Up until 20 July 2016 the vast majority of residence permits granted to persons in need of international protection or with humanitarian grounds were all permanent. They could, in principle, only be withdrawn if a person spent a major part of their time in another country or if a person was charged with a serious crime that involved deportation. Occasionally temporary permits were granted, mainly for medical reasons or for temporary hindrances to expulsion.
A new system was introduced in July 2016 initially with the adoption of a temporary law. The government expressed that the law was proposed in order to deter asylum seekers from coming to Sweden. After a Cross-party Committee of Inquiry, on 22 June 2021 the Swedish Parliament voted in favour of introducing the proposed changes to the Aliens Act. They came into force on 20 July 2021. According to the changes introduced, temporary residence permits are the general rule for beneficiaries of international protection; while resettled refugees are granted permanent permits. Residence permits should remain limited to three years for refugees and 13 months for subsidiary protection status holders, in both cases extendable by two years subject to a new assessment. Beneficiaries of international protection can get permanent residence permits after having temporary permit for at least three years, but need to demonstrate their ability to provide for themselves and, already as of the age of 15, so-called ‘good conduct’, i.e. can be expected to have an honest, non-criminal, lifestyle (vandelskrav). The condition to provide for oneself does not apply to children, persons who are eligible for retirement pensions, or if there are other particular reasons. The new Government announced in October 2022 its intention to completely strike out the concept of permanent residence permits. According to a political agreement between the Government political parties and the Sweden Democrats the migration legislation will be subject to comprehensive changes with the aim to restrict the rights of asylum seekers to a minimum level in accordance with international obligations.
If a person is considered to be a refugee, they will receive a refugee status declaration. If they are considered to be a person in need of subsidiary protection, they will receive a subsidiary protection status declaration.
Convention refugees are, granted a three-year temporary permit with the right to Family reunification. Beneficiaries of subsidiary protection are granted an initial period of 13 months temporary residence permit with the same right to family reunification as refugees. A condition for family reunification is that the sponsor should have “well-founded” prospects of being granted a residence permit “for a longer time”. The residence permit can be extended another two years if protection grounds persist. The temporary residence permit gives holders the right to live and work in Sweden for the duration of the permit. During that period the person has the same right to medical care as a person with a permanent residence permit.
A temporary residence permit may be granted when the circumstances in the case are particularly (for children) or exceptionally (for adults) distressing. Under the Temporary Law that was in force between 20 July 2016 and 19 July 2021, residence permits on this ground could only be granted if an expulsion would be in breach of an international convention obligation. The circumstances regarding the applicant’s health condition, their private life in Sweden, and the situation in their country of origin should be taken into account when assessing this ground for a residence permit. An adult who has already lived in Sweden with a temporary residence permit and has acquired a particular affiliation with Sweden will need to show particularly, and not exceptionally, distressing circumstances. The initial temporary permit is granted for thirteen months, and could be prolonged for two years if the grounds persist. 817 first time applicants were granted permits for these reasons in 2022. Temporary residence permit give the person the right to live and work in Sweden for thirteen months. During that time they have the same right to medical care as a person with a permanent residence permit. The person’s family is eligible for residence permits to join the sponsor in Sweden only in exceptional cases.
In 2022, the Migration Agency granted residence permits in 3,742 first time asylum applications, in comparison to 3,310 in 2021 and 4,922 in 2020.
The vast majority of beneficiaries of international protection applying for a renewal of their temporary residence permits have had it granted. In 2022, the Migration Agency received 28,312 applications and took decisions in 29,910 cases. The acceptance rate in cases tried on the merits was 97%.The vast majority of decisions on extensions of residence permits concerned Syrians (15,309 decisions, of which 14,901 were granted, or 99% of those tried on the merits), Afghans (5,056 cases, of which 4,493 were granted, or 92% of those tried on the merits), Eritreans (1,748 decisions, of which 1,613 were granted, or 99% of those tried on the merits), Stateless persons (1,544 decisions, of which 1,424 were granted, or 96% of those tried on the merits), and Iraqis (1,421 decisions, of which 1,339 were granted, or 97% of those tried on the merits). The average processing time for applications to extend residence permits based on protection status was 201 days in 2022. There is no public information available as to the grounds for rejections mentioned above.
 For further details see AIDA, Country Report Sweden, 2021 Update, May 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3R31wRd, 101.
 Lag om tillfälliga begränsningar av möjligheten att få uppehållstillstånd i Sverige, 2016:752, available at: : https://bit.ly/3rNCGa6.
 Government of Sweden, Temporary restrictions regarding the possibility of being granted a residence permit in Sweden, 22 June 2016, available in Swedish at: http://bit.ly/3zdyPZG.
 SOU 2020:54, En långsiktigt hållbar migrationspolitik, available in Swedish at: http://bit.ly/3TQYNf0, 25-28.
 Tidöavtalet (The Tidö Agreement), available online at: https://bit.ly/3wuCh0t, 34.
 Migration Agency, Monthly statistical report December 2022.
 Migration Agency, Monthly statistical report December 2022.
 Migration Agency, Monthly statistical report December 2020, 10-11.