Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority


Country Report: Number of staff and nature of the first instance authority Last updated: 30/04/24


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Name in English Number of staff on average in 2023 Ministry responsible Is there any political interference possible by the responsible Minister with the decision-making in individual cases by the determining authority?
Swedish Migration Agency  6 037 Ministry of Justice  No

Source: Swedish Migration Agency, ‘Annual Report 2023’, Dnr: 1.3.2-2024-2238, 22 February 2024, available in Swedish at:, 37.


Swedish administrative system

The administrative system in Sweden differs from 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).[1] 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 Swedish Migration Agency at first instance. According to Chapter 7, Section 1 of the Act, the Swedish 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 Swedish Migration Agency 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 Swedish Migration Agency’s decision.

The government made five decisions under the Act concerning Special Controls in Respect of Aliens between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023, compared to seven decisions in the previous corresponding period. One of the decisions concerned a dismissal of an appeal against a decision of the Swedish Migration Agency regarding expulsion. One of the decisions concerned a rejection of an appeal against the Swedish Migration Agency’s decision regarding a ban to leave a residence area. The other three decisions were rejections of requests from the individual to reconsider expulsion decisions.[2]

Swedish Migration Agency

The Swedish 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 Swedish 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.[3] According to Swedish legislation, the Swedish 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.[4] This also applies to the Agency’s policy on different topics. The Swedish 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 Swedish 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 Swedish Migration Agency are found primarily in the Aliens Act and the Ordinance with Instructions for the Swedish Migration Agency.

The Swedish 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. During 2023, Maria Mindhammar was appointed Director General. The Swedish 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 Security Department. [5] The head office is located in Norrköping.

Stand-alone functions are internal audit, internal investigations 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 Swedish 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’.[6] Also, webinars were developed for case officers and other employees at the Swedish Migration Agency, 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.[7]

The Migration Agency’s regional division:

Quality control and assurance within the Swedish Migration Agency

The Swedish 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 Swedish 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:[8]

  • 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[9]

The Swedish Migration Agency had an average of 6 037 employees in the year 2023. [10] Out of the total number of employees in 2023, 349 were working as case officers and 180 as decision makers in asylum cases.[11]

The Swedish 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.[12] In 2023, the Agency reported 48 cases.[13] 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.




[1] Act concerning Special Controls of Certain Aliens (2022:700), available in Swedish at:

[2] See: Government, Skrivelse från Justitiedepartementet, Skr. 2023/24:45, 2023 års redogörelse för tillämpningen av lagen om särskild kontroll av vissa utlänningar, available in Swedish at:

[3] The Migration Agency, ‘Laws and regulations’, available at:

[4] Instrument of Government, Ch. 12, Section 2, available in Swedish at:

[5] The Swedish Migration Agency, ‘Our organisation’, available at:

[6] The Swedish Migration Agency, Tematisk kvalitetsuppföljning avseende asylsökande barn i familj, Dnr: 1.3.4-2022-26331, December 2022, available in Swedish at:

[7] EUAA, Asylum Report 2022: Annual Report on the Situation of Asylum in the European Union, June 2022, available at:

[8] The Swedish Migration Agency, Kvalitetsuppföljningar av rättslig kvalitet i Migrationsverkets processer, RC A – 04/2019.

[9] Geographical overview of Migration Agency’s regional divisions, available in Swedish at Migration Agency website at:  

[10] Swedish Migration Agency, Annual Report 2023, Dnr: 1.3.2-2024-2238, p. 38. available in Swedish at:

[11] Information from the Migration Agency.

[12] Swedish Migration Agency, Annual Report 2022, Dnr: 1.3.2-2022-2199, available in Swedish at:

[13] Swedish Migration Agency, ‘Annual Report 2023’, Dnr: 1.3.2-2024-2238, p. 110, 22 February 2024, available in Swedish at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX – I Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation