in Respect of Aliens between 1 July 2021 and 30 June 2022, compared to eight decisions in the previous corresponding period. Two of the decisions concerned dismissals of appeals against decisions of the Swedish Migration Agency regarding expulsion. The other five decisions concerned rejection of requests for reconsideration of expulsion decisions upon request from the individual.
Swedish Migration Agency
The Migration Agency is the central administrative authority in the area of asylum. It is responsible for examining applications for international protection and competent to take decisions at first instance. It further takes decisions on work permits, family reunification, adoption, studies, and citizenship and is also responsible for operating detention centres.
The Migration Agency is subordinate to the Government as a whole and reports to the Ministry of Justice, with which it cooperates at various levels, such as information exchange, planning and expression of needs. The Government also regulates the direction and priorities of the Swedish Migration Agency. According to Swedish legislation, the Migration Agency, as is the case with all authorities, is fully independent from the Government as well as the Parliament in relation to individual decisions and the Government is prohibited from influencing its decisions. This also applies to the Agency’s policy on different topics. The Migration Agency coordinates and divides tasks between the divisions of Asylum, Managed Migration and Citizenship, thereby upholding due process and ensuring effective case management in line with Sweden’s Alien and Citizenship Act. The Migration Agency is also responsible for aliens without residence permits, i.e. until they obtain a permit and have settled in a municipality. Legal provisions pertaining to the Migration Agency are found primarily in the Aliens Act and the Ordinance with Instructions for the Migration Agency.
The Migration Agency is headed by a Director General, who is appointed by the government. The Director General is responsible before the Government for the Agency, its operations and its results. The Director General is generally not involved in individual decision making but can have an influence on policies. The current Director General, Mikael Ribbenvik, is also the Chair of the Management Board of EUAA. The Migration Agency’s head office consists of the Senior Management, the Director General’s staff and departments supporting the operational activities. This includes the Digitalisation and Development Department, the Planning Department, the Legal Affairs Department, the Communications Department, the Human Resources Department, and the Operation Support Department.  The head office is located in Norrköping.
Stand-alone functions are internal audit, the supervisory unit and the agency’s fund management, which all report directly to the Director General. There is also a dedicated unit for Dublin procedures and a separate country of origin unit (LIFOS). LIFOS produces reports and conducts missions to certain countries in order to assess and analyse the political situation in a particular country or region. The Migration Agency has access to a variety of COI reports issued by other countries and organisations through its database, LIFOS. It is the caseworker’s duty to regularly update themselves on relevant country of origin information. Caseworkers are generally required to hold a degree in law and/or political science to be working on asylum-related matters. Regarding other training of staff, some specialised training is offered for caseworkers who interview children, based on the EASO Training Curriculum (ETC) module ‘Interviewing Children’. Also, webinars were developed for case officers and other employees at the SMA, which are available after the live transmission. The “focus country pages” on the Lifos website were also enhanced by including recommended reading on various topics and main countries of origin.
The Migration Agency’s regional division:
Quality control and assurance within the Migration Agency
The Migration Agency works with internal quality control and assurance on a regular basis and in different ways. The overall goal of quality assurance is to ensure that all decisions that are taken are formally and materially correct, as well as to ensure a uniform application of the law and case management based on current legislation and the applicant’s individual circumstances. The Migration Agency has a number of mandatory indicators within the framework of quality follow-ups that should always be considered within a quality framework assessment, especially processing times. These quality indicators cover the following aspects: 
- Has the investigation been conducted according to the nature of the case? Was there too little or too much investigation?
- If an investigation has not been carried out according to the nature of the case, explain what has not been investigated according to the nature of the case?
- Is the language used simple and comprehensible?
- Is the outcome of the case correct?
- Is the classification of the decision correct? (if appropriate)
- Is the length of the permit granted correct? (if appropriate)
Staffing within the Migration Agency
The Migration Agency had had an average of 5,773 employees in the year 2022. Out of the total number of employees in 2022, 349 were working as case officers and 180 as decision makers in asylum cases. In 2022, the average age was 41 for women and 43 for men. The average period of employment was 9 years.
The Migration Agency have an obligation to report suspected war crimes. In 2020, the Agency reported 86 suspected war crimes to the police, and 74 in 2021. In 2022 the Agency reported 37 cases of suspected war crimes. To the authors’ knowledge, no such reports have led to an indictment (yet). It is not possible to know how many criminal investigations on the basis of these reports are ongoing as they are confidential until the indictment.
 The Migration Agency, Kvalitetsuppföljningar av rättslig kvalitet i Migrationsverkets processer, RC A – 04/2019.
 Information from the Migration Agency in January 2023.