Swedish legislation on cessation and revocation of status of international protection has changed since the implementation of relevant recast EU Directives. Relevant legislation can be found in Chapter 4 of the Aliens Act. There is no up-to-date English translation of the Aliens Act, but Sweden adheres to relevant EU legislation and national law.
According to Chapter 4, Section 5, a person ceases to be a refugee when they: (1) have of their own free will used the protection of the country of which they are a citizen; (2) voluntarily apply for and regain citizenship of said country; (3) apply for and get citizenship in another country; (4) return and reside yet again in the country where they used to reside. The person also ceases to be a refugee (5) when the circumstances in connection with which they have been recognised as a refugee have ceased to exist or have changed to such a degree that protection is no longer required. The changes must be durable and fundamental.
Chapter 4, Section 5a provides that a person will cease to be considered as in need of subsidiary protection (alternativt skyddsbehövande) if the circumstances that lead to him or her being considered in need of such protection have ceased to exist or have changed to such a degree that protection is no longer required. The changes must be durable and fundamental.
In both Chapter 4, Section 5 and 5a, it is stipulated that the status should not be considered as ceased if the refugee/beneficiary of subsidiary protection is able to invoke compelling reasons arising out of previous persecution/experiences constituting the ground for protection, respectively, for refusing to avail themselves of the protection of the country of nationality or, being a stateless person, of the country of former habitual residence.
With the shift from permanent to temporary residence permits through the Temporary Law introduced in 2016, the questions of cessation and withdrawal of protection status came much more in focus. The Migration Agency, which is also responsible for cessation procedures, has therefore issued guidance on these topics. When a beneficiary of international protection applies for an extension of his/her residence permit, the questions of cessation and withdrawal of protection status can be looked into if new information has appeared. In case law, the fact that the burden of proof lies with the Swedish authorities is pointed out.
In 2021, the Migration Court of Appeal decided in a precedent case on the issue of cessation and revocation of subsidiary protection when the beneficiary, who was granted protection because of child-specific risks, has become an adult. The case concerned an Afghan citizen who was granted subsidiary protection in Sweden as a child, in line with the Migration Court of Appeal ruling in MIG 2017:6. The Court found that subsidiary protection status had ceased and should be revoked. The fact that the beneficiary had become an adult was considered such a fundamental change that the status could be revoked, and that there were no other protection grounds.
If the Migration Agency considers that a situation of cessation might be at hand, e.g. following an application for extension of the residence permit by a beneficiary of international protection, a withdrawal procedure will be initiated. (see Withdrawal of protection status below).
In 2021, the Swedish Refugee Law Center published a report on cessation, developed with support by UNHCR, including a case study of the Migration Agency’s cessation cases during a six-month period. Cessation of refugee status was in all cases due to voluntary re-availment of protection of the country of nationality. No protection status was withdrawn based on cessation due to a change of circumstances in the country of origin, either for refugee status or subsidiary protection status.